Chris Weidman Taking Access to the Next Level with Latest Project
Chris Weidman will forever be known for what he accomplished on July 6 at UFC 162 in Las Vegas.
With the MMA world locked in on his fight with middleweight king Anderson Silva, the 29-year-old flipped the fight game on its ear when he landed a perfectly timed left hook that floored and dethroned the pound-for-pound great.
In that moment before what was difficult to imagine became reality, fans and media around the sport were stopped cold at the sight of what just happened. It took the Ray Longo-trained fighter less than two full rounds to do what 16 other men who faced "The Spider" under the UFC banner couldn't accomplish. And he has every intention to do it again.
In what Dana White is billing as the "biggest fight in UFC history," Weidman and Silva will step back into the Octagon to settle the score at UFC 168. The rematch will take place on Dec. 28 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the same building where the Brazilian king was felled the first time around.
During the lead-up to his first championship opportunity, the Long Island native's confidence never wavered. While defeating Silva seemed to be a mythical accomplishment, the pressure and mystique was absent for the challenger.
He knew he had the tools to get the job done the first time, and his confidence is such going into the rematch that he's taking a step no other high-profile fighter in combat sports has taken before with his latest endeavor, TheChampChallenge.com.
MMA is a sport where strategy, talent and preparation are woven into an intricate six-to-eight-week dance, and Weidman is allowing fans, or Silva and his team if they so choose, to gain full access to everything he's doing in the lead-up to their rematch.
Secrecy or disclosure be damned, Weidman is taking the hood off the machine to allow the world to see how the engine runs. Other athletes have taken part in behind-the-scenes features the likes of HBO's 24/7 or the UFC's own Primetime series, but with his "Champ Challenge," the middleweight titleholder is giving new meaning to the term "all access."
From the onset of his training camp, fans will get an intimate look at every aspect of Weidman's road to UFC 168. Every workout inside the gym will take place under the watchful eyes of multiple cameras, as they stream a live feed to the website throughout the 10-week training camp.
Whether it is grappling, sparring, strength and conditioning routines or his nutritional plan, nothing Weidman does to prepare for Silva will be off-limits.
Where there are plenty of moving parts in play to make this situation unique, perhaps the most interesting is what the project says about Weidman's approach to the rematch with Silva. Taking on an endeavor of this magnitude, all while settling in for his first camp as the 185-pound champion, shows Weidman's continued willingness to face unique challenges in order to take his career to the next level.
Four short months ago, Silva was the most feared mixed martial artist on the planet, and Weidman's steadiness served to take a chunk out of the Brazilian's legacy. Now, with that same focus intact, the newly crowned champion is upping the ante across the board in the sport by pulling back the curtain and letting the world in.
Although the fruits of his labor in the aftermath of one of the greatest upsets in UFC history have been his to enjoy, Weidman is putting this next endeavor up for the fans. The support he's received since becoming the middleweight champion has been overwhelming, and the chance to keep up with him every step of the journey is an option he's happy to provide.
"It's pretty much giving access to everything I do to the fans because I think they deserve it," Weidman told Bleacher Report.
"You get my nutritional plan for the day, every single day. You get my list of workouts and the videos of those workouts. My gym is set up for 24-hour access, and everyone who signs up will get to see everything I'm doing to beat Anderson Silva in this fight. It's a new and exciting step for me and the sport as well. It's not going to be easy. It is going to be a lot of work, but the fans have given me so much support, and I believe they deserve it."
Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.
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