Chris Weidman stepped in to fight top middleweight Demian Maia Saturday’s UFC on Fox 2 event on just a week’s notice, but recently told the UFC that he isn’t worried about the short-notice and instead sees it an opportunity to jump up the division ladder:
“Taking the fight at a week’s notice wasn’t all that had a decision. I have an opportunity to gain a lot of recognition and get myself up to where I want to be. I was just about to eat a load of waffles when I got the call… I threw those waffles away. There was no chance I was going to pass this up, I want to get into the top five and here’s my chance. You only live once. I didn’t want to sit at home and watch some other guy fight on FOX in an opportunity I already had passed up.
I’m not worried about stepping up at all. I have a lot of respect for Demian’s jiu-jitsu, but if we go to the ground, I’m confident and excited to prove I can hang with my own BJJ. He’s going to have a lot to worry about, too, in this fight. I’m not the guy who’s going to be starstruck just because of the stage or the fact I am stepping up to this level. I believe in myself and I think I can go in there and submit him or stop him.”
Meanwhile, Maia has moved past the disappointment of not fighting Michael Bisping, who meets Chael Sonnen in the event’s co-headliner, and is embracing fighting the undefeated Weidman before he’s more experienced:
“I was disappointed to hear my fight with Bisping was off, but am happy to still be on the card on FOX. I’m ready to turn a negative into a positive, to control the part I can control, which is winning. A win over Bisping would have put me back in the world title picture, but Weidman is a dangerous young fighter and he knows a win over me put him in a great position.
Bisping actually apologized to me for taking the Sonnen fight, but I completely understand. I appreciated him saying that, but this is what we do and the sport we are in. Now I can’t think about Bisping. I have to think about Chris Weidman. I don’t know if it is possible for Weidman to be 100% fit after taking the fight at such short notice. I’m not sure, but I have to go in thinking with the mindset that he is 100%.
He is very dangerous, and I guess that I would rather fight him now than after he gets even better and more experienced. For sure, he will be very motivated. I am not going to lose at this stage though; I have worked too hard and expect a submission after a tough fight.”
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Pictured: Chris Weidman