Even though the holidays have arrived and it’s a time to relax and reflect, Chris Weidman will have a fire burning deep inside of him. He will enjoy his family as much as possible but his mind will not be very far from the cage. His competitiveness is as much a curse as it is a blessing….and unfortunately in this case their is no “off” button.
We all know that UFC 194 did not end well for Chris Weidman. He fought hard but made one ill advised move that most likely cost him the title and that isn’t taking anything away from Luke Rockhold‘s ability or championship effort.
It was Weidman’s first professional loss after 13-0 start but I see this as a positive in his career going forward. If you break it all down, Weidman really had a small chance to pull this out and it was unlikely. The stars were alligned perfectly for Rockhold and he took that moment and made it his. But don’t bury him yet….
First of all Rockhold was “hungry” and motivated to take that belt away. He felt it was his time now to carry the strap. Consider the camp he comes from versus Weidman’s camp. Rockhold trains with champions every day whether it’s prepping one of his teammates for a title or himself. The level of talent is so high at AKA with current Champion Daniel Cormier and former champion Cain Valasquez that Rockhold explained his daily “nerves” he gets on spar days. Can you imagine this level of training in your face daily ? You cannot have a bad day or you won’t survive.
Meanwhile Weidman is training with who ? What champion is there pushing him and putting him against the cage? What partner is taking top position on him in training making him fight and claw his way out ? Those type of athletes are not easy to find and retain for a camp. There truly are less than 5 in the world at any weight able to bully Weidman in an mma drill or atmosphere, though there is this guy that trains in New Mexico that is considered by many as the greatest ever at a world class camp that produces many champions ….hmmm
I am sure Weidman has some tough guys that do their best to push him but it’s not nearly enough. The only guys able to put Weidman on his back and help him get better are probably at AKA ironically. You could completely tell Weidman did not feel comfortable on the bottom. He did not look relaxed and seemed to panic. He knew he had to control the entire fight from the top position to win and once he lost that grip on Rockhold, the destruction came. Rockhold called Weidman a “control freak” that needed to be winning every moment. That was as accurate an assessment as possible. Weidman was not able to survive adversity once the fight changed momentum.(Jackson’s echoes in background)
For all your information, Luke Rockhold is not a better grappler than Chris Weidman. I would bank on Chris in both a wrestling match or bjj bout. But we all know MMA is a different animal and that’s where AKA made the difference. Weidman beats everyone at his gym dominating daily and had a false idea of his true “self”. I don’t think “the All American” realized the level he was facing and expected his control to be more than enough to retain the title.
Those leg kicks proved to be effective enough to take the “juice” out of a Weidman that he made the costly mistake trying to go outside his skill set to surprise Luke.
With all that being said, I am not ready to jump ship. I believe this loss will push him to new height and force him to change his training. Maybe he will bring in guys or travel himself because he has a real chance at redemption if he changes up. Weidman’s title run has been impressive defeating two of the three in “murderers row”(Machida and Belfort). Throw in his two wins over Silva and you had yourself a “strong” run. Unfortunately for Weidman, this painful loss was necessary for him to take the next step in his evolution of a mma fighter. It’s controversial to say but He needed this !!!!!
If Chris can improve his striking and control the distance, he will reclaim that title in the future forcing a legendary third fight.
Both Rockhold and Weidman are a huge step above the rest with Jacare close but passed his prime. These two are the cream of the crop of the middleweights with a few years at least left in their prime.
Back in 2009 when he burst on the scene in grappling. I competed against him in the ADCC trials championship final. To say he was the most impressive opponent I ever went against is a fair statement. But it’s what our conversation was about at the medal stand afterward that impressed me.
We both discussed Silva and how we thought a wrestler could defeat him especially after Travis Lutter was able to basically control the fight until he gassed. Chris was just 2-0 in Pro MMA at that time told me he was gonna beat him in the UFC someday. It basically was his main goal and he did just that 4 years later. I always believed and argued with everyone back then as he was rising up the UFC ladder and he proved me right thankfully.
Chris Weidman will make the adjustments to take his belt back. He will not cut corners and will drive himself back to the top. That’s the type of competitor Weidman is and this is his chance to show the MMA world that very trait.
James Brasco is a world class grappler and professional MMA fighter. He is a second degree black belt in BJJ under Pablo Popovitch and will add a unique perspective for our readers from both on the mat and in the cage.