Dana White: “The #1 Contender Right Now is Weidman”

photo courtesy of Zuffa, LLC

With talks of a UFC superfight between Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre on the horizon, UFC President Dana White announced to reporters in Las Vegas today who he sees as the top contender in the UFC’s middleweight division and what could pan out for the others in line in the middleweight division.

As far as whether or not a superfight happens, White said,”We’re gonna have to see how this whole thing plays out, who wins in the fight, what happens with Condit-St. Pierre, and what those guys want to do after that. Really, the number one contender right now is Weidman. So, maybe Weidman and Bisping fight.”

Chris Weidman will square off with Tim Boetsch on December 29th at UFC 155. The outcome of that fight could determine what happens next.

UFC middleweight contender Michael Bisping was also present at the media luncheon and will be facing Brian Stann at UFC 152 on September 22nd in Toronto, Canada’s Air Canada Centre. Bisping has a 22-4 record and was on a 4-fight win streak before it was snapped by a controversial decision loss to Chael Sonnen in a title eliminator. White however expressed that Bisping and Anderson in his eyes is an interesting fight.

If a superfight between GSP and Silva happens, Dana has no intentions of freezing up the middleweight or welterweight divisions while waiting to see what could happen.  A lot of questions are still in place with the November 17 fight at UFC 154 between GSP and Condit that will unify the welterweight title and have an undisputed UFC Champ emerge from it.  If GSP loses, perhaps no superfight will happen. If he wins, maybe it does. Regardless, Dana knows, “It’s going to be awhile. Guys are going to need fights.”

Bisping stated his stance on the superfight and said, “I’m rooting for Condit to play the spoiler here.”

With several top fighters making their case for a title shot in the middleweight division, including Chris Weidman, White said he thinks Bisping’s been overlooked for some time. “I think Bisping is one of the most underrated fighters in mixed martial arts, period.  People don’t give him enough credit for how good his wrestling is. People don’t give him enough credit for how good his standup is.” Dana added that Bisping’s smug personality has a way of turning fans off and causes them to taunt him. “The knock out by Dan Henderson, that’s all everybody wants to throw in his face.”

Though Bisping looks at the positives of that loss at UFC 100 two years ago and has grown from it. “That was the best thing that ever happened to me. I came back bigger, better, stronger. I went into that fight truly believing that I could fight for 15 minutes with anyone on the planet and not get knocked out and not get stopped,” Bisping said. “And I’ve learned from it and it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”

The looming possibility of a superfight could easily be distracting to those in line for a title shot, but Bisping said he’s not frustrated by that at all. He’s aware that in the long run, things will fall in place.  He’s also aware that looking past Stann and worrying about a superfight would be a mistake. “I’m focused on the fight with Brian Stann. Everyone’s talking about Anderson Silva. Listen, I’m fighting Brian Stann simple as that. I’ve got my hands full there. It’s a hell of a fight next week. I’ll be honest, I’m not thinking about that. Yea, of course, I’d like to fight for the title, in a perfect world I can see a scenario where I beat [Silva]. But I understand that the UFC is a business and fight between him and GSP would be huge. I can look at the bigger picture. I’ve been around for a long time, I don’t plan not going anywhere. If I have to take a fight in the meantime, Weidman or whoever it may be, then I’ll do that. And if I get beat, and I lose, then I didn’t deserve the shot in the first place. I’m not looking to bypass people to get a quick shot at the title.”

UFC 152 will be headlined by Jon Jones vs Vitor Belfort in a title fight for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. Bisping vs Stann was formerly the co-main event. The new co-main event in light of Jones vs Belfort being added to the card, is a fight for the first ever UFC Flyweight Title.  Joseph Benavidez vs Demetrious Johnson will face off to hope to be the first to wear that strap in the co-main event.

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