When new UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman returned home to Long Island, N.Y., he wasn't sure what to expect. It didn't take long to find out.
"The welcoming home I got was pretty crazy," Weidman told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
). "My whole house was wrapped up with congratulations stuff. All my neighbors were up at 2 in the morning waiting for me to get home. They didn't even know when I was getting home. There were just hundreds of people that stayed up and were outside, waiting. They were just waiting on their grass at 2 in the morning with signs everywhere and fireworks. That was pretty crazy."
Things got even crazier the next day, when "The All American" received an unexpected knock on his front door.
"Everyone knows where I live now," Weidman said. "Today a kid came to the door, and he was asking me for autographs and T-shirts. That was pretty crazy too."
Such is life these days for Weidman (10-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC), who at this past weekend's UFC 162 event in Las Vegas went from curiously confident contender to budding superstar with a second-round knockout of MMA legend Anderson Silva (33-5 MMA, 16-1UFC). In the days since the July 6 pay-per-view event, he's done countless interviews talking about the historic moment when "The Spider" lost in the octagon for the very first time.
"It's been a little bit of a blur, but it's been good," Weidman said. "It's been a bit surreal. It still hasn't sunk in all the way, but it feels good."
Just how good isn't quite certain, at least from a financial standpoint. His disclosed pay of just $48,000 for the win has earned some criticism, making the payday seem a little meager in comparison to the accomplishment, even with a $50,000 "Knockout of the Night" bonus added to the total.
Of course, discretionary bonuses and pay-per-view shares can greatly impact fighters' total compensation package. UFC President Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta have also been known to offer up a gift or two following especially memorable accomplishments, and Weidman may have very well benefitted from such an arrangement.
If he did, he's keeping it to himself.
"Uh, let's just say I'm very happy to be part of the UFC," Weidman says with a chuckle. "I'll just leave it at that."
Instead, Weidman will do his best to enjoy the championship win, even as the blur of interviews and appearances continues. When it slows, the New Yorker needs to have some bothersome bone chips removed from his knee, but the scope is only expected to keep him out of the gym for a week or so, and then it's on the the challenge.
"I really have to thank all the supporters and anyone who believed in me," Weidman said. "I wish I could just enjoy it and sit back, but I guess my personality and work ethic and the passion I have about what I do, I'm already thinking about the rematch and preparing myself mentally to beat him again and to even look better."