A month after suffering the first loss of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career and coughing up the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight title to Luke Rockhold (see it again here), Chris Weidman is doing much better.
Admitting that all he wanted to do after the loss is sleep to get over the surreal feeling of losing at UFC 194 last December, "All American" says he is actually glad he lost.
Why, you ask?
Because now he has the freedom and opportunity to make long overdue changes to his training in order to improve his fight game. Changes that he hesitated to go through previously, as he always took the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach.
In his first interview since losing, Weidman broke it all down on The MMA Hour:
"At first, I had some amazing wins in my career. The moments were surreal. You imagine winning so many times and when it happens, it's just a surreal feeling. The way I felt after the loss was by far the most surreal feeling. It felt like a bad dream and I just wanted to go back to sleep to make it not happen again. It felt like a bad dream. Emotionally and mentally now, I feel like I am in a way better place than I've been. I'm more motivated for the future. Being champ for a while and being undefeated, and having the big fights early in my career, with Silva, Machida, Vitor...and Luke was big, too, but it wasn't the biggest fight of my career. The motivation was there for me to train hard, but, I felt like I was just going through the motions and it just felt like another fight that I had to win. The true excitement when I'm walking through the cage, and while we're touching gloves, it just wasn't there. It wasn't the biggest fight of my career when you compare to my other fights. But, it should have been. I can play back a million different thing I could've done differently, but I am really happy I lost. If I would've won that fight, If I would have figured out a way to beat him, I wouldn't have the chance I have now to grow as a fighter and reach my potential. Now I feel like I have the freedom to change things I've wanted to change for years, but you don't because you don't want to fix things that are not broken. Now I feel more free to change things and do things I wanted to do without feeling like I am cursing myself, I am excited about the future. This is going to create a whole different monster inside of me."
While Chris refused to go into detail as to what exact changes he will make, he did confirm that his nucleus and current team will always stay intact.
As far as what he wants to do next, he wants nothing more than a chance to pay Rockhold back for the beating he gave him in "Sin City." Because though he admits Luke was the better man that night, he wasn't quite himself inside the cage and he "deserved to lose."
"That's the fight I want. I think that's the fight I deserve. That will be the biggest fight of my life. That trumps my Anderson Silva fights, my Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort fights. It trumps everything. That's the biggest fight of my life. I am going to be a completely different animal, motivated more than ever. I am going to go repay him a little bit of what he did to me; with no personal vendetta or emotion, just competitive. Just completely demolish him."
And though he expressed to Lorenzo Fertitta the day after UFC 194 that he wanted to do an instant rematch against Luke, he didn't reveal whether or not company officials were willing to oblige.
Should it be the case, you can bet one Jose Aldo will be sorely upset he wasn't granted the same opportunity after dominating his division for over a decade.
Anyone expect a different version of Weidman the next time he steps foot inside the cage?