Weidman almost pulled out of Machida fight, wants Vitor Belfort next

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

After his second title defense, the UFC's middleweight champion is starting to open up a bit about his fears and desires while holding the belt.

It's good to be the king. Excepting, of course, that sometimes it isn't. Especially when, for the second time in as many attempts, you're faced with the possibility of cancelling your upcoming title fight. That's where current middleweight champion apparently found himself just a couple weeks out from his UFC 175 bout with Lyoto Machida. After initially delaying the fight, due to knee surgery, Weidman found himself undergoing an MRI for damage to his left hand; damage bad enough that it left him unable to touch his thumb to his fingertips and unable to punch with the hand for his last two weeks of camp. As we know, Weidman was able to compete anyway, but to hear him tell it on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, things were touch and go for a while. (transcript via MMA Fighting)

"I went through a two-day period where I was very nervous, and felt, you had mentioned my hand, and I thought I was going to have to pull out of the fight," he told Ariel Helwani. "I couldn't touch my thumb to any of my fingers. I couldn't grab anything, I couldn't squeeze a toothbrush, couldn't brush my teeth. I could do it with my right hand, but not my left. But you know, you just start figuring things out. Like, how bad this if I can't do these little things? So I kind of was scaring the crap out of myself."
...
"So they did the MRI and I had to wait on the results, and I was really just pissed off, and I was depressed," he said. "I was like, how am I going to deal with this? It was a bad situation. If it's not broken, obviously I'm not pulling out, but how am I going to train for these last two weeks. I can't even touch my fingers together and I can't obviously punch. It was a tough day with that. It was ligaments that were all messed up and sprained. So, I got cortisone injections, which they even told me probably won't help much because it's not really an inflammation issue. But I asked them to do it anyway, just anything that might help."

Also during his time on the MMA Hour Weidman spoke about who he felt should be the next challenger for his title. Surprisingly enough, especially given his past statements about the man's PED history, Weidman's answer was Vitor Belfort. It appears that the Serra-Longo fighter is looking to knock off all of the old guard before moving on to the younger contenders, and sees Belfort as the logical next step. Of course, it also doesn't hurt that Belfort is still very much a draw, more so than any other fight on Weidman's horizon. (transcript via MMA Fighting)

"I do want to fight Vitor Belfort. He's the guy who's been floating around the top for awhile now. He's another legend. I've kind of grew to enjoy fighting legends that I got into the sport watching and admiring. Obviously he has his drug test issue going on. I hope somehow he can figure it out and we can get him licensed and, I really don't know how that's working. But that's the guy I do want to fight."

Weidman had a lot more to say about Machida, and his estimation that Machida is the best opponent of his career, and a bit about his chances of fighting Jon Jones or Johnny Hendricks sometime down the line, so be sure to check out the whole show below.

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