Chris Weidman: “100 percent, I know it’s going to be a better version of me.”
Like most who win UFC gold, they do not feel as though they are true champions until they defend their title at least one. UFC Champion Chris Weidman shares that same attitude.
“I feel the same as a lot of other champions. I feel like to solidify my championship, I need to defend my belt especially going in against the same guy and everybody saying it was a fluke, ” stated Weidman to MMAWeekly.
As Weidman stated, he is in the unique position to defend the title against the man he took it from in the first place. Which, needless to say, adds a little bit more excitement to the mix.
“It’s not really extra pressure. It’s just more motivation to go out there and prove those guys wrong. It’s exciting,” said Weidman. “I’m excited to go out there and prove them wrong. It’s not really any extra pressure that I don’t already put on myself.”
Weidman is set to face off and defend his belt against Anderson Silva this Saturday at UFC 168 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
Even though he’s the champ Weidman is still being viewed as the underdog for the rematch. However, he is being viewed as a stronger contender since winning the first matchup.
Before the first bout Silva was viewed at about a two to one favorite (Silva -240 to Weidman’s +220), but that’s changed a bit after Weidman had won the first bout and the rematch was announced. Now the gap still leaves Silva at about a -140 favorite and Weidman at +100.
However, the added pressure from the oddsmakers have no real affect on the champ who says that the internal pressure out shadows anything external.
“I still feel like, you know, I have everything to lose in this fight. Like I said before, I need to win this fight to solidify me as champion and I want to go on and achieve a lot of my other longterm goals I have in this sport,” he said in a press conference for UFC 168.
“I need to win this next fight,” Weidman said. “So I put a lot of pressure on myself. And it’s pressure that I’ve put on myself when I decided to get into this sport.”
Weidman feels that any preparation for the fight is just that, preparation, and that pressure comes from things like recovering from his shoulder injuring prior to his title winning bout at UFC 162, or dealing with the catastophy that was Hurricane Sandy that demolished Weidman and his family’s New York homes.
Weidman feels that he’s in a great mind frame for the rematch, and in dealing with less feels that he is even more prepared.
“It’s the same mentality going into this as the last one,” Weidman said. “It’s a better situation for me this time with not having that long layoff and Hurricane Sandy and everything else. So it’s just a better situation.
“100-percent, I know it’s going to be a better version of me,” said Weidman. “For the last camp, I went through hurricane Sandy, two surgeries, a year layoff. And even though, I wouldn’t let those excuses get in my mind before that fight. I didn’t make any excuses in my mind for why I should lose. This time, there’s really no excuses for me to lose.”
“It’s perfect timing. I’m really healthy. I just feel a lot better and a more complete fighter for this next fight. This camp, it wasn’t like I was rushing to get in shape. I was very in shape and improving on that, just improving as a fighter was the focus.”
This more clear headed Weidman hopes to solidify his title holding in his rematch against Anderson Silva this Saturday at UFC 168. Tune into UFC 168 only on Pay-Per-View to see if Chrish Weidman can defend his title against “The Spider”.