'Under dog' Middleweight champion Chris Weidman out to prove he is true championship material at UFC 168

Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

Heading into his second championship fight with one of the greatest fighters to ever live, Anderson Silva, UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman is out to prove the naysayers wrong who thought his first win was lucky. The pair meet again at UFC 168: "Weidman vs. Silva 2" in less than two weeks at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Chris Weidman was able to achieve his goal on July 6, 2013.

After a clowning Anderson Silva taunted Weidman with his hands down, the Long Island, N.Y., native threw a left hook that dropped the champion, and then followed up with several unnecessary punches, to win the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight strap.

Fast forward five months later, and the two will square off in the main event at UFC 168: "Weidman vs. Silva 2," which takes place at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"I definitely feel the excitement for this fight," Weidman admits. "I did a pretty good job of staying pretty closed. I didn't have too many distractions. I haven't really felt it too much like you would expect it. Starting this week, it's going to get a little crazy with the media and I'm sure I'll feel it more."

Weidman and Silva -- along with Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate who will compete in the co-main event for the UFC Women's Bantamweight belt -- took part in a UFC 168 conference call earlier this week, and each spoke about their chances the second time around, after being booked in a fight with a familiar opponent.

"I've been there with him once, and you get a feel when you're with somebody once you're in the Octagon with them," said Weidman. "As far as my training, I train as hard as I can everyday and work on every aspect of mixed martial arts."

The world saw what kind of prospect Weidman was when he defeated Alessio Sakara at UFC on Versus 3 back in early 2011, and four fights later, he established himself as a true championship contender after demolishing Mark Munoz at UFC on Fuel TV 4 in summer 2012.

Certainly, the champion will take victory whichever way it comes; however, he feels like finishing the former 185-pound kingpin is the best route when they meet for the second time, which is less than two weeks away.

"Just like any other fight, I want to go in there and get the finish," an eager Weidman told the media as he spoke over the phone. "I want to go out there and shine -- show the world what I can do and prove myself right on what I can do. There's no better person to do it against Anderson Silva, and I don't think I'll be happy with that if I don't finish the fight. I'll ready be going for that."

The long layoff Weidman had to endure did not really bother the current champion when he stepped inside the Octagon this past summer even though there were lingering issues with which he had to deal. For one, he lost his house when Hurricane Sandy hit his area. In addition, he had two surgeries and had competed in one year. Despite not making excuses and staying true to his word, Weidman does not have any unfortunate occurrences to deal with in this second Silva fight.

And he is more than ready to show the world he has improved.

"I know it's going to be a better version of me," said a confident Weidman. "For the last camp, I went through the Hurricane Sandy, two surgeries, a year layoff. I wouldn't let those excuses get into my mind for that fight. There was no reason in my mind why I should lose, there was still questions marks, lingering. For this fight, there are really no excuses for me to lose. It's perfect timing, I'm completely healthy. I haven't gotten out of shape since the last fight."

Weidman walked into the first fight with Silva as a 2:1 underdog, despite many of the pros siding with the Baldwin resident to shock the world. Weidman certainly owned up to their expectations, yet he did not receive full credit for the win from everyone. Many though that Silva's antics -- which include merciless taunting, dancing and a nonchalant cocky attitude -- was the real reason Weidman won and that the current champion got lucky.

To prove it was destiny, Weidman would like to prove to himself that he is indeed a true champion, one who is more than capable of defending his title after securing it.

"I feel the same as a lot of other champions. I feel like to solidify my championship, I need to defend my belt and especially going against the same guy, with everybody saying it was a fluke. It's not really extra pressure, just more motivation to prove them wrong. I'm just excited to go out there and prove them wrong."

Weidman shockingly knocked out Silva in the second round of their championship duel at UFC 162 in "Sin City." And the pride of New York does not feel like he has to own up to another knockout or win the fight differently a second time around.

"I'm going to go out there and try to finish him whether it's on the feet or the ground. I'll take either one. Whatever I feel like I could get at the time, I'll take it," he said.

In terms of being the under dog once again (the bookies have the odds more or less the same as their first fight ... for now), Weidman feels like he has a lot more to lose than his Brazilian counterpart. Silva has been around the sport for so long and could still be considered as the greatest fighter competing in the world today. The Ray Longo and Matt Serra-trained product would like to turn that notion around with the same mentality he had when they first met at UFC 162.

"I still feel like I have everything to lose in this fight. Like I said before, I need to win this fight to solidify me as champion. I want to go on and achieve a lot of my other long-term goals in the sport. And to do that, I need to win this next fight. I put a lot of pressure on myself, and it's pressure that I put on myself when I decided to get involved in this sport. So, it's the same mentality going into this fight as the last one."

For more on UFC 168: "Weidman vs. Silva 2" be sure to check out our comprehensive event archive right here.

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