Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Weidman just pulled a Mauricio "Shogun" Rua on Alan Belcher.
At least Weidman pulled something close to a "Shogun" on Belcher; though, to be fair, the records are unlikely to recall any meeting in which UFC president Dana White ever offered Belcher to Weidman for UFC 155, despite Belcher asking for a bout with Weidman in November.
Still, Weidman said what he felt, and instead of getting put on blast by White for not wanting Belcher, he instead drew Tim Boetsch, who recently defeated Hector Lombard at UFC 149 in a lackluster affair by way of a split decision. Weidman still looks to capitalize on the strength of his UFC on Fuel TV 4 win over Mark Munoz, and Belcher is sidelined with a spinal fracture. Belcher's spinal fracture would have taken him out of a UFC 153 fight with Vitor Belfort had Belfort not chosen to step up and face UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones at UFC 152.
Was it a wise move by Weidman? After all, Belcher is seen by some as no more than a top-15 middleweight, at best, despite beating Rousimar Palhares in May. Meanwhile, Palhares stands as no more than a top-25 middleweight, which begs a question as to how much it meant for Belcher to snap Palhares' three-fight win streak.
It meant something to beat the man who many thought had the best chance to submit Anderson Silva, as fighters knew what Palhares looked for in going for the win, and yet few could prevent it from happening. Still, there's no question that if Weidman thought taking the fight with Boetsch was a better career move than taking on Belcher, he made the right call.
However, he pulled a "Shogun," not an "Anderson Silva." To some, pulling an "Anderson" means healing quickly once someone else comes along. To others, it means not fighting a friend, even though he technically already did, all while not really fighting a "friend."
A "Shogun," as Weidman did pull off, is a step up from an "Anderson." Remember when Rua got moved from UFC 149 to UFC on Fox 4 and drew Brandon Vera as an opponent, despite the UFC offering Glover Teixeira to Rua? What Weidman did was basically that. Just as Glover was seen as at least higher up in the ranks than Vera, Boetsch stands as a higher-ranked foe than Belcher currently. It may not do any more for Weidman to beat Boetsch than it would for Weidman to beat Belcher, but he's doing what he needs to do to solidify his status as the only true challenge left for Silva.
If you can fault him for that, good for you. I can't fault him for it, and I have my reasons why. When all is said and done, it could be a different story, but let's allow for UFC 155 to play out before we go any further into the matter, because a lot can and likely will change before that event is all said and done.
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