We got your UFC 162 Countdown show right here, in which we are once again emphatically told that a dominant champion will face his Toughest Opponent To Date™. Not only is that becoming a rather tired hyperbole, but I’m personally not convinced that Chris Weidman is really that big of a threat to Anderson Silva. Weidman’s undoubtedly good, but this is a pretty big step up for him, as his only upper-tier wins are a ho-hum decision over Demian Maia (on 11 days notice, to his credit), and a KO of Mark Munoz (who is somehow ranked as high as #6 thanks to his own close decision against Maia). Weidman may be undefeated, but keep in mind that Silva’s tenure as UFC champ is over 2-1/2 years longer than Weidman’s entire career. Methinks the hype on Weidman is at least partly because it’s a much more interesting narrative than “Silva set to trounce yet another overmatched challenger”.
In a nutshell, both Frankie Edgar and Charles Oliveira need this win to earn a spot in the upper ranks of the featherweight division, as Edgar has dropped three decisions in a row, and Oliveira is returning from a first round knockout loss (see Cub Swanson below) after starting his run at 145 with back-to-back submission wins.
Speaking of top featherweights, Zuffa has chosen to promote Swanson-Siver even though it’s below Kennedy-Gracie and Munoz-Boetsch on the main card, presumably because the winner here would establish himself as a top contender. Cub Swanson was kinda middling in the WEC, but then went on a triple knockout tear in 2012, followed by a hard-fought decision over Dustin Poirier in February. Meanwhile, Dennis Siver dropped to 145 last year after going 8-4 in the UFC’s lightweight division, and has since picked up two decision wins in a row. Sherdog ranks Siver higher, but I don’t see why, since I’d say Swanson has been more impressive lately, and against tougher opponents to boot.