When Mark Muñoz got injured and was forced out of his UFC on Fox 2 co-main event fight against Chael Sonnen, the UFC was forced to shuffle the main card’s two middleweight contests around. Pulling Michael Bisping from a scheduled bout against Demian Maia to pit him against Sonnen, Maia was left without an opponent and it looked like he’d be losing his spot on the card until rising prospect Chris Weidman stepped up to the plate.
The 7-0 Serra-Longo Fight Team member is undefeated as a pro and has racked up three UFC wins, the last two being impressive first round submissions. Though he’d have to take the fight on around a week’s notice, Weidman couldn’t say no when given the opportunity to face an experienced fighter like Maia that could so potentially raise his stake in the middleweight division.
“When I got the phone call from my manager, I just thought it was such a huge opportunity,” Weidman explained. “And at first, he told me I was probably gonna be fighting him in March or April, that they weren’t gonna put him on this next card – I guess he was gonna get pulled off by then – and I was like, ‘Absolutely, that’s a huge opportunity.’ … Then they called back and said Maia really wanted to fight on this Fox card, he didn’t want to get taken off. … I became so pumped up to fight Demian Maia, I didn’t care when it was. When they told me I was gonna fight him in a week I said, ‘You know what? Let’s do this.’ I have a lot of respect for him and I’m excited to test myself.”
Though Weidman will be facing Maia at a significant disadvantage by taking the fight on such short notice, Maia thinks that those disadvantages will slide his way too, since he’s been preparing to fight a completely different fighter.
“I’ve been fighting against wrestlers before and I just have to go back to my roots. Michael of course is different, he is a striker. But, at the same time, I don’t have too much time time to make the adjustment, but (Chris) doesn’t have the time, too. So, we’re in the same line.”
UFC on Fox 2: Evans vs. Davis goes down this Saturday at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. FightLine will be back on the night with our live, ongoing coverage of the event.