We’re used to seeing Chris Weidman in 4oz. MMA gloves and Reebok fight shorts, but from the sounds of it, he nearly ended up on skates.
Speaking to MSG Networks amid the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, the former UFC middleweight champion divulged that he previously planned to try out for the New York Islanders. He hoped to become a high-scoring, physical center for the NHL team.
“I grew up playing all sports, but I fell in love with hockey early on,” Weidman said (via Bloody Elbow). “I first started skating probably when I was 3 or 4 years old. And my goal was to be in the NHL. I remember I wrote myself a letter in 6th grade that you then get back as a senior. And I wrote in there that my goal in life and career was to be playing in the NHL and for the New York Islanders.”
“I played center, I was fast and tough,” Weidman added. “I was very physical, but I was a scorer more than anything. But I loved to check.”
Ultimately, of course, Chris Weidman migrated from hockey to MMA.
“When I was deciding if I was going to do mixed martial arts, I had just tried out for the 2008 Olympics for wrestling,” Weidman said. “But I got injured before the trials and I was at a crossroads whether to start MMA or do the wrestling world teams in between and then try out for the Olympics in 2012. I had then just met an Islanders players out somewhere and it sparked a memory. I haven’t played hockey since 6th grade, but I remembered that I was really good at it.
“So I thought I could figure out mentally and physically how to get that back. So I said I’m going to try out for the Islanders. I bought all this hockey equipment and thought it would maybe take about 6 months until I’m ready to compete with these NHL guys. So I went down to the rink and there were a bunch of high school kids playing a pick-up game. I got on the ice with them and quickly realized it was going to take way more than 6 months to be Islanders caliber. It was a rude awakening. This is going to take awhile. So that was the end of my hockey career and then I got into fighting.”
How do you think Chris Weidman would have performed in the NHL?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/15/2019.