After 13 professional fights without a single loss, and wins over the likes of Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort, former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman suffered his first professional defeat against Luke Rockhold. A month has passed since UFC 194, and Weidman has been able to digest what has obviously been a career-changing moment for him -- in a positive sense.
"It was just a great experience for me," he told Ariel Helwani in Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I could play back a million things in that fight I could've done differently, but I'm really happy I lost. I feel like if I would've won that fight, if I would've somehow figured a way to beat him up, I wouldn't have the opportunity that I have now to grow as a fighter and truly reach my potential."
"Now I feel like I have the freedom to change things that I've wanted to change for years. You don't want to fix things that aren't broken, so that kind of stops you from make changes. But now I feel more free than I've ever felt to change the things and do things that I wanted to do without feeling like I'm cursing myself, so I feel great. I'm real excited about the future. I feel like it's just going to create a whole different monster inside of me, and I'm excited to go out there and fight again."
According to Weidman, for the first time ever he lacked excitement during training camp, and the title loss was just the spark needed to light his inner fire again.
"I just couldn't trick myself into being extremely excited about it, for whatever reason," he said. "Being undefeated for that long of a time, you just don't feel a need to change things. So now I have that gift, to be able to just be free, and whatever I feel I need to do, I can do without second guessing myself."