Is Chris Weidman a “Nightmare Match up” For Israel Adesanya?

Chris Weidman has made it clear he’s a fan of Israel Adesanya, but the former middleweight champ also believes he’s a “nightmare” match-up for the rising star. Is the “All-American” right?

Adesanya is coming off a thrilling, decision win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 earlier this month, which handed the vaunted striker the interim middleweight crown. The victory also moved Adesanya’s MMA record to 17-0, and into a fight with the reigning champ, Robert Whittaker, later this year.

Well, before Adesanya faced Gastelum, Weidman let it be known that he thought “The Last Stylebender” was overrated. The former champ appeared on Ariel Helwani’s “MMA Show” more recently, and while discussing Adesanya’s win at UFC 236, Weidman said this (quote via MMA Mania):

“Look, people were going nuts on Israel. He’s a very talented guy, he’s got great stand up and now I know that he is super tough after that last fight. Before he fought Anderson Silva, he fought Derek Brunson, he fought Silva who is 44 and is known as a stand up guy, which is a perfect match up for him. It was a very close fight,” Weidman said.

“At that point people were talking about him like he’s the next best thing, and at that point I just thought he was overrated and he hadn’t been able to prove himself yet. He hasn’t gone against a top wrestler, hadn’t fought guys in the top five….

“…I’m a fan of the guy, I like watching him fight and I would love to fight him. I think I’m a nightmare match up for him if you look on paper, just based on the paper with my wrestling and my jiu-jitsu. With my size, I think I will be a real problem for him. But, I think the guy is awesome, I wasn’t trying to put him down, I was just being realistic in the situation because he hadn’t fought a top five guy yet up until Kelvin.”

Does Weidman have a point?

Well, the former champ’s not the first person to question whether Adesanya’s wrestling defense and ground game has thoroughly been vetted. Saying that, Brunson is a former NCAA Division II wrestler, and Adesanya was able to keep that fight standing and he took him out in round one.

But, Weidman, on the other hand, is a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler, and he’s also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. So, it would be extremely interesting to see whether he could get Adesanya to the floor, and if so, how the latter would deal with his top game. This is a guy, let’s remember, who was able to take Yoel Romero down. Weidman has also scored takedowns on the likes of elusive strikers like Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva. Weidman also was able to take Mark Munhoz, another, decorated wrestler, to the floor.

Now, does this constitute a “nightmare” match-up for Adesanya? It’s hard to say until we see the two throw down. But, until we watch Adesanya take on say, Weidman or Romero, questions will likely remain regarding his wrestling and ground game.