Chris Weidman is less than a week removed from shocking the world, and all he can think about is doing it all over again.
“I stress a lot about fighting,” Weidman told USA TODAY Sports in an exclusive interview. “I want to be the best in the world so bad, and I want to always shine and look spectacular. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do that and work hard.
“I thought once I won the belt, I’d kind of have a weight lifted off my shoulder and could relax a little bit. Unfortunately, I can’t do that.”
Weidman (10-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) upset pound-for-pound great Anderson Silva (33-5, 16-1) at Saturday’s UFC 162 in Las Vegas, ending “The Spider’s” unparalleled run of 2,458 days as the UFC’s middleweight titleholder.
Before the fight, a confident Weidman promised to offer Silva an immediate rematch, and after scoring a second-round knockout, the new titleholder isn’t withdrawing his offer. Instead, he’s even more intent on beating Silva a second time to prove his worth.
“No matter what I did, even if I submitted him the first round or knocked him out in the first round, there were going to be people who doubted me,” Weidman said. “I can’t worry about that. I just have to go out and fight him again and try to win.”
Silva, 38, generally was considered the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter coming in. After the loss, he seemed hesitant to accept an immediate rematch and suggested he may be done with championship fights.
However, UFC President Dana White insisted he would put the fight together, and multiple reports since have indicated Silva had a quick change of heart.
“The guy just got knocked out for the first time in his career,” Weidman said. “He’s not thinking straight. I think he was just down and out and not sure what was going on.
“I’m sure it was a surreal feeling for him, so you can’t just take what he says and run with it. But the rematch is happening.”
Despite his win, Weidman already has been installed as an underdog in the planned rematch by Las Vegas oddsmakers. That didn’t matter much to the 29-year-old in the first meeting, and he insists it means nothing this time, either.
“It’s really good for anybody that wants to bet on me,” he said. “Good for them. You can get good value on me.”
White is said to be considering both the UFC’s traditional year-end event in Las Vegas, as well as a Super Bowl weekend event in New Jersey, to host the rematch.
“My main goal is I want to be known as one of the greatest of all time,” Weidman said. “You get there one fight at a time.”
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