By Jim Sheehan
Hofstra Sports Information
Hempstead, NY – Hofstra Wrestling alumnus Chris Weidman captured the UFC middleweight championship Saturday night by knocking out Anderson “Spider” Silva at the 1:18 mark of the second round of UFC 162 before a capacity crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In the most anticipated fight of 2013, Weidman, 29, denied Silva, considered by many to be the greatest MMA fighter of all-time, his 11th title defense with a left hook that sent him to the canvas and then pounced on him with several more punches before referee Herb Dean intervened and stopped the fight.
“I imagined being in this situation over and over again since I got to MMA,” a confident Weidman told the Fuel TV Post-Fight Show. “This was my goal. It just felt like it was my destiny. I felt it was my time. But, it still feels a little far-fetched to be sitting here with this belt on the table. It is an amazing feeling.”
Weidman, in just his fourth year in MMA, took the fight to Silva from the start and posted an early takedown of Silva, who taunted the Baldwin, New York native. While many said Silva lost the fight with his “clowning” around, with his hands at his side, Weidman said patience was the key and he was prepared for that tactic knowing that the former champion has sent past opponents to the canvas with a quick-striking counter attack. “I just knew little by little, I’m going to keep on him and when he’s sleeping, I’m going to get him,” said the new champion from Long Island.
UFC President Dana White gave Weidman credit in a post-fight interview on Fuel TV. “Hats off to Chris Weidman,” White said. “He kept his composure through everything, didn’t freak out, didn’t start goofing around back, kept throwing punches and kept trying to end the fight and eventually did.” But White also saw Silva’s tactics as detrimental to his title defense. “He (Silva) lost this fight because he got clipped with a hard punch to the chin while clowning around.”
In a post-fight interview, Silva, possibly in the disappointment of the moment, said he didn’t want a rematch with the new champion from Hofstra. “Chris is the champion now,” the 38 year-old Silva said. “I finish my work. I no more fight for the belt. I fight for the belt for a long time. I’m tired.”
But Weidman and White had other thoughts in post-fight comments. “(Silva) was an idol of mine,” said Weidman, who also earned the Knockout of the Night award. “I didn’t want to mention it in the camp. I looked up to him for many years. I just have to say all respect to Anderson Silva. I’ll give him an immediate rematch if he wants to do it.”
White, who earlier in the week said that there would be an immediate rematch if Weidman was to defeat Silva, dismissed Silva’s no rematch talk. “I guarantee it that there is nothing on earth that he (Silva) wants more right now than a rematch with Chris Weidman,” White said. “I think the Weidman (Silva) fight is the fight to do but I still have to talk to Anderson to see what is up. It would be the biggest fight in UFC history. This fight would be so huge. It would be crazy, crazy.”
Silva held the title since Oct. 14, 2006, when he defeated Rich Franklin. Weidman improved to 10-0-0 while Silva’s record now stands at 33-5-0 including 16-1 in the UFC.
Weidman was 51-21 in two seasons with the Hofstra Pride and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2007. He was also named to the Colonial Athletic Association’s Silver Anniversary Wrestling Team in 2009, along with seven other Hofstra grapplers.