Chris Weidman isn’t exactly known for his trash talk, but ‘All-American’ says he was pressured into channelling his inner-Chael Sonnen and talk smack ahead of his middleweight title bout with Anderson Silva at UFC 162.
According to Weidman, UFC president Dana White called him up a few weeks out from the event and instructed him to make more of an effort to promote the fight.
“[Dana said] ‘You’re not promoting the fucking fight. Ticket sales aren’t looking good, pay-per-view numbers aren’t looking good already.’ … So I hear this and I was in my house and I was like a ghost,” Weidman said in a recent appearance on Grange TV with Robert Whittaker (h/t Abhinav Kini of The Body Lock MMA).
“I felt super white and anxious because I’m about to be someone I’m not used to being at all. I have to talk trash now. I’m like fuck, I hated this feeling. ‘Why can’t I go out there and fight and win. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to beat this guy. Isn’t that enough?’ It wasn’t.
“I came up with a tweet. I don’t remember exactly what it was. Basically, a little bit of talking shit, how I’m going to beat Anderson Silva. I copy and paste it, I text Dana. I’m like ‘hey, just do you know, I put this out. Hopefully, that makes you happy. There’s more to come.’”
Weidman, who entered the bout as a massive underdog, went on to shock the world with a second-round KO, becoming the first man in the UFC to beat ‘The Spider’ and hand the Brazilian his first loss in over seven years. The PPV generated 550,000 buys with a reported $4.8 million gate.
Weidman doesn’t want to cast White in a bad light because, according to him, their phone call was a one-off.
“Dana goes ‘I don’t ever do this.’ I think he might have said ‘I’ve never done this.’ That’s how bad the pay-per-view was doing,” he added with a laugh. “And I’m like fuck. Anderson Silva’s the man, obviously. Now all the pressure’s on me. No one even knew me. I’m like shit, I suck at this game. I understand the business side too. I’m not going to come down on Dana. But that was the beginning of me having the balls to talk a little shit I guess.
“… Still, it was hard for me to do because I come from such a humble background. Wrestling background, you never talk trash. But then I continued because I knew it was expected. And I did understand the pay-per-views and all that stuff.”
Weidman has definetely been more outspoken since his first title win over Silva, but the former UFC middleweight champion won’t be giving Conor McGregor or Colby Covington a run for their money anytime soon. Weidman last fought earlier this year at UFC on ESPN 6, where he was knocked out by Dominick Reyes in the first round. The former pound-for-pound great is 1-5 in his last six fights.