After months of lobbying for a shot at UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (33-4 MMA, 16-0 UFC), Chris Weidman (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) finally got his wish. And while some might view the contest as a “big money” matchup, “The All American” disagrees. He’s not even asking for a new contract.
“I think we’re just going to keep the contract,” Weidman told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “I’m definitely OK with making what I was making. I think I was making $24,000 (to show) and $24,000 (as a win bonus). I want to do that because then after I beat Anderson like I plan on doing, then obviously the contract will jump up more than if I was to rip up the contract now. I’m ready to put all my eggs in one basket and put my money where my mouth is.”
It’s a bold statement from the 28-year-old New Yorker. After all, with just nine career bouts to his name, Weidman’s critics have wondered whether he’s even deserving of a chance to step in the cage with the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighter. But Weidman believes he’s made each of those nine appearances count while taking on the biggest challenges available at each step along the way.
“People say I don’t have that many fights, which is true, but I’ve never had an easy fight,” Weidman said. “Even when I was in Ring of Combat, we always wanted to get the best guys because I wanted to get that experience. Guys like Uriah Hall, who’s coming up on ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ I fought that guy in my third fight.
“I put myself in a lot of risky positions fighting good guys. I could have fought 50 guys at this point and smoked every one of them, and it would be against nobodies, which a lot of guys do. But I always chose the toughest competition because I knew that was going to make me the best I could be.”
Casual fans might struggle to see why Weidman belongs as the top contender in the UFC’s middleweight division. But with his five-fight UFC win streak, not to mention recent losses by contenders such as Alan Belcher, Vitor Belfort, Michael Bisping, Hector Lombard and others, things certainly worked out in Weidman’s favor. Additionally, hardcore fans point to Weidman’s history as an NCAA Division I All-American wrestler and Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championship qualifier as reason he could prove problematic for “The Spider.”
Weidman agrees, and it’s why he’s been so insistent that he’s the man to dethrone Silva after the longest title reign in UFC history.
“When people hear that, it’s almost like I’m talking smack,” Weidman said. “But I’m just confident, and I really believe I can win the fight. I think it’s a fight that people want to see.
“This is a dream fight for me. Since I got into MMA, this is the guy wanted to fight and really prove I could beat. I finally have the opportunity to do that.”
Weidman has boldly promised Silva an instant rematch once he defeats him, and he also reportedly told UFC President Dana White he was all too happy to “f— up” the company’s long-rumored plans to book superfights between the Brazilian superstar and fellow UFC champions Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones – though Weidman did want to make one clarification.
“I don’t curse,” Weidman said. “I might have said something like that, but definitely not a curse. I don’t really curse that much, just so everybody knows. That’s just Dana. He throws F-bombs out. I think that was more of him.”
If he’s able to deliver on all of his claims – and make no mistake, Weidman believes he’s destined to do exactly that – you can rest assured the UFC will look to deliver a new deal that locks up Weidman under financially lucrative terms.
But Weidman isn’t asking for anything ahead of time. Winning will be all the negotiating he needs.
“I got into this fight game for one reason: to be champion,” Weidman said. “I believe this is my time. The money is going to come when I’m champion. It’s not going to come before. I’m not looking for a couple of extra grand. I’m looking to make Anderson Silva money.
“I want that belt. That’s it. I know everything else comes with that.”
Weidman meets Silva in the main event of UFC 162, which takes place July 6 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena. The night’s main card airs on pay-per-view.
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