Chris Weidman is no stranger to experiencing pain over the course of his mixed martial arts career. But the compound fracture he suffered against Uriah Hall was unlike anything he had experienced before.
Speaking with ESPN's Ariel Helwani, the UFC star opened up about how much the injury has affected him:
"I've had 10 knee surgeries, three elbow surgeries, two neck surgeries, three hand surgeries. I've had pretty much everything you could possibly have. The amount of pain when I got up from having my leg up above my heart, when I was putting that leg down—not actually putting weight on it, but just getting on crutches and going to the bathroom—was so bad. The pooling of blood in my shin and my foot was just so terrible. ... I was literally sleeping all day long—the only time I was moving really was to go to the bathroom. And those moments were just terrible, literally like crying and pain."
Weidman's encounter with Hall at UFC 261 lasted just 17 seconds after his right leg was fractured while attempting a leg kick. It was an eerily similar situation to when Anderson Silva broke his leg while fighting Weidman in 2013.
The severity of the injury was immediately apparent to everyone watching the show.
Weidman shared photos of his leg before and after undergoing surgery, which showed how badly it had fractured:
The 36-year-old told Helwani he "was super optimistic" about his recovery based on how he bounced back from previous injuries.
"I've had 23 surgeries, so it's not like it's my first rodeo going through a surgery," he said. "But I didn't realize how different this was. When compared to every other surgery, this was a serious, traumatic thing that happened in my leg."
Veteran NFL quarterback Alex Smith suffered a compound fracture that led to an infection so bad that doctors briefly contemplated whether his leg would need to be amputated. Charlotte Hornets star Gordon Hayward said in 2017 his fractured ankle took a mental toll because he was unable to be on the court with his teammates for such a long time.
When it comes to any major injury, the recovery can often be the worst part. Beyond just the pain, the tedium of a prolonged rehabilitation is difficult for world-class athletes.
Weidman said he's hopeful of returning to the Octagon but acknowledged making a full comeback is "not going to be easy."