Here’s what Cruz thinks:
“Weidman can absolutely do it. But against Anderson Silva the pressure is on not to make a mistake while he uses his strikes to set up a takedown. That is the critical thing for Weidman. I’ve spent some time with Chris, he’s a smart dude, and he knows he’s not going to try to strike with Anderson.
“Striking wise, Weidman cannot compete against Anderson on any level. At all. The reason he was able to land that elbow against Mark Munoz was Munoz was trying to set up for a takedown just as much as Weidman was and, knowing that, Weidman was waiting for the overhand right and that allowed him to land that elbow. He cannot land anything like that against Anderson.
“Weidman has to have the exact same game plan as Chael Sonnen; everyone is saying that is the blueprint for him to win this fight. But here’s the problem: Anderson had two fights with Chael and has had over 30 minutes of Octagon time with that exact strategy.
“Anderson went through at least two camps expecting that to be his opponent’s strategy. Anderson’s takedown defense is light years away from where it was even two years ago. Remember, takedown defense is only one aspect of one discipline in MMA – and it is one of the easiest aspects to improve on.
“But Weidman can still get him down. Anderson takes anything from a minute to half a round to figure out his opponent’s distance and timing, and Chris has to make use of that to score a takedown. Once he has Anderson down, he can strike very well, and I expect him to pass and force Anderson into a scramble.
“Anderson usually waits in his guard for a chance to escape or counter, but Chris hits hard enough and is active enough to force Anderson to try to get back up fast. That’s where I see Weidman winning the fight, in the scramble as Anderson tries to get back up.