Chris Weidman celebrates after recording a TKO victory over Anderson Silva during UFC 162. (AP)
The arena is booked. The date is set. And even though the new UFC middleweight champion, Chris Weidman has held his title for a mere 10 days, his Dec. 28 rematch with Anderson Silva can’t come soon enough.
“I’m excited to go out there and prove that what I did is going to happen again,” Weidman, 29, told SI.com in his first comments since UFC president Dana White on Saturday officially announced the rematch. “I’m the better fighter and I’m excited to look even better this next fight.”
Weidman (10-0-0) dethroned Silva (33-5-0) with a knockout 1:18 into the second round of their July 6 title fight. Silva taunted Weidman before the last blow by keeping his arms down and feigning injury after a series of Weidman’s blow. Silva’s antics sparked controversy ranging from erudite discussion about the sportsmanship of Silva’s goading of his opponents to harebrained conspiracy theories about fight fixing. The knockout ended Silva’s streak of 16 straight wins in the UFC, a record 11 knockouts and 14 total finishes.
Weidman wanted the rematch not only to snuff out any talk of subterfuge but also for a much more basic reason: Silva deserves it.
“I’m going to give it to him but because he’s going to deserve it. He’s been on the top for so long,” Weidman says. Though the wait to meet again, for the fighters, might feel just as long.
-- Melissa Segura