It was a reasonable, straightforward question for Chris Weidman. The UFC middleweight champion was taunted and yelled at in his first fight last summer against then-champ Anderson Silva and is still an underdog heading into their rematch this Saturday at UFC 168.
MMAFighting's Ariel Helwani asked Weidman this week if he felt Anderson Silva respected him. It is reasonable to wonder not only if Silva respects the new champ but if the rest of the fight world does so as well.
Weidman's answer was blunt and brief.
"You know what, I don't care. You know, all the arguing, everything is going to be settled on Saturday," said.
The fighter out of Long Island also claimed to not care that he is the betting underdog heading into UFC 168 against the long-time champ.
"No. I mean, it's good for my friends. They get to make more money on me," he joked.
"I'm fighting Anderson Silva. I expected the first time to be the underdog, and I expected this time to be the underdog."
For someone who says he doesn't care about the odds, Weidman was keenly aware of where the oddsmakers placed him. The "All-American" said he would have placed himself as a plus-110 underdog. He grimaced when explaining that they had instead put him at plus-135.
Weidman still has plenty pent up for Silva. The young champion knew he'd have to provide an immediate rematch should he beat "The Spider" but says his goals are still respectful of the all-time great's legacy. Asked if he wanted to force Silva into retirement with another loss, Weidman seemed sincerely opposed to the idea.
"No, not at all," he said.
"I don't want to be the guy who retires him. That's not my plan at all. I have a lot of respect for him. I want him to do great things after me. Even after I beat him again, I still want him to be known as the greatest of all-time. I don't think this fight changes anything."
Many fighters speak, and have spoken this week, about wanting to have their fight over with. Indeed, there's so much pressure on the shoulders of fighters that it must feel like a relief more than anything to be done with the whole engagement each time out. Chris Weidman, however, is not looking forward to the fight being over with.
Weidman is looking forward to the fight itself.
"I'm excited for Saturday," he said with assurance.
"Saturday night, I go out there and I do my thing, a lot of good things happen for me."
Weidman is eager to impose his will on Anderson Silva once more. The new champion believes that in their last fight, he was not nearly as good as he will be on Saturday night.
Last time out, after all, Weidman had sat out a year because of two surgeries and also was without a home for his family because his house had effectively been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. The Team Serra/Longo product wants to prove to the world once more that he's the best.
He believes he's ready for Silva's striking, for Silva's grappling and for the possibility of more Silva taunts and show-boating.
"I don't care," Weidman reiterates.
"Whatever he's going to do, he's going to do and I'm just going to be in his face that's it."
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- Martial Arts
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- Anderson Silva
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