Roger Gracie is one of the most accomplished Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world, but even he would have his work cut out for him against Chris Weidman.
As a 10-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion and two-time ADCC gold medalist, Gracie's opinion is highly respected and valued in the MMA community, which is why his most recent comments regarding Weidman managed to steal headlines on Sunday.
During an interview with Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com, he was asked to give a prediction on the upcoming UFC middleweight title bout between Weidman and Anderson Silva. Despite siding with the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Gracie was admittedly blown away by Weidman's grappling skills:
I think [Weidman] is very, very dangerous. His grappling is at a very high level. He can submit any world-class grappler. I think he's really that good. He can tap anyone, even me. It's just a matter of if he can put Anderson in those situations. I would still put my money on Anderson but I think Chris Weidman is dangerous and can surprise him.
Skeptics are bountiful leading up to the championship showdown at UFC 162.
Fans have generally been reluctant to seek greener pastures on the Weidman bandwagon; however, this doesn't appear to be the case with most pros. World-class fighters like Gracie have continuously come forward and delivered gushing diatribes regarding Weidman's astonishing skills.
Are they all wrong?
Silva has achieved every accolade possible in his UFC career and will likely go down as the greatest fighter in MMA history. Meanwhile, Weidman is still a fresh face in the sport.
There is something to be said about such a young fighter generating this much hype from his peers. Whether you're a believer or a skeptic, we can all pretty much agree on one thing.
July 6 cannot get here soon enough.