Chris Weidman lost the UFC Middleweight Championship at UFC 194 in fairly brutal fashion, getting beat up badly by Luke Rockhold in the third round before finally getting stopped in the fourth. It ended his run after two successful title defenses, but now Weidman believes it was for the best.
“The way I felt after the loss was, by far, the most surreal feeling I’ve ever felt,” Weidman said in an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “It felt like a bad dream, that I just wanted go back to sleep and just… make it not happen again. It felt like a bad dream, so it’s definitely been a surreal thing. But emotionally and mentally now, I feel like I’m in a way better place than I’ve ever been.
“It was just a great experience for me. I could play back a million things in that fight I could’ve done differently, but I’m really happy I lost. I feel like if I would’ve won that fight, if I would’ve somehow figured a way to beat him up, I wouldn’t have the opportunity that I have now to grow as a fighter and truly reach my potential. Now I feel like I have the freedom to change things that I’ve wanted to change for years. You don’t want to fix things that aren’t broken, so that kind of stops you from make changes. But now I feel more free than I’ve ever felt to change the things and do things that I wanted to do without feeling like I’m cursing myself, so I feel great. I’m real excited about the future. I feel like it’s just going to create a whole different monster inside of me, and I’m excited to go out there and fight again.”
Weidman says he felt off throughout his camp and for whatever reason couldn’t muster the proper motivation into the fight. He doesn’t believe it’s an excuse, and instead thinks it’s a reason he deserved to lose on that December night.
“I’m happy I lost,” Weidman reiterated. “Everybody has been talking about the kick, and I do feel like I was winning the fight, but I was running on like two cylinders and I feel like I deserved to lose that fight, and I’m happy I did. I just felt like he was circling that way and I just felt I could go for a spinning back kick. He capitalized on it, he took me down. But that doesn’t mean it should be the end of the fight for me.
“It’s not the spinning back kick that I’m really critical on myself about. Was it a pretty spinning back kick? Did it change the momentum of the fight? Definitely. But there’s things that I should’ve been doing that I didn’t do as soon as I hit the ground, and there’s reasons I didn’t, and there’s things that I’m excited about to change, to do things differently.”
Weidman’s now trying to get back into the cage with Rockhold, a fight Rockhold himself is more than happy to run again, and he’ll attempt to remedy all of the things that he failed to do the first time around.
Penick’s Analysis: The only way to move forward from a loss like that is to take it as a learning experience and do everything to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Preparations aside, he got beat, and got beat badly. And Rockhold himself doesn’t believe he was at full potential for the fight. He has to be much better if he gets that rematch, and it’s good of him to recognize things that might have went wrong. The outcome may or may not be different if and when they fight again, but he’s almost assuredly going to have a different approach when that fight comes.
[Photo (c) Gary A. Vasquez via USA Today Sports]
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