Hey, did you know reigning middleweight champion Chris Weidman (pictured) is defending his crown against Luke Rockhold this Saturday at UFC 194? I guess it’s easy to overlook given the nonstop Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor promos, Paige VanZant pub and Sage Northcutt push.
However, this is the most significant middleweight tilt the UFC has hosted all year and it’s barely getting any play. Weidman puts his unblemished 13-0 record on the line – along with his strap, of course – against a man who has been convinced for years that he will own him once the cage door slams shut.
They are both very well rounded and have a penchant for finishing off their opponents before the final bell. This has the makings of an instant classic, but nobody’s paying attention.
Sure, Weidman isn’t the best pre-fight promoter in the business, often allowing his game to do the talking for him. Rockhold, meanwhile, hasn’t been shy about picking up the slack. He played the ultimate antagonist on last week’s UFC 194 conference call, even getting Weidman to raise his voice and return fire on several occasions.
It’s a matchup that the mainstream audience isn’t attracted to, so it’s a good thing Aldo and McGregor will help draw some eyeballs to UFC 194’s co-main event. This marks the second straight time Weidman has played second fiddle on a big pay-per-view broadcast.
“All-American” TKO’d Vitor Belfort in May when Daniel Cormier successfully defended his light heavyweight title against Anthony Johnson in UFC 187’s featured contest.
Is this a sign of things to come for Weidman? Does the UFC believe he’s not big enough to take top billing on a PPV card? Perhaps they wouldn’t mind the former Strikeforce middleweight champ dethroning Weidman in order to spice up the weight class.
It seems like eons ago that Weidman dissipated Anderson Silva’s aura of invincibility, then solidified his status on the 185-pound throne by snapping Silva’s shin in two in their immediate rematch. Weidman has been the Brazilian slayer ever since.
Now it’s time for him to take out a fellow American. Let’s just hope people will be talking about it Sunday.