Chris Weidman didn't want to talk about it. He avoided mentioning it right after the fight.
In recent weeks, though, news has leaked that Weidman had a significantly broken foot going into his fight with Luke Rockhold at UFC 194 in December. The last thing he wants is people saying he's making an excuse, but he's not going to lie about it if asked.
"I say these things, because they came out," Weidman told MMA Fighting in a recent interview. "It's a fact. There's no excuses."
Weidman (13-1) lost the middleweight title to Rockhold by fourth-round TKO in that bout. The Long Island native said he broke his foot in two places about six weeks before the fight and also needed surgery after the fight to remove bone spurs from his elbow. With that knowledge, Weidman still did not want to withdraw from the bout.
"I knew what I was getting myself into, but I still thought I could go out there and beat him," Weidman said. "Even with that stuff. And he proved that I was wrong. He came out to fight. He was better than me that night."
Weidman will get a chance at retribution when he faces Rockhold in a rematch in the main event of UFC 199 on June 4 in Los Angeles. The former champ is recovered and back to training. He said he's already in shape three months out of the clash and more motivated than ever to get back what he believes is his.
"I know what I'm capable of," Weidman said. "I know my potential and I know I wasn't close to it. The fact that because of what I've accomplished in the past gives me the opportunity to get a rematch is a great situation to be in. In most situations, people don't get the second chance, especially right away. So, I'm very grateful for the opportunity I have. There's no question in my mind that I'm gonna go out there and make a statement, completely dominate him and make sure everybody knows the last fight was a fluke."
Why did Weidman decide to go into a bout with an opponent the caliber of Rockhold with serious injuries? Well, it's something he's done in the past. Against Alessio Sakara, Weidman had a broken rib. Weidman had to cut 32 pounds in 10 days to face Demian Maia on short notice. In a title fight against Lyoto Machida he had a broken hand. He won all of those times.
"I've taken situations like that and gotten through it and gotten Ws," said Weidman, who added that he could not wrestle or do any kind of footwork drills in his last training camp. "I thought it was gonna be another day like that and I was wrong."
Rockhold and Weidman talked a little bit of trash before the UFC 194 fight, but they had respect for one another. The two have had a good relationship for years. Things have changed, though, in the two months since the title bout. Weidman said he doesn't appreciate some of the things Rockhold has said to others in private. Rockhold has also said publicly that he was debilitated going into the bout, saying he was battling staph infection and was on antibiotics.
"I feel like he's cocky and I gave him a bigger head and gave him something to be even more cocky about," Weidman said. "It sucks for me. I've gotta suck it up. I got a chance to deflate the head. That's the goal. I have to go back in there and feed him some humble pie."
The two went back and forth quite a bit during the "Unstoppable" press conference and had a memorably intense staredown. Weidman knows that none of that stuff will matter. He'll get his opportunity to get back at Rockhold where it really counts soon -- in the Octagon.
"[The loss] really allowed me to grow in so many ways that I wouldn't have been able to grow otherwise," Weidman said.