After Kelvin Gastelum was forced off the UFC 212 card in Rio for a potential USADA violation in May, the UFC reached out to former middleweight champion Chris Weidman to see if he would be interested in a third meeting with Anderson Silva.
Only four weeks out from the Brazilian event when he was notified of the offer and still nursing some injuries from his controversial loss to Gegard Mousasi, Weidman decided that the trilogy fight wasn’t the best idea at the time.
“UFC was asking me if I would fight Anderson Silva,” Weidman saidon this week’s edition of The MMA Hour.
“This was about three and a half weeks before the fight was going on in Rio. I was still getting things checked out on my body and going to different doctors. I had to head to Vegas and get it all checked out.
“I already fought the guy twice and now I have to take a fight against him on short notice and head to his hometown to fight him? It wasn’t happening.
“I told them that I had no problem with fighting Anderson again if they wanted me to fight him, but I wanted to have them bump it up for a couple of more weeks so we could do it at Nassau Coliseum or some other place. I wasn’t just going to do it on short notice and take that risk.”
Weidman’s first meeting with Silva took place four years ago at UFC 162. Although he has contested many high-profile bouts since then, ‘The All-American’ recalled the gravity of taking on the formerly unstoppable middleweight champion.
“That was an awesome moment,” he recalled. “He was playing with me a bit too much and I got pissed and I decided that I wasn’t going to stop punching until I knocked (him) out.
“We had the American flags out, the Brazilian flags out and it was my first time hearing the ‘uh vai morrer’ (you’re going to die) chant. It was my first time with real fandom and people knowing who I actually am.
“It was a crazy time. It was a lot of focus to get to that. This was a guy that had beaten so many guys before they had even got in the Octagon and I was very determined to not let that guy beat me. It was a great time.”
Weidman still considers his knockout win over Silva the biggest of his career:
“I don’t know if I’ll ever have a win like that again. A win where I’m fighting the greatest of all time and everyone is counting me out. Me and the people closest to me knew I could do it, and I did it.
“To say I was going to go out there and finish him and then to go out there and finish him when people were laughing at me (was great). I was getting death threats.
“The guys who he was fighting before me, they didn’t believe in themselves. He was just playing with these guys and then he would find a way to embarrass them with some kind of spectacular knockout.
“That energized me. It lit a fire under me to be the guy to break that down.”