Anderson Silva will get a chance to avenge his knockout loss to Chris Weidman when they meet again Dec. 28 at UFC 168.
However, Ray Longo, Weidman’s striking coach, isn’t so sure the 38-year-old Brazilian should have pursued the rematch so soon.
“In boxing, it’s very rare, and these are young guys, like 23-year-old guys [who are] 30-0, if they get knocked out, they’re never the same,” Longo told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “This is a 40-year-old man, 39, whatever he is, just got his head bounced off the [canvas]. I mean, even going to the doctor, what doctor is going to recommend, ‘Let’s just jump back in there in a couple of months’?”
Silva entered the bout undefeated in the UFC and widely recognized as the top pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. Weidman clocked him with a left hook, though, and finished him with punches on the ground 2:18 into the second round of their middleweight title fight.
“I’m actually worried about the guy,” said Longo when discussing the rematch. “That’s my gut feeling. … That was a pretty bad knockout. That wasn’t like a flash knockdown. He got hurt. He’s not a young kid.”
Longo compared the former middleweight champion to a boxer he has long wanted to fight: Roy Jones Jr.
“Never the same after he got knocked out,” Longo said of Jones. “He was probably about mid-30s, 33, 34, never was the same fighter, Roy Jones. He ended up getting knocked out again. I think if you go back and look at what data you have on that stuff, you’ll change your mind on what’s going to happen [in the rematch].”
In Longo’s view, Silva won’t be getting any better, but the 29-year-old Weidman will continue to improve for years. Plus, said Longo, there’s the fact that Weidman has already beaten Silva.
“We’re going to obviously not let [Weidman] get overconfident with that, but I think that’s a huge edge,” Longo said. “You knocked the guy out and you’re a wrestler? I think that’s pretty good. I could easily see the fight going this way: Chris puts him down, doesn’t go for the leg lock. He doesn’t go for the kneebar. He just grinds the crap out of him down there. The guy’s not getting back up.”
Despite Weidman’s success on the feet against Silva in their first bout, Longo suggested they’ll form a new game plan for the rematch. He believes Silva’s best chance to win the fight is standing and that Weidman simply has more options.
“From a statistical standpoint, the smart money’s on [Weidman taking Silva] down and doing what you do best, but he’s proven that he doesn’t have to do that and he can stay in the pocket a little more if he wants,” Longo said. “He’s not flustered by the guy, and I think it’s going to make the takedowns that much easier in the second fight.”
For that reason and more, Longo is confident Weidman will prevail again Dec. 28. He’s less confident Silva should be trying to bounce back five months after getting knocked out.
“If he can come back from that, I’ll be in shock,” Longo said. “I’m not even kidding. It’s not like the guy’s 25 years old. You’ve seen it in boxing over and over again.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 56:48).