Chris Weidman defeated Anderson Silva, the greatest fighter in middleweight division to claim the UFC middleweight title and subsequently defended his title from Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort. But for the first time in seven years, Weidman tasted defeat at the hands of Luke Rockhold at UFC 194.
Rockhold badly left Weidman battered and bruised with a salvo of punches and kicks but Weidman however, is happy that he “lost” the fight.
Weidman opened up about his feelings for the first time since the fight during an appearance on The MMA Hour on Monday.
“The way I felt after the loss was, by far, the most surreal feeling I’ve ever felt,” Weidman said during the show, reports MMA Fighting.
“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.”
However, unlike others, Weidman is graciously accepting his defeat and that is what makes him a true sportsman.
“It’s one of those things,” Weidman said. “I felt weird in camp. The lack of excitement — and I’m not making any excuses, I trained hard — but the lack of excitement about it, I just couldn’t trick myself into being extremely excited about it, for whatever reason.”
“It was a slow thing. You kind of feel, like these little things that are off during camp, and then you walk to the cage and feel a little off, and then you lose. It was surreal. It was just weird losing. But then shortly after, you realize: you know what, this is part of the plan. This is what was meant to happen. He was a better man that night, and there’s a million things in my mind that I know could’ve gone differently and I could’ve done differently during camp and in the fight.”
“But I have no regrets,” Weidman added.
“I really don’t. Because now… now I have the ability to come back better. If I would’ve won that fight, I don’t think my improvement from fight to fight would’ve been there. I think I would’ve stuck with the same things, the ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’ Being undefeated for that long of a time, you just don’t feel a need to change things. So I now I have that gift, to be able to just be free, and whatever I feel I need to do, I can do without second guessing myself.”
However, telling the news about his defeat to his family was the hardest part of all for Weidman: “That was the hardest part of everything, man,” Weidman said.
“You’ve seen my son and my family so involved with my life, you’ve seen them on the Countdown shows, especially my son. He’s just so vocal. He knows Daddy is a champion. He’s so proud of me. He knows I’m fighting Luke Rockhold. He wants me to throw him down, beat him up, and he wants me to be the champion again. He knows Daddy doesn’t lose. I was undefeated forever, and I don’t lose. So for me to have to tell him myself … that morning they came to my room and I told them the news, and especially for my son, it was very hard for me.”
“I get emotional just thinking of it now. It was very hard. But at the end of the day, it’s a month ago now. He still loves me. I’m still his hero. He still considers me a champion. He knows Daddy is going to have a good next fight. He wants me to beat up Luke Rockhold next time, he wants me to get him back. But it was a good learning experience even for him, for him to learn for his life — that sometimes you do lose, but that’s not what defines you. It’s about what you do afterwards and how you get back up again. And I’m back up, better than ever, and I can’t wait to show everybody who I truly am.”