Chris Weidman revealed he had the worst camp of his career after his 185-pound title defense against Lyoto Machida at UFC 175. He sprained ligaments in his left hand in training, which prevented him from punching for the last two weeks leading up. He was also still recovering from knee surgery, which postponed his title defense from UFC 173 to UFC 175. It must have been pretty bad for a guy who once dropped 32 pounds in 10 days to fight Demian Maia.
Bad enough that there were a couple of days where Weidman fretted he might have to pull out of his main event fight with Machida. He appeared on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour and said it got to close for comfort.
"I went through a two-day period where I was very nervous, and felt, you had mentioned my hand, and I thought I was going to have to pull out of the fight," he told Ariel Helwani. "I couldn’t touch my thumb to any of my fingers. I couldn’t grab anything, I couldn’t squeeze a toothbrush, couldn’t brush my teeth. I could do it with my right hand, but not my left. But you know, you just start figuring things out. Like, how bad this if I can’t do these little things? So I kind of was scaring the crap out of myself."
Weidman said he went to the doctor to have an X-ray done on the hand, which also required an MRI.
"So they did the MRI and I had to wait on the results, and I was really just pissed off, and I was depressed," he said. "I was like, how am I going to deal with this? It was a bad situation. If it’s not broken, obviously I’m not pulling out, but how am I going to train for these last two weeks. I can’t even touch my fingers together and I can’t obviously punch. It was a tough day with that. It was ligaments that were all messed up and sprained. So, I got cortisone injections, which they even told me probably won’t help much because it’s not really an inflammation issue. But I asked them to do it anyway, just anything that might help."
Weidman said it didn’t really help too much, but that within a couple days of receiving the injections he was able to grapple again, even if he wasn’t able to punch for the last two-and-a-half weeks of camp. On fight night, Weidman said he felt a little discomfort here and there, but ultimately said it didn’t affect his performance.
"I had the worst camp of my life, but I fought well," he said. "I went out there and did my thing. The camp wasn’t the best at all, but I think Lyoto Machida is just that good. And I think I performed good."
As for having to go the distance with the former light heavyweight champion Machida, Weidman -- calling it his toughest fight to date -- said it gave him good experience after scoring relatively quick finishes over Mark Munoz and Anderson Silva twice.
"There was definitely stuff I was disappointed in myself with in the fight, but I think this is the fight I needed," he said. "I needed this fight. I think it was a huge growing fight for me, I needed to go five rounds, I needed to have that experience. I needed to get punched a little bit. I think I needed all that.
"I went for the finish in the fourth round. After the third round, I thought I’d get a finish in the fourth, and obviously it went completely the other way, from me almost finishing him and believe I’m going to finish him to him winning the round and hitting me with some good shots. It kind of screwed me up. I kind of underestimated how badly he wanted it, and how confident he was that he was going to win the fight. Because I thought he was broken already, but he showed obviously that champion’s heart he has, and he’s tough as nails man.
"I knew he was a good fighter, an awesome fighter – I think he’s the best fighter I’ve fought, to be honest with you, and he gave me my toughest test, obviously."