By Jason Kelly www.twitter.com/jaykaymma
UFC middleweight Chris “All American” Weidman has accepted the role of replacing Court McGee at UFC 131 on June 11. Weidman is pleased to take the fight, but it forced the undefeated contender to juggle some home issues.
“I bought a house and I actually had to move the closing date,” Weidman told MMA DieHards in an interview. “My closing date is June 8 and I’m going to be in Canada for the fight then, so I had to make some changes.”
Weidman will be in Vancouver, B.C., to scrap with Canadian native Jesse “Water” Bongfeldt after the aforementioned McGee was required to withdraw from the fight due to an injury he sustained in training. Weidman, a two-time Division I All-American wrestler, still really is not quite sure how the fight came about though.
“I’m not exactly sure what happened with that,” Weidman admitted. “Joe Silva sent an email to my manager then I called my manager (that) morning because my coach, Ray Longo, told me that Court McGee dropped out of his fight. So I said, alright I’ll fight. I’m still a little confused on how it went down.”
Weidman perceives this fight as one he can win and even though he fought last month, the “All American” enjoys taking another fight so soon after.
“You only live once and I’m trying to get as many fights as I can,” said Weidman. “That’s how you make money, and I don’t want to be 35 years old and regret not taking advantage of the opportunities I get while I’m young.
“A lot of guys are scared about losing, but you know, (expletive) happens. You got to be willing to put yourself out there.”
Not only does Weidman like frequently fighting to take advantage of opportunities, he also finds he stays in better physical condition if the fights come more often than not.
“I don’t like taking more than a month off,” Weidman said. “More than a month is way too long. I’m a professional athlete, I’m staying in shape and as long as I’m healthy I’m always ready to fight.”
Bongfeldt has been in this game for 10 years and he holds a record of 27-7-1, while Weidman sports an undefeated 5-0 record. The Canadian might have the edge in experience, but the “All American” competes more regularly and he believes that gives him the upper-hand, despite not knowing a lot about his opponent.
“I think (staying active) gives me an advantage, 100 percent,” Weidman admitted. “I don’t know much about him, but I have seen a couple of his fights from 2008. I’m not really looking into those fights too much because they were so long ago. I hear he’s a tough guy so I look forward to fighting another tough guy.”
Most UFC fighters have not had the chance to compete in Canada as there have only been three UFC shows in the country to date, but The Great White North is not unchartered territory for Weidman as a result of his wrestling past.
“I did an international wrestling tournament in Canada,” Weidman informed DieHards. “I think it was in 2009, so yeah I’ve competed up there before.”
Beyond Weidman’s wrestling credentials, he trains under the tutelage of former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and long-time MMA coach Ray Longo at Serra-Longo Fight Team in Long Island, N.Y. Their opinions weighed heavily on Weidman’s decision to take the fight as well as on how to train for it.
“I talked to both of them before I took this fight and they accepted it, they’re a big part of the decision,” Weidman said. “I’ll be training there for (this fight), but my manager has been talking about bringing a few guys in and I’m definitely down. The more the merrier, I love for anybody to come down here and workout with me.
“I’m pretty set with Longo and them, and I don’t think I’ll be visiting anywhere else during this camp, but I would love to have some people come in and train with me for this fight. I have no idea who, but definitely the more guys around me, the better I’m going to get.”
Weidman has been loyal to Longo and Serra since the beginning of his career and he respects everyone in the gym, but he finds it vital to have a guy like Serra around him to advance his career.
“It’s huge to be around him,” Weidman explained. “(Since) I am around him all the time I feel like I’m there with him so I don’t feel like I’m a total rookie. I feel like I get some of that experience from him just from being around him all the time. He’s constantly telling me what I should be expecting from small things to big things as far as being in the UFC and stuff like that. It makes me comfortable and it makes it easier for me to achieve my goal, which is to be a UFC champion.”
Aside from the phenomenal coaches and great training partners that assist in Weidman’s success as a professional fighter, he also has another essential person that has been there from the beginning.
“George Javian has helped me out a lot,” Weidman confessed. “He’s been there from the start and helped me with a lot of sponsors and companies.”
Weidman has a goal of becoming a UF champion, and it appears he is on the right path. After going 4-0 before his call up to the big show, the All-American wrestler defeated Alessio Sakara in his UFC debut and he already has his next UFC fight lined up for June. At this rate not even Weidman himself can predict where he will be by the end of this year.
“Wherever Joe Silva thinks I should be I’m down to be,” sad Weidman. “I really feel like I’m ready for the top dogs. I was prepared to fight anybody at this point and I happened to get Bongfeldt, which is cool with me, but I’m ready to fight anybody. You only live once and I’m ready to be the best I can against anybody out there.”
Weidman has the confidence to compete with anyone that comes his way, but the UFC middleweight also knows he has a lot to work on in the gym.
“In mixed martial arts you’ll never get everything down,” Weidman admitted. “There’s so many different aspects to this sport its ridiculous. There’s a million things I need to still learn, but I’m comfortable with the things I already know and I’m excited to keep learning.”
Weidman is in pursuit of UFC gold, and when the undefeated middleweight achieves his goal he may be buying a lot more real estate. He’ll just have to keep an eye on those closing dates.