After defeating Demian Maia and Mark Munoz in 2012, launching his name into contention for UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s title, Chris Weidman, on the surface, would appear to have had a stellar year.
And it was… in the Octagon.
But outside of competition, 2012 turned out to be a rough year for Weidman on a personal level.
Superstorm Sandy hit the New Yorker hard, driving him and his family out of their home.
“We were out of my house for a while,” he told MMAWeekly.com recently. “We just got back in two days before Christmas… to the second floor; the first floor has no floors. We’re just getting subflooring in; there are no doors on the first floor. It’s still a mess, but it’s nice to be back in our old house.”
Weidman says it will still be another four or five months before his house is fully repaired.
He missed out on fighting Tim Boetsch at UFC 155 during the time he’s been dealing with the storm’s aftermath. Weidman’s withdrawal from the bout, however, was due to a shoulder injury, not the storm itself. The timing just happened to coincide.
“I’m better off that I didn’t fight Boetsch (due to injury) because there’s been so much I’ve been dealing with,” said Weidman of the storm and having to pull out of the fight due to his shoulder.
The storm coupled with the injury would already qualify 2012 as a difficult year in nearly anyone’s book, but those incidents were really just the cap on an already challenging year.
Looking back on 2012, Weidman pinpointed his fight against Demian Maia as the moment of which he was most proud. Hearing his reasons why, however, really put perspective on the year that Weidman endured.
“I took the fight on 10 days notice and the next day my uncle dies. Just doesn’t die, he fell on his face down stairs, smashed his face, and I had to clean up his blood,” Weidman recounted, his eyes welling. “I didn’t actually go to the funeral; I went to the wake the next two days. I wasn’t really able to train and on top of that I lose 32 pounds in that time frame.
“It was just such a tough time, but I had to do it. One of the main things that drove me was him and him passing and just what I went through.
“For me to go in there and not just find a way to (not) lose, but to find a way to win, it might not have been pretty, but I literally almost died cutting weight and with all that other stuff going on… and Demian Maia’s a tough guy man.”
That, for Weidman, was a pivotal point, not just in his year, but in his career. Such moments etch a man’s character on his soul.
“I was really proud of that. I got more criticism for that fight than anything, but for me, that really taught me where I’m at. It gave me the confidence moving into my Mark Munoz fight.”
Weidman once again proved the naysayers wrong when he stormed Munoz, knocking him out early in the second round of their fight.
For all the adversity that Weidman faced in 2012, he has an amazing perspective on his situation. He doesn’t dwell or contemplate the negativity of his challenges, he instead is grateful… yes, grateful… that he has it so good.
“There’s always people a lot worse (off),” Weidman reflected. “I got a lot to be grateful for. I got a great family and great kids.”
That is the mark of a champion, not just on the inside, but also on the outside of the cage.
He faces a monumental task in trying to wrest the belt from around middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva’s waist, but as we all saw, Weidman doesn’t back down from the seemingly insurmountable task.
He would gladly jump at the chance to prove he belongs in the Octagon with Silva. In fact, his goal for 2013 is not just to put himself in the position of challenging Silva, but of taking his belt outright. He’ll start back on that path with whomever the UFC next puts before him.
“I want to make a big statement whoever I fight my next fight and my goal is to get that belt in 2013, without a doubt.”
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