Chris Weidman has been haunted by thoughts that his UFC middleweight matchup will never happen. He can't place the origin of the belief, but he thinks it stems from the fact that he seemed a lock to face Anderson Silva after beating Mark Munoz last July, only to hear that the longtime kingpin wasn't interested in facing him.
So even though Weidman was eventually granted that shot at the belt, maybe you can understand why he would be upset last week when word was passed to him of a rumor that Silva had been injured and might be forced to bow out of UFC 162.
Weidman first heard of the possibility through MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani, who had called him with the intention of obtaining information on the situation. Instead, Weidman was hearing about it for the first time, and let's just say he was taken aback by what he heard.
"I was like, 'Don't tell me this, don't tell me this,'" he recalled to Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I'm freaking out. I'm like, 'I need to go home and take a nap. I need to go exit the world for a little bit. Honestly, I needed to go home and take a nap because I was going to start freaking out. It was just too much. Overload. I was freaking out. And then we ended up finding out it wasn't true, knock on wood."
The report of Silva's rib injury stemmed from Yahoo! Brazil, but the possibility of Silva withdrawing was quickly refuted by both UFC president Dana White and Silva's camp.
Still, it's been difficult for Weidman to shake the fear that something will sidetrack his long-awaited matchup, which is set for July 6 in Las Vegas.
"There's something that scares me with that, yeah," he said. "The thing is, it’s been a long road. After I fought Munoz, I called him out. We were supposed to fight and it ended up not happening a couple times. So I still have that mind set. But I'm training for the fight. I believe it's going to happen. But there's something inside me that's a little bit like, 'I just really want this fight to happen.' I just want to be in that cage with him. I just want to get to July 6. I want to get to the weigh-ins. I want to look at him. I want to see him physically there and I'll be a happy man."
Meanwhile, Weidman is still dealing with other problems, as he continues the process of restoring his Long Island, New York home after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy. While he's completed repairs on the second floor, the first floor is still under construction, and outdoor repairs like fencing, siding and gutters are all future projects.
Despite that, he's continued on with a singular-minded focus on Silva. But that's to be expected from Weidman, who told a story about his drive that is part admirable and part gross.
After his recent shoulder surgery, Weidman wasn't yet medically cleared to spar, but wanted to help out his longtime friend and teammate Gian Villante. So he ignored his doctor's orders to do so. One day while doing so, his stomach didn't feel right.
And well, I'll let Weidman and Villante take it from there.
Weidman: "We go and spar, and I crap myself in sparring."
Villante: "First 15 seconds."
Weidman: "He goes, 'Bro, go to the bathroom.' I'm like, 'No, we got to continue.'"
Villante: "Fifteen seconds in! Big deal, start all over. And he wants to keep going."
Weidman: "Three 5-minute rounds with full crap in my pants."
Villante: "He took me down once."
Weidman: "I mounted him. I had really tight tights on so it stayed in like a diaper."
Perhaps too much information, but it goes to show just how driven the challenger is when he commits himself to a task. In that instance, he was only helping a friend. This is different. This is personal. He's chasing the only goal he's had since embarking on his professional career.
So you better believe that when he finally arrives there, he'll be ready for anything.
"I just visualize it going every possible way," he said. "I see it a million different ways. I prepare myself mentally to visualize terrible things happening and fighting through it. Persevering. Front kicking me in my face like [Vitor] Belfort but I get my wits back faster than him and I'm right back up. Then he kicks me again and I'm down again. Everyone's like, 'Oh, this kid sucks,' but next thing you know I’m on top ground-and-pounding him and winning the world title."