Chris Weidman appears more than willing to prove his UFC 162 knockout of Anderson Silva was no fluke, even if “The Spider” showed no interest in a rematch during his post-fight interview.
“Whoever the UFC wants me in there with, I’ll [be there], 100-percent,” Weidman told Fox Sports after his title-winning performance Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“I’m holding onto this belt for as long as I possibly can. I don’t care who they bring up to fight me. I’d rather have a rematch with Anderson Silva. That’s the first thing I said to Anderson right after the fight. I said, ‘Let’s rematch. You got cocky and put your hands down. Let’s do this again.’”
Weidman started quickly in his title bid on Saturday night, taking Silva to the mat in the first round and dropping clean shots to the champion’s head. After fighting for several minutes off his back, the Spider capitalized on a failed kneebar attempt and regained his vertical base, where he employed a familiar psych-out tactic by allowing Weidman to punch him several times to end the round.
“You kind of have to prepare for [the show-boating]. Anderson Silva does that, and he tries to get into people’s heads,” said Weidman. “[I told myself] not to get frustrated and to believe in myself and just keep moving forward. I was telling myself to [throw] my punches to get to my takedowns, but it got to a point where he was putting his hands down and kept talking where I said, “I’m going to punch this guy in the face right now.”
Silva began the second round in much the same way he ended the first, and the Spider eventually paid for it. As the longtime middleweight king attempted to slip away from his aggressive challenger, Weidman clipped his elusive foe with a crisp left hook on the end of a four-punch combo, snapping Silva’s head around and dropping him to the canvas, where Weidman quickly finished the fight with a vicious stream of ground-and-pound.
“I told myself [that I was] going to go after him. I believe in my standup. I do great in [practice] with really good standup guys,” Weidman said. “You hear everyone say, ‘Don’t stand up with Anderson Silva. It’s the wrong game plan.’ But I said, ‘Screw it. This guy is opening his mouth, and I’m going to try to shut it for him,’ and I got him.”
Though Weidman repeatedly mentioned his high level of confidence leading up to his bout with Silva, the unbeaten New Yorker now admits that owning both the UFC middleweight title and a victory over arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time has produced a surreal feeling.
“I imagined being here over and over again since I got into MMA,” said Weidman. “This was my goal, and it just felt like my destiny. No matter how many times you play it over in your mind, it still feels kind of far-fetched. Just to be here now with this belt is amazing.”