Promoted from the Fan Posts by Kid Nate.
Photo by Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
In the wake of Chris Weidman's complete and utter destruction of the third ranked MW in the world, Mark Munoz, last night at UFC on Fuel 4, he is being touted as the next great star in the UFC. His performance against Munoz was flawless, and he made a tough, top 5, veteran opponent look like a mid level regional fighter. When a fighter does this, it is the one of the first signs of a rising superstar. All the greats have that moment where as a fan, you immediately realize you are seeing something truly special.
GSP had that moment against Frank Trigg, where he made the former UFC WW title challenger look like an amateur, and watching the fight, you knew he was going to be great. In Anderson Silva's UFC debut against Chris Leben, he took a solid striker with an iron chin, and made him his whipping boy. He beat Leben like he stole something from him, and the American audience had their first taste of venom from "The Spider". Jon Jones' fight with Brandon Vera was one of the most glorious displays of ground and pound ever seen in the Octagon. When Jones' hellbows came raining down on Vera, the UFC light heavyweight division knew it was in a lot of trouble.
Last night in San Jose, Chris Weidman rose a step above the other contenders in the middleweight division, and the rapid development in his skill set begs the question: Are we watching the ascent of another fighter with the level of dominance of Jon Jones? I'll go into a deeper comparison after the jump.
More after the jump...Comparisons between Jones and Weidman can be found in their respective builds, as well as their unique skill sets inside the cage. Jones is 6'4, with a reach of 84.5 inches, while Weidman is a slightly shorter, but similarly built 6'2, with a reach of 78 inches. Both men have freakishly long arms, and an uncanny ability to use their gangly limbs to inflict massive levels of damage on their opponents.
Weidman and Jones have both used devastating chokes in their UFC careers, aided by the length of their respective limbs. Jones defeated Jake O'Brien, Ryan Bader, and Lyoto Machida via guillotine chokes, with Machida left in an unconscious heap while Jones walked away like it was no big deal. Weidman put Tom Lawlor out cold with a Brabo choke, and used the same standing guillotine as Jones to dispatch Jesse Bongfelt from the UFC. Both these made have shown the ability to suddenly finish fight with chokes, due to the incredible angles they can create using their length. Other fighters for the most part do not have these tools in their arsenals, and length cannot be taught.
Both fighters have shown world class MMA wrestling, far surpassing their respective collegiate accomplishments. Though Jones and Weidman utilize different wrestling bases (Jones being a Greco specialist, and Weidman earning All American honors twice in freestyle and Greco, but using freestyle much more in the cage), they both demonstrate a level of control over their opponents that is incredible. Jones' trips and Weidman's shots have one critical thing in common: Once they get a hold of a fighter, that fighter is going down.
Last night, Weidman showed (and alluded to himself in the post fight interview) that he can throw elbows like Jon Jones as well. Weidman caught Munoz with a perfectly timed counter right elbow to the face, rendering him instantly unconscious. Check out BE's striking guru Jack Slack's judo chop of the finish here. He describes it far better than I can. Weidman finished with brutal ground and pound, landing 17 unanswered shots while referee Josh Rosenthal took a painfully long time to stop the fight. Jones' elbows have already become legendary in the MMA world, after he battered Matt Hamill, Vladimir Matyushenko, and Vera in three straight fights, all with violent elbows. He also used standing elbows to shut down Rashad Evans completely in a dominant unanimous decision win. Weidman's elbow last night to Munoz was learned by watching Jones, and the 9-0 middleweight is leaving his mark on fighters in a similar fashion to the 205 lb champion.
Jones and Weidman have two of the most imposing top games in the sport, although they do have differences there. Jones favors a ground and pound attack, while Weidman has picked up the BJJ game with lightning speed. He attacks with submission after submission, but unlike most aggressive ground fighters, he doesn't allow his opponents any opportunity to get back up. The common link between Jones' and Weidman's respective ground game is in this aspect. Both fighters are devastating on the ground, but are in no way out of control. Once a fighter is on his back against either of these men, they can only hope to survive.
Both Jon Jones and Chris Weidman have achieved massive amounts of success in an incredibly short period of time. Jones is well on his way to becoming the greatest light heavyweight in UFC history, and maybe the greatest fighter at any weight class, ever. While Weidman is not at that level of greatness yet, he has shown all the signs that he is on that same path. Love or hate Jones, the sport has never seen an athlete that can do what he does. He is impossible to prepare for, and he has a finishing instinct that is ferocious. It is a special thing to watch a fighter with that level of skill emerge right before our eyes, and if last night was any indication, we just might get to see it twice. Personally, I can't wait to see what happens next.
Is Weidman this good, or is this a case of a writer being excited over one fight, and taking it too far? Sound off in the comments.