When UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva speaks to the media, many expect certain things. For instance, they expect that Silva will address the remaining contenders to his throne, they expect someone to ask if  he wants to fight either Georges St-Pierre or Jon Jones, and they expect that Silva, now 38, might field questions about when he will call it a career.

Silva, who headlines next week’s blockbuster of a UFC 162 fight card against undefeated challenger Chris Weidman, took a moment to speak with the media on a teleconference  hosted Tuesday with intentions to promote UFC 162. Weidman fights for the first time since his UFC on Fuel TV 4 win over Mark Munoz over a year ago due to injuries.

Still, Weidman knows what he will face next weekend, and he’s prepared well for it. While no fighter in MMA brings Silva’s style, Weidman turned to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson to help train for Silva. Weidman hopes his time with Thompson will pay dividends on fight night.

“We brought in a few guys for the first time in my career,” Weidman said, “the main guy for emulating his stand-up the best he could was Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Then I had a bunch of really good kickboxers that were living in New York City that we used. We used a [two-time] national champion boxer and we had a lot of good jiu-jitsu guys from the Renzo Gracie academy. I think we did the best we could in this camp preparing for Anderson.”

Prior to Weidman’s current shot, Chael Sonnen possessed the best shot of beating Silva on paper due predominantly to his expertise in the wrestling aspect. Weidman’s arsenal contains wrestling, as well as arguably more dangerous ground-and-pound, vicious elbows, crushing submissions, and an ability to out-strike his foes comfortably to earn the win, even if not by knockout. Still, Weidman will admit that he understands the main reason why fans feel he might prove as the toughest test for Silva since Silva first  fought Sonnen.

“The obvious answer is the takedowns,” Weidman said, “trying to expose him with the wrestling. We’re totally different fighters. I believed I could beat him before that fight. If he’s relaxed and you’re all hesitant, he can get off with what he wants. I thought Chael was too uptight and tense after getting his takedowns and that helped Anderson. He was able to get his triangle choke after the takedown in the fifth round and props to him for that.”

Nevertheless, the enigmatic Silva remains a favorite in the bout. He faced insurmountable challenges in the past, but he always found a new and more creative way to win and retain his title. Of course, he remains enigmatic to many because, believe it or not, he claims to never train for opponents. Believable or not, that may give Weidman plenty to think about.

“I don’t train for my opponent,” Silva said, “I train to do what I do best and that is fighting. I train to overcome myself and getting better at what I do.”

Above all else, Silva’s most dangerous strength proves more often than not to come in the form of his mental game. When Silva comes in with his head on straight, he presents a mentally unshakable force that few can break. Despite questions about the things he sometimes says to the media, and also despite a war of words before his last defense against Sonnen, Silva’s longevity in the sport eventually made it to where he learned to not let anything crawl under his skin.

“I think that regardless of the pressure and the media, when you’re doing this for a while, it doesn’t bother you,” Silva said.

Whether or not Weidman can get to Silva mentally remains in question, but on Independence Day weekend, the talking will end and the undisputed best middleweight in the world will face off with his undefeated challenger. UFC 162 emanates  live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, next Saturday. With an action-packed main card that features Frankie Edgar, Charles Oliveira, Tim Boetsch, Mark Munoz and more, UFC 162 definitely promises to deliver the most must-see MMA event of the summer.

Photo: Anderson Silva (Sherdog.com)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.