Chris Weidman spent a few minutes with SI.com last week:
SI.com: Now that you’re world champion, do your friends and neighbors on Long Island treat you any differently?
Weidman: The people who really know me treat me like Dr. Chris. [Laughter from several voices in the background.] I beat them in video games and make them call me Dr. Chris. [More laughter.] Nah, people treat me the same, make fun of me and stuff.
SI.com: You wouldn’t want it any other way, right, doc?
Weidman: Oh, yeah, keeps you grounded.
SI.com: You were notably confident going into the first fight. You were unwavering in maintaining that you could beat Silva. Now that you’ve done just that, is your confidence level even higher now?
Weidman: I feel it’s the same. It’s just that there are less question marks now. I know what he feels like in there -- how fast he is, how strong he is. I’ve felt that already. And now I don’t have to deal with the mystique of Anderson Silva, constantly having to tell himself, ‘He’s just human.’ I know he is. I know I can beat him.
SI.com: You’re also in a much better place yourself this time. You’re healthier. Your home isn’t in disarray.
Weidman: That’s right. As much as I wasn’t letting myself have any excuses for losing that fight, there were some question marks in my head. This time there’s none of that.
SI.com: Ever since the fight, Silva has spoken of you with much respect. Do you prefer having that type of relationship with an opponent as opposed to trash talking?
Weidman: Trash talking or not, it always comes down to pure competition. There’s nothing anyone can say to get me angry walking into the cage. I don’t go into a fight with hate. I wouldn’t perform as good if I did. I like to be relaxed, just go out there and win the competition.
SI.com: Part of competing against Anderson Silva, of course, is dealing with his mental gamesmanship. For the most part, you remained focused on your game plan. But there was a brief moment when you slipped into playing his game.
Weidman: Yeah, that was in the first round. I just wanted to let him know, “Hey, I’m not scared of you, pal, like the other guys who come in here all star struck. I’m in here to win. If you play games with me, it’s not going to work out for you.”