UFC 205 was a massive event, a point in history that was more than just the UFC getting a new platform for big PPVs. It was the first major MMA event in New York in more than 20 years. It was the first major MMA event in the state for the modern era of the sport. Fighters who got a slot on that card got a chance to be a part of history. And for former middleweight champion Chris Weidman, it was also an opportunity to fight in front of a hometown crowd for the first time in his UFC career.
And while he got to fight and be part of the show, things didn’t exactly go as planned. Weidman fought Yoel Romero on the PPV main card and was likely sitting even at 19-19 after two rounds. Then he shot for a takedown to open round 3 and got clipped with the kind of flying knee you usually only see in Tony Jaa movies. On a recent episode of the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Weidman recounted the experience and his feelings afterward.
"I just felt like there's no way I'm losing. If I win this third round, it's over," Weidman explained on The MMA Hour. "And I shot a takedown. If you watch, if you're a technical person in the MMA game, when you fight a southpaw, you always put your head to the side of his front leg. You never go to the back leg. And every one of my takedowns I hit on him in the fight was to his front leg, my head to the outside of his front leg, which stays away from the danger of a knee or a heavy left hand. And the one time I shot to the wrong side, which I drilled a million times not to do, he came up with that knee."
After that, Weidman admits he was pretty down on himself, even if the rest of the experience was a great one. He went as far as to pin much of the blame for Stephen Thompson’s draw against Tyron Woodley later up the card on his own performance. “To see that, someone who you love get hit with a knee like that, and then you've got to make that walk next, there's no question it affected him,” Weidman said in reference to his status as Thompson’s brother-in-law.
"I thought I was on my way to winning the fight, and one mistake is all it takes, and that's the beauty of this game," Weidman said. "That's why everybody loves to tune in and watch these fights, because at any given moment, any given fight, any given fighters, anything can happen. A fighter could win nine out of 10 times, but there's always that one time. I'm not saying that's me and Yoel, but it's just, that's what makes this sport beautiful.
"I was on the tough side of it that night. UFC 205 was the first fight ever in New York. It was a dream come true for me, and obviously I was definitely hurt after the fight as far as my feelings. I was upset, but I realized the blessings -- just being a part of that event really was a dream come true, minus losing. The walkout, even fighting, I had fun the whole week. It was all great up until the loss, but even that, it's just a part of the game and you've got to get right back on that horse and get back out there and get a ‘W.' I just want to be done losing. I don't want to lose anymore."
As for what’s next? Weidman says he wants to fight in February and again a couple months after that, so he’s definitely not looking for an extended amount of time off coming out of this loss. Whether or not the UFC’s schedule can accommodate him is, of course, another matter.