World MMA Middleweight Scouting Report: #2 - Chris Weidman

This is a guest post written by my Scouting Report colleague, smoogy. Give the man your undivided attention as he is a special contributor to the World MMA Scouting Report series.

After teammate Costa Philippou claimed the #6 spot on our list, the appearance of Chris Weidman (4-0) high atop the rankings was a foregone conclusion. Astute Scouting Report fans have repeatedly sung his praises in the comments section, and for good reason. With his pro mixed martial arts campaign already receiving so much attention, the formal addition of BloodyElbow.com to the Weidman bandwagon may only quicken application of the dreaded "overrated" label. To demystify the hype, let's break down what makes the 26-year-old New York native so special.

Offensive Skills: Seeing him in action, it is easy to forget Weidman started his pro MMA career only two years ago. His arsenal of throws and foot sweeps have blended seamlessly with an agressive submission game that led to victory at the 2009 Abu Dhabi Combat Club North American West Coast Trials after less than a year of Brazilian jiu-jitsu experience. His first big pro fight, a showdown with New York rival and #8 ranked Urijah Hall for the Ring of Combat Middleweight Championship was ostensibly a "grappler vs. striker" showdown. But it was Weidman who controlled the fight standing, dropping Hall with a left hook en route to a TKO stoppage in the first round.

Defensive Skills: Despite his superlative offensive talent, Weidman is prone to some of the same defensive lapses as other MMA novices. He generally keeps his hands too low, and without knowing some of the more subtle tricks of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, he is obviously susceptible to them. But as Guy Mezger once said, the key to success in MMA is being able to dictate where the fight goes, always playing to your strengths. Weidman is particularly well-equipped in this sense.

Progression: Chris Weidman is one of a growing number of American collegiate wrestling standouts defying the difficult learning curve of MMA to achieve success only months after they begin training. The two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler at Hofstra has rapidly taken to boxing and especially Brazilian jiu-jitsu. On the ADCC World stage, Weidman shocked grappling fans in his quarter-final showdown with World Jiu Jitsu Champion Andre Galvao. He came up short of earning the victory, but won the respect of the audience for putting on a thrilling performance against a gifted veteran. He and his coach, Ray Longo, both acknowledge that his improvement has been much faster than his peers. It would be nice to see Weidman get more ring time on the regional MMA circuit, but with interest from major promotions only a few fights into his pro career, he is on the fast track to facing top middleweight opposition.

Environment: After his wrestling career at Hoftstra, it only makes sense that Weidman would end up with the nearby Serra-Longo Fight Team in Long Island, NY. With Longo overseeing his boxing training and Matt Serra as a BJJ coach, his pedigree is impressive in all areas. As the star prospect of the team, Weidman's career will be guided with the utmost care. All of his pro fights have been with New Jersey's Ring of Combat, the top MMA promotion on the East Coast.

Potential: If you still haven't got the message yet, Chris Weidman is one of the most highly-touted blue chip middleweight prospects ever. With his combination of size, athleticism, and skill, the sky is the limit. At just 4-0 as a pro, it would be premature for him to jump directly to fighting the top-ranked 185 pound fighters, so getting more fights will be the priority in the interim. His options reportedly include entry into the potential Bellator Season 4 middleweight tournament and a spot on the cast of The Ultimate Fighter 13. The TUF gig would be the best opportunity to show the MMA world his skills, and his upbeat personality is perfect for the reality TV format.

Lightweight Welterweight Middleweight
#1 - Thiago Michel
#2 - Ricardo Tirloni
#3 - Magno Almeida
#4 - Ui Cheol Nam
#5 - Henrique Mello
#6 - Reza Madadi
#7 - Alexander Sarnavskiy
#8 - Ole Laursen
#9 - Guillaume DeLorenzi
#10 - Al Iaquinta
#1 - Yuri Villefort
#2 - Alex Garcia
#3 - Erick Silva
#4 - Douglas Lima
#5 - Luis "Sapo" Santos
#6 - Jesse Juarez
#7 - Gunnar Nelson
#8 - Quinn Mulhern
#9 - Alberto Mina
#10 - Joe Ray
#2 - Chris Weidman
#3 - Vitor Vianna
#4 - Vyacheslav Vasilevsky
#5 - Bruno Santos
#6 - Costantinos Philippou
#7 - Jordan Smith
#8 - Uriah Hall
#9 - Victor O'Donnell
#10 - Assan Njie

Video:

All-American: The MMA Debut of Chris Weidman (Web Documentary)

MMA Debut vs. Reubem Lopes

Ring of Combat Middleweight Championship Fight vs. Urijah Hall

West Coast ADCC Final vs. James Brasco

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