Unbeaten middleweight fights Demian Maia on main card
CHICAGO – A higher profile and greater expectations come with moving up the ladder in mixed martial arts, but the only thing Chris Weidman concerns himself with is progress.
The next step he takes in his career comes Saturday in Chicago at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis. He faces former No. 1 contender Demian Maia, who originally was slated to face Michael Bisping, but after the an injury forced the card to shuffle, Weidman was tapped to step in to the bout.
Now, the New Jersey native is excited test his skills against an MMA veteran.
“It comes down to a lifetime of training,” Weidman told HeavyMMA on Wednesday after a workout at the Chicago Boxing Club. “I’ve been competing since I was in second grade, and everything from there to now prepares me to handle challenges. Whether I have 10 days notice or not, those experiences are going to catapult my confidence and get me the win.
“At first, the UFC told me I would be fighting Maia in March, April or May. Then I was told we were fighting on this Chicago card and it was 10 days away. In the time between the two phone calls, I got so pumped up about the fight it didn’t matter.”
Maia has the edge in experience, but Weidman has the edge in momentum. He put together a solid debut year in 2011, winning his first three bouts under the UFC banner. The matchup between Maia and Weidman could easily come down to wrestling vs. jiu-jitsu, but Weidman is expecting the fight to play out everywhere.
“I think Maia is very well-rounded,” Weidman said. “Everyone talks about his jiu-jitsu game, but his standup is coming along very well. Everything about him is good, but that is what you are going to get when you fight the top contenders in the division. I look forward to the opportunity and seeing where I fit into the divisional picture.
“I’m going to be relentless, come forward and look to end the fight. I’d love to submit him or knock him out. I’ll always be looking for the finish.”