Sports

Chris Weidman Is The Modern-Day Viking Of The UFC

Chris Weidman is one of the most dangerous men in mixed martial arts. He was the UFC middleweight champion when the division was at its deepest, taking out the legendary Anderson Silva to earn his belt and then defeating him again to keep it. His resilience, tenacity, and aggression combine to make him a modern-day Viking in the ring.

In For Honor, the upcoming video game launching February 14th, you fight as history’s greatest warriors and battle for supremacy on a bloodstained battlefield: bold Knights, deadly Samurai, and ferocious Vikings. The Vikings were so effective at wiping out their foes that most of what we know of their combat survives only through descriptions left in Norse sagas written about their heroes. And if anyone deserves a saga written about them, it’s Chris Weidman.

“The All-American” is the crafty hero who slew “The Spider” Anderson Silva, who was unanimously considered the best martial artists in the world at the time. When some mistook his first victory over Silva as a fluke, Weidman didn’t hesitate to defeat him again, leaving Anderson writhing on the canvas with a shattered leg. Silva would never be the same again. These are the battles that sagas exist to tell.

Weidman also embodies several of the character traits most revered among Viking warriors, and he even shares some of the same tactics and moves of legendary Viking heroes. Viking warfare was rough-and-tumble, with little of the group orthodoxy practiced by other armies at the time with their columns and formations. By contrast, Viking warfare could be an intimately individual affair, and many fights would end one on one with a Viking literally on top of his opponent putting a blade through their neck or hacking off their head.

Takedowns played a huge role in all this. A favorite attack of the Dane Axe-wielding Raider from For Honor is authentic to how Viking combat was fought best: by hooking an enemy’s sword or spear away with the bottom horn of their axe and then barreling through them, taking them to the ground where they no longer had the mobility to use their weapon. Legendary Vikings from various sagas were known not just for their takedowns, but for their vicious slams that would knock opponents senseless, leaving them open for a killing blow.

Of course, Chris Weidman is known for his wrestling and takedowns. When he started in the UFC his reputation was that of a wrestler, and his ability to get his hands on even the most agile of opponents and take them down became legendary.

UFC fighters have no shield to deal with like a Viking’s opponent, but they do have their stances which protect them from takedowns. A skilled wrestler with a deep enough stance can stop nearly any takedown. But Chris had a solution to that: he’d chop at his opponents with kicks, working at their planted legs to punish them and mixing things up with high kicks that would force his opponents to hold their arms and therefore upper body higher to defend. The next thing Weidman’s opponents knew, and they were no longer in position to stop Weidman’s takedowns and suddenly they’d be on their back trying to defend themselves from a rain of deadly strikes.

In battle, Vikings showed no mercy and neither does Chris Weidman. We saw that in his fight against Mark Munoz where Chris knocked Munoz out on the feet with an elbow but continued to pummel him on the ground with strikes until the referee finally saved Mark from further damage. It was a egregiously late stoppage, one that left Munoz lying in a literal pool of his own blood. But Chris didn’t hesitate to keep fighting until the ref stopped things. The display of ferocity solidified Weidman as a man to be feared and set the scene for him getting a title shot against Anderson Silva.

A Viking is fearless, and Chris Weidman had to be in order to fight Anderson Silva the way he did. ‘The Spider’ was an opponent who seemed to break opponents mentally before they even stepped into the cage. More than one Anderson Silva fight was marked by his opponent being too afraid to step into range with the lanky Brazilian and engage. When Chris and Anderson squared off for the first time, Silva was on a seven year winning streak and had viciously dominated all of the best names in the UFC middleweight division. Chris had some solid wins over contenders, but he was going up against the consensus pound for pound great and a heavy favorite. Few gave him much of a chance. Regardless, Weidman walked into the cage with a steely determination and unshakable confidence in himself, like a true Viking warrior.

Vikings have a reputation for being relentless in battle, and so does Chris Weidman. There’s more to that than just tenacity and blind forward movement. Chris has excellent cage control that keeps his opponents from being able to circle away from his attacks. Once he takes the middle of the Octagon and starts moving in on an opponent, it’s very rare that they’ll be able to slip out the side. Instead, he manages to bully them back against the cage where their own movement and attacks become more limited. Fighters were stuck spending a lot of their energy (both mental and physical) on trying to stay off the cage, while Chris was able to focus on punishing offense.

The eras are different, but the ethos is the same. Chris Weidman pledged his axe to the Vikings , and you can fight along with him and the Viking Faction free in the For Honor Open Beta starting February 9th.

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