“I invested a lot in this fight camp, I sacrificed a lot and I took no break,” he said. “I haven’t been that guy for a long, long time. Since Anderson Silva’s second fight, because I think at that point I really started looking to cut costs. You are starting to win a lot, I am undefeated and I have started to cut corners. You think you can do less and less and that’s not really the answer. I don’t think I’ve been that consistent since then.
It’s an understandable dilemma. Weidman rose to the top of the sport in ten fights, beating a legend in the process. After doing it again to prove it wasn’t a fluke, what was the next step for the New Yorker? He did not know.
“I didn’t really have any goals set after winning the championship,” he said. “What is my goal now? I am world champion. I beat Anderson Silva, I said I’m going to do it a second time, I did it, and now I guess I have to see how long I can hold this. It just wasn’t the same motivation. I was going with the moves, and I didn’t want to retire from fights (due to injuries), so I guess I’ll practice less, and that catches up with you. I feel like this is the reason why I started to have losses.
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After the win over Silva, Weidman successfully defended his crown two more times against Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort before losing it to Luke Rockhold. The loss kicked off a 1-5 streak filled with injuries, near wins that turned into losses and an ill-fated visit to 205 pounds. But when he and his family moved to South Carolina and then defeated Akhmedov, the skies brightened for his career.
“Now with the move and the change of scenery I’m putting myself in awkward situations with new training partners and being surrounded by new coaches and different looks it really allowed me to thrive and come back to my old roots. in terms of being consistent going to the gym, not just training camps, ”he said. “I did everything right and I feel great, and I can see that all the hard work pays off when it comes to my cardio and the way I look at it. I’m really excited for this fight and just want it to pay off the way I think it is.
He seems excited, even passing by the coaches and training partners at Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson’s gym, Gym-O in North Carolina, and even by light heavyweight contender Anthony Smith and the longtime man in his corner, Ray Longo.
“Before, I tried to talk to myself, I was excited,” Weidman laughs. “But now I really am. I usually care less about where I’m fighting, but I’m excited about everything with this fight. There are more eyeballs on it, I just know how good I feel, and this sport is crazy – anything can happen – but I have another run in this stuff. I know it does.
“Pops” knew Weidman had another race in him as well. Now it’s up to the child to do the work and make a statement.
“Uriah Hall is a lot like Israel Adesanya, an athletic forward, so he looks like the champion in some ways, and I would just like to put that on him and let people know that stylistically the champion in our weight class is a guy, I could put it on too, ”Weidman said. “It might not be the fight right after this fight, it could be another fight or something, and I know I have some work to do, but I’m in a good position to prove it.
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