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The Case for Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva

Chris Weidman lacked the Chael Sonnen swagger, but made a bold statement shortly after demolishing Mark Munoz in the main event of UFC on FUEL 4.

"I want Anderson Silva," Weidman said. "Every time I've had a full training camp, I've gotten a finish. Every single time. Give me a full training camp, and I'd love a shot at the man, Anderson Silva. I really think I could do pretty good. So give me a shot, please.

"I've got the length with Anderson Silva, so he's not going to be able to play on the outside much with me. If he comes in, my takedowns are pretty good. I'll take him down. I think, I really do believe, that I could submit him and finish him. I really think I can."

Weidman told SB Nation New York last week he wanted a title shot if he were to deliver a statement victory in San Jose, Calf. Done. Now he's asking for the UFC to do its part. Not everybody believes the MMA world is ready for Silva vs. Weidman, suggesting a No. 1 contender's bout against Alan Belcher, but it's Weidman's time and the UFC has to cash in. Here's why:

  • Weidman is 5-0 in the UFC and unbeaten in nine MMA fights. A light resume, you say? Well, consider that Shane Carwin was four fights into his UFC career when he fought then heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. And Lesnar himself was quickly thrust into the picture -- he knocked out Randy Couture in just his third UFC bout -- and he tapped out to Frank Mir's ankle lock in his Zuffa debut.

    "I beat two top five guys, Demian Maia was fifth, and now [Munoz] was third, so I feel like I put my dues in," Weidman said. "I know I'm just 9-0 but I really believe I’m ready. I’m going to go after Anderson Silva if I get that shot. I really am."
  • If not Weidman, then who? It's not a slight on the rest of the top middleweight contenders -- Belcher looked fantastic back in May when he dissected Rousimar Palhares -- but Weidman is on such a roll that he's a hot topic who will be in demand. He's a local story which the local media I believe will eat up, and that will end up a critical piece of evidence the next time the UFC pleads its case to the thick-headed New York State Assembly to finally put on a show in Madison Square Garden.

    Silva-Weidman, if it happens, won't take place at the World's Most Famous Arena, but the thought alone is tantalizing. UFC president Dana White was non-committal, preferring to first see how Hector Lombard fares a week from Saturday in his UFC debut against Tim Boetsch. Lombard ruled Bellator's middleweight division, but unlike the time Strikeforce import Jake Shields got his title shot after winning his debut -- and that was a split decision over Martin Kampmann -- White isn't lacking best available options at 185.

    Hector Lombard is a guy who's going to fight in his first UFC fight next Saturday," White said. "We'll see how he does. We'll see what happens because I can guarantee you if you talked to 100 people, none of them would have told you that they thought (Munoz-Weidman) was going to go this way tonight. The 185-pound division just got very interesting. We'll see what happens."
  • Silva is rightly considered the greatest of all time, but to those convinced Weidman doesn't stand a chance, Matt Serra had no chance against Georges St. Pierre in 2007 either. Neither did Sonnen against the Spider the first time they faced one another. Weidman isn't the bombastic Sonnen, but he and Serra, his trainer, will help sell the fight.

Here's how I'd plan it: Silva vs. Weidman with the winner facing the winner of Belcher vs. Lombard/Boetsch. I'd also pair Michael Bisping against Brian Stann.

UFC Munoz vs Weidman: Chris Weidman Post-fight Interview (via UFC)

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC