UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva is easily the favorite on paper when compared to top contender Chris Weidman. He’s got 4X Weidman’s experience, 24 more career wins, and consistent success against elite opposition. Of course, anyone with more insight than simply statistics knows the match-up should prove to be much more closely contested than the numbers might imply. After all, Weidman is an excellent wrestler, posing a significant threat in terms of taking Silva down and holding him there.

Silva understands how dangerous Weidman is, recently telling MMAJunkie he respects what his 28-year old foe should bring when the cage door closes.

“We have to respect Weidman. He’s won some fights, and he’s proven himself to be where he is. He’s 10 years younger, and he’s going to come in with a lot of cardio – a lot of power – and try to grapple, I’m sure,” confessed Silva. “We’ve got to respect him. He’s won some fights.”

While Silva can appreciate Weidman’s skill-set, “The Spider” went on to explain he thinks the proverbial miles he’s put on his body will give him an edge in the end rather than serve as a disadvantage.

“I’m always training with younger guys. I train with a jiu-jitsu world champion who’s 20 years old. I train with a kickboxing champion whose a much younger guy. I’m always training with much younger and very athletic guys, so that doesn’t really make a difference,” said Silva. “A fight’s a fight. My experience will count when I’m in there. I’ve being doing this since I was 8 years old, and I think that has a lot to do with when you’re inside the cage.”

The 33-4 Silva is set to face Weidman (9-0) on July 6 at UFC 162. The bout will mark Silva’s eleventh defense of the divisional title.