Matt Serra believes Chris Weidman could become one of the greatest MMA fighters ever.
Certainly Weidman has already beaten one of the best. He knocked out Anderson Silva in July at UFC 162 and will get the chance to beat him again Dec. 28 at UFC 168.
In the weeks after Weidman’s win, Serra, who is one of the new middleweight champ’s trainers, joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show to discuss his student, the rematch and more.
On Weidman’s strategy: “His head going in was he had the wrestling to put [Silva] down. I really thought he was going to put him down and either put him to sleep with a choke or work him over down there. But I did have confidence in his hands. I talked to [standup trainer Ray Longo] constantly about his sparring. They brought in boxers and they didn’t want to come back. Big guys, guys that were good. One guy in particular, the guy didn’t want to come back. He was like, ‘I’m getting beat up.’”
On Weidman’s aggressiveness: “He didn’t have to go for that kneebar. He was on top. I don’t recommend guys on top laying down for legs for that very reason -- you could lose position -- but he didn’t care about that. He didn’t care if he lost position. Guess what? You’re back on your feet. So what? Of course he wants to finish it, but he was prepared just to keep attacking until he got what he wanted. That’s a rare thing. You don’t see that too often. You see game plans designed to keep position and if you’re not going to take him out, you’re going to win that round. That’s a smart thing, but very rarely do you see a guy going at a guy the caliber of Anderson Silva, when you know how lethal he is on his feet, but yet you’re still going to risk position for that submission? … For him to do that shows just incredible balls.”
On the Weidman-Silva rematch: “I can’t wait for the second fight, for the rematch. I think it’s going to be worse.”
On Weidman’s top game: “I’m telling you he’s a beast on top because he’s got the ground-and-pound, he’s heavy handed, he’s got the ground control and he’s got the submissions. He’s a triple threat down there.”
On the role Ray Longo played in Weidman’s win as well as in Serra’s win over Georges St. Pierre: “I’m thrilled for Chris right now. He’s the new champion and he’s going to be a great champion. I think he’s going to hold on to that belt. He’s a great, great kid. He’s a humble kid and he really deserves this. And I’ll tell you, I’m almost just as happy for the big guy, for Longo. Because what that guy did, he took two guys with grappling backgrounds, homegrown guys that never really sparred a day in their lives before going to him -- he brought us up from scratch with the striking. … He brought us up, and to beat two of the very best guys pound-for-pound ever, that’s really an amazing thing for Ray to be able to accomplish. … It’s going to be hard to duplicate it.”
On his own upset over St. Pierre compared to Weidman’s over Silva: “I’ve already lived my ‘Rocky’ movie, so I’m good. But that’s the difference. Chris, this is just the beginning. This is going to break out into sequels. This is the beginning of his story. He could be a very dominant champion. He could be one of those guys that go down as one of the greatest.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at :19).