Most opponents who face Demian Maia do their best to avoid the Brazilian's wicked ground game and you'd think that would apply doubly to rising prospect Chris Weidman, who's accepted to face Maia on around a week's notice, but the Serra-Longo Fight Team product has faith that he can hang with the submissions wizard.
At today's pre-fight press conference for UFC on Fox 2: Evans vs. Davis, where the two middleweights will do battle, Weidman was asked if he would try to keep clear of Maia's grappling prowess. The 27-year-old replied that he'll not only be willing to engage his toughest opponent yet in his strongest area, he'll be happy to.
"I'm definitely comfortable taking it to the ground, you know, if that's what ends up happening," Weidman said. "I'm gonna start on our feet and from there I'm gonna do what I usually do: walk forward, throw punches and if takedowns are available, I'm gonna look to get the takedown, too. With the guys I train with and the guys I've competed with previously in jiu-jitsu - I am comfortable on the ground with a guy like Demian Maia."
With no intention of slighting Maia's considerable grappling ability, Weidman explained that the confidence he has in his mat skills is based simply on the results he consistently sees while on the mat with top level training partners and competitors.
"I have a lot of respect for Demian Maia's jiu-jitsu, I think he's amazing. But, ever since I got into MMA, my jiu-jitsu has been one of my main focal points," he said. "I've competed in Abu Dhabi against top level grapplers in the world and I've done pretty well. I also train with some of the top guys in the world and I do pretty well. So, based on that, it leads me to have the confidence to go to the ground and be confident there."
UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs. Davis goes down this Saturday night from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. FightLine will be back with live, ongoing coverage of the event that evening.
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