Its been a long and winding road to UFC middleweight champion’s Chris Weidman’s first title defense against someone other than Anderson Silva. Weidman was originally set to face off with surging knockout artist Vitor Belfort in the main event of May’s UFC 173, but that bout was out the window when the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSA) banned Belfort’s controversial use of testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) in late February, with the UFC soon following suit.
Weidman had his fight rescheduled against Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, the former UFC light heavyweight champion who made a successful transition to middleweight by convincingly defeating Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi. However, that fight had to be rescheduled for UFC 175 on July 5 after Weidman chose to have arthroscopic surgery on both of his knees to correct nagging injuries that had plagued him since high school.
Today, Weidman’s trainer Ray Longo appeared on “The MMA Hour” to discuss the champ’s preparation to face Machida, who’s obviously a much different fighter than the ultra-aggressive Belfort. Noting that Weidman’s knee will be a non-issue, Longo said that it simply doesn’t matter who Weidman fights, because he will destroy all comers (quotes via MMA Mania):
“I got total confidence in Chris no matter who you put in front of him. I think it’s pretty obvious Belfort is more aggressive. Machida is more laid back and tries to counter punch, but he’ll adjust to either guy. So we planned everything around a counter fighter. He’s the champion and he’s going to beat everyone they put in front of him, that’s the way you have to be when your champion.”
It’s no surprise that Weidman prepared to put pressure on a counterstriker, because Machida is probably the most noted one in all of MMA. Longo seems to have confidence that borders on showing little to no respect for a former champion in Machida:
“I think Weidman is going to do what he always does. He’s going to get in that ring, he’s going to go forward and he’s going to impose his will on Machida. He is going to make Machida fight his game and he is going to probably just end up crushing the guy. Crushing means there is a good chance he’ll dump him on his head and does what he wants with him.”
It’s hard to say that Weidman will “crush” Machida with such ease, because while Weidman truly dominated Silva in their two meetings last year, Longo and his team can’t count on two strange occurrences to happen again. Machida won’t be clowning, and his speed and power will be absolutely top-level.
However, Longo doesn’t care about that, going as far as to say that “The Dragon,” who has only been knocked out once in his entire 25-fight MMA career dating back to 2003, somehow has a “real weak chin”:
“I think he’s got a real weak chin. That’s his weakest hole. Weidman hits that guy, he’ll hurt him bad. That’s why he likes to control the pace of the fight. I don’t think he likes to be pushed.”
That’s kind of an outlandish statement from the always outspoken Longo. Machida has never been labeled as a fighter who is easily knocked out, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens on July 5. Do you agree with Longo’s assessment of the situation?
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