Middleweight challenger Chris Weidman’s preparation for his title shot against longtime UFC champion Anderson Silva started before he even knew he would fight in a cage for a living.
Weidman, 28, is partly relying on what he learned while earning a psychology degree from Hofstra University.
“I think the best trick (Silva) has is he’s earned a certain mystique about him where people kind of fear him before they get in the cage, and then he does a good job of making you feel like he’s that much better than you when you do get in there,” Weidman said.
“I understand the mind-set you need. I understand doubts creeping into your mind and how to deal with them. I know a winner’s mind-set, and I’m going to have that on July 6. I’m not going to let anything he does affect me in there.”
Weidman, 9-0 as a pro and 5-0 in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, conveys supreme confidence for the fight, which will be the main event of UFC 162 at the MGM Grand Garden.
“I’m not losing this fight. I’m finding a way to win,” Weidman said. “It’s a huge opportunity for me, and I’m not going to let it slip through my fingers.”
Weidman was a standout wrestler in college and quickly mastered jiu-jitsu before entering mixed martial arts. He thinks those advantages over Silva, perhaps the best striker the UFC has ever seen, will help him capture the belt.
“I am a terrible matchup for him,” Weidman said. “I’m young, I’m hungry, I don’t have the biggest name, so people will expect him to beat me. I think he knows by being a smart guy and being around the game so long that it’s not going to be an easy fight.”
Silva opened as just less than a minus-300 favorite.
“Just by Vegas odds, I opened up as the closest odds he’s had except for maybe the Dan Henderson fight,” Weidman said. “I’m as confident as it gets.”
Weidman, a Long Island, N.Y., native and resident, was in Las Vegas to conclude a West Coast promotional swing that coincided with UFC 162 tickets going on sale. He was not supposed to be the only one selling the fight, but it essentially turned out that way.
Silva was fined $50,000 by the UFC for missing several media appearances in Los Angeles. Weidman joked that he should get the money, but was a bit irked by Silva’s no-show.
“I’m not in Anderson Silva’s situation. I haven’t defended the title 11 times in a row and dealt with as much media as he has, but it’s a part of your job no matter how big you become,” Weidman said. “I am doing a lot of traveling. I’m taking time away from my training and my family to do it, but I’m not going to sit here and compare Anderson to me, but I’m doing it. He should, too.”
■ PREMIUM CONTENT — “UFC Select” was among the initial wave of 53 paid channels unveiled as part of YouTube’s first foray into paid subscription content last week.
The channel will include classic fights, with at least eight added each week, plus a different past season of “The Ultimate Fighter” each month.
Additional episodes of UFC programming such as “Best of Pride” and “UFC Unleashed,” plus a full UFC event replay, will also be available for the $5.99 monthly subscription.
■ HITS KEEP ON COMING — The UFC is still in the process of trimming its roster to a manageable number of fighters, so there seems to be a wave of cuts after each series of events. That was no different last week as a number of fighters were pink-slipped by the organization.
The most notable among them was Leonard Garcia, a hugely popular featherweight who lost his fifth straight fight to Cody McKenzie at UFC 159 on April 27. Garcia was part of four “fights of the night” in his last nine fights in the organization, but his fan-friendly style couldn’t save him from the chopping block again.
Also let go were fellow featherweights Pablo Garza and Bart Palaszewski, and six other fighters.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.