Chris Weidman is in a strange spot. He is scheduled to take on UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 162 on July 6th in what is undoubtedly the biggest fight of his life. The 28-year-old fighter has just nine pro fights in four years of MMA experience, while the champ has been around for almost 16 years now and has fought professionally 37 times. This is a bout Silva and his camp didn't even want, but he ended up taking it after some pressure from the UFC. And now Weidman's been left virtually on his own to promote it.
While the champ is joking about being "the black Dana White" and getting fined for skipping media days, Weidman's doing interview after interview. This is commendable, and will likely make him a few dollars from the UFC. But there comes a point where you can only say so much bombastic stuff about a person or a fight. It seems that I can't go a day or two now without seeing Weidman make some weird comment - he's going to eff up Anderson's superfights with Jon Jones and Georges St. Pierre. He wants to make beating Anderson look easy and thinks he's a nightmare matchup for him. He's worried that Silva might not even show up for the bout. Yesterday, he took the time to point out that Silva's not actually a superhero.
I can point out at least 10 other interviews that Weidman has done over the past month, and they're full of statements like this. Don't get me wrong - I don't believe that Weidman is deliberately being disrespectful along the lines of a Chael Sonnen, who famously talked up his bouts with Silva. He's just trying to make it clear that Anderson is a human being with weaknesses, and he's not going to be mentally beaten before he gets into the cage. Fair enough. But it sounds like he's trying to convince himself more than the fans at this point, and that's why he can't stop talking about it. Frankly, it's getting a bit tiresome.
Yes, he might feel that he has to do all of the promotion right now since Anderson isn't doing any. But I don't think he realizes that sometimes you can talk your way right out of people's minds and hearts when you don't actually stop for a minute and let them absorb what you're trying to say. There are a lot of differences between Weidman and Chael Sonnen when it comes to promotion, but Weidman could learn at least one thing from Sonnen - timing.
Love him or hate him, Chael knew when and where to say things to get the maximum effect in the build for his Silva fights. He'd say something, then lay low and let it sink in. Then pop back up with something else. Believe it or not, he shrewdly picked his spots instead of constantly bombarding fans and media with bold statements before UFC 117 and UFC 148. Many remember it a little differently than it actually went down, but the truth is that Chael's outlandish stuff was delivered pretty much perfectly. He got the most out of some memorable interviews, some tweets, and a few press conferences. That's it.
I'm certainly not suggesting that Weidman try to emulate Chael in any way other than this. Chris doesn't seem like the type to be deliberately controversial or want to cut actual promos on Silva, so it wouldn't be wise to try. I'm just suggesting that he pace himself a bit when it comes to doing interviews and talking about Anderson. He's coming off like he's overcompensating for his lack of experience and notoriety by saying so much. I know I'm not the only person thinking that, and I believe it's going to eventually turn some fans against him if he keeps it up.
Sometimes less is more, and this is one of those times.