Despite defeating arguably the greatest striker to ever step foot inside of the UFC’s Octagon, Team Blackhouse wrestling coach Kenny Johnson believes Chris Weidman won’t be able to stand and trade with Lyoto Machida.
Johnson, who has been training Machida for a number of years and is also a former student of wrestling legend Dan Gable at the University of Iowa, believes Machida’s background in Shotokan Karate will allow him to evade any of his opponent’s strikes and possibly succeed where former champion Anderson Silva was unable too.
“You have a guy in Weidman who is a high-level wrestler yet his striking is still coming along. I don’t believe Weidman’s striking is anywhere near Lyoto’s striking,” Johnson explained to FO. “Since the fight starts out on the feet, I would imagine that Chris is going to want to take this fight to the ground and try and grind him out. I don’t think he wants to stand and bang with Lyoto.”
Although he feels that both Weidman and Machida are two of the best athletes in their division, he’s quick to point out that one small mistake from either competitor could end the fight instantly.
“I think that both of these guys are high-level athletes who are at the top of their game. Obviously I’m partial to wrestling, but with that being said I think each person whether their background is in wrestling, striking or jiu-jitsu presents roadblocks for someone coming in and just taking what you have.
“I think it’s less about one specific art but more about how they mix everything together and become a mixed martial artist. I think Weidman has a really good wrestling background, he’s got fantastic jiu-jitsu and he’s shown that his striking is pretty good too. However, someone like Lyoto is really hard to train for because he has a skill-set that is one of a kind. I think the way he meshes his striking, jiu-jitsu and wrestling together when he’s training means that when he comes in to a fight he presents a very hard puzzle to figure out.
He adds: “When you get to this level of competition it becomes less about how great one person is versus another, it’s about how focused you are because you cannot be caught slipping. Not even for a second. This fight is very interesting to me because as the coach of Lyoto I obviously believe he’s going to win. However, as a fan of this sport I think it’s going to be a fantastic fight.”
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Source: Fighters Only