For Chris Weidman, life is all about hard work and striving to be the best in the world. Weidman (6-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) gets another opportunity to achieve that goal this Saturday at UFC 139 at the HP Pavilion, as he will face Tom Lawlor (7-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC).
This fight was supposed to be aired on Spike TV, but was recently put onto the Facebook portion of the card. Weidman was pretty bummed about the change.
"It's a bummer, but you know it doesn't make the fight any different to me," Weidman told me. "I gotta get in there and fight. But yeah, it definitely sucks for people who want to watch me."
More people watch the fights on Spike than on Facebook, and most people would feel like it's a lost opportunity, but Weidman has a feeling this will somehow end up on pay-per-view.
"Yeah, a little bit, but I have a good feeling it's going to end up on pay-per-view somehow. So, I'm trying to keep my head surrounded with the positive and just thinking to put on a great fight and better than Spike, it's pay-per-view."
Weidman is a prospect that people are really high on ever since his debut in the UFC in March, when he took a fight on two weeks notice and defeated Alessio Sakara. He followed that win with a submission of the night victory over Jesse Bongfeldt in June. How has Weidman dealt with his new-found popularity?
"I think just thinking about it right now, not like I dwell on it. I think one of the biggest things is that people don't see I'm doing this for no reason anymore, family, friends, whoever. Because when you're in smaller promotions and you're not making any money, it's kind of like an aspiring rapper or something. What are the chances of making it to the top? When you get the chance to prove yourself and you do it, now your not trying to justify why you're actually doing this. Putting your family through some hardships and not having money. I have my masters degree (from Hofstra), I can go out and get a job. So, why would I do that? You know, my hard work is paying off. It's a good feeling."
Will Chris Weidman one day be the UFC Middlweight Champion?
Weidman has been training with Ray Longo and Matt Serra since he started in MMA in 2009. He is beyond grateful for everything they have taught him inside and outside the cage.
"They help a lot. I'm with Ray Longo pretty much every day. I'm at his gym, working with him on standup, on cardio, strength, everything. He pretty much is my go-to-guy for everything, all my questions. He not only helps me out with my fighting, which is usually more important than everything else, but he's there, almost as a psychologist. We're always talking, we're close and for like mental confidence and stuff like that, he's huge. He's really good with that. So, he's a big help and Matt is awesome. A bolt of energy, he's confident, he's been to the top, he's been to where I want to head. He helps me a lot by putting me in the right direction and getting me to where he was already once at."
Lawlor has been saying to various media outlets that he will use experience to beat Weidman this Saturday. Weidman says Lawlor doesn't have his experience.
"They can say whatever they want. It doesn't really bother me. As far as experience goes, look at Alessio Sakara. He had plenty more experience than me. He was in the UFC forever. I didn't let that get to me. Tom Lawlor, he hasn't been there as close to as long. I won't let that get to me. The way I look at it is, I 've been wrestling my entire life. I've faced top notch competition for a very, very long time. Tom Lawlor doesn't have that experience. So, I'll use the mental side of being in those wars with wrestling, just as effective as I would have MMA."
You can listen to the entire interview with Chris Weidman here.
You can follow me on Twitter @fightclubchi.