UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman added another huge scalp to his MMA trophy cabinet at UFC 175, defeating former light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida and successfully completing the second defense of the title he won from Anderson Silva at UFC 162. The win did not come without adversity for ‘The All-American’ though, as ‘The Dragon’ rocked him late on.
The win silenced a lot of naysayers about Weidman’s ability, and cemented his position as the undisputed boss at 185 pounds. Still, Weidman is dealing with a litany of injuries that leave his next title defense up to speculation. The champ stopped by The MMA Hour to talk life post-UFC 175 earlier today (Monday July 14, 2014):
“My ankle still hurts, but nothing crazy, and my hand that got hurt before the fight is still bothering me. It’s a ligament issue. I guess I was close to not fighting at UFC 175, I was very nervous. I thought I had to pull out of the fight because my left hand was hurting me bad. I kinda scared the crap outta myself. I was really pissed off, I was depressed. It was a tough time, they injected me with cortisones, and within a couple days I was able to grapple, but I didn’t punch for 2 weeks leading up to the fight.”
Weidman’s injury list before the fight also included double knee surgery, but you really couldn’t tell he was hurt going in to the fight against Machida. The unanimous decision rendered by the judges reflected the calibre of Weidman’s showing, but he was in trouble in round four. He continued:
“Lyoto Machida is just so good, but I think I performed good. This was a fight I needed, it was a huge growing fight for me. I thought I was gonna finish him in the fourth, but he hit me with some good shots. I underestimated how much he wanted this, and he showed his championship heart and hurt me. I think he was the best fighter I ever fought, he pushed me further than anyone. He was a tougher match up than Anderson, his wrestling is better, he gets right back to his feet. It was more of a chess match. In the third, I felt like I broke him, so I was kind of walking in to the danger zone in the fourth round. I thought I had him and he hit me hard in the fourth round, but nothing blacked me out. It was nothing that was going to finish me, but he won the round.”
It’s fair to say that Weidman was clearly clipped by ‘The Dragon’, and ‘The All-American’ did well to stay on track and win the fight. As well as questions about his heart, Weidman feels he won some more fans with the win against Machida:
“Yeah I think I won some respect after beating Machida, there are a lot less people that hate me. When you beat legends, people are pissed off by that. The way I finished Silva those two times, especially the last time; people hate you for that. I want to fight Vitor Belfort, he is another legend. Obviously he has this drug test issues that are going on, but hopefully he can get that sorted out. You have Mousasi/Jacare, then you have Rockhold, I don’t know what’s really going to happen.(Vitor) has failed drugs tests at least two times now, I just don’t think he can be trusted.”
The middleweight division certainly has a new lease on life, with talent seemingly bursting from the seams in the absence of former champion ‘The Spider’. An almost inevitable bout with Vitor Belfort would certainly be a great spectacle, but his ever-present drug related issues could put a damper on that parade. Still, with guys like Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ de Souza and Luke Rockhold around, I’m sure the promotion will have no problem finding a replacement should ‘The Phenom’ flunk again.
Do you think Weidman is the next generation of MMA fighter, or will he succumb to the hungry contenders at 185 pounds?
Thumbnail courtesy of USA Today Sports