|Chris Weidman was in town for the lead up to UFC 221: Romero vs Rockhold.
Despite his busy schedule, the former middleweight champ gave Blitz Martial Arts magazine Editor Don Zander a moment of his time to talk all things MMA.
On UFC 221, Romero vs Rockhold:
I think Luke Rockhold will most likely win the fight, but Yoel definitely has a good chance of knocking Luke out with his striking, as always.
On the mentality of a champion:
It’s a very big test to become a world champion. However, when you win the belt you have to realign your goals for the first time in years, which makes it hard to be successful for long. Motivation and control of your time as a champion is critical. You have to learn to be very selfish.
On middleweight champion Robert Whittaker:
Since coming to the middleweight division, Robert Whitaker has done a great job and is on a good run. He’s a great guy and I’m happy for him and his success. Now if I had to fight the guy, my game plan would be to punch him in the face and take him down, look for submissions and lots of pressure.
On wrestling as a base for MMA:
I think wrestling is the most important base for MMA fighters because you can dictate where the fight takes place. Also, most American wrestlers are have been one on one competitors since they were little kids and learn the mentality to become successful. It also gives them an advantage when it comes to weight cutting because they have that experience from a young age. My advice for wrestlers moving to MMA would be to stay very open-minded. Create a mindset for yourself where you assume you know nothing. You need to be open to learning new skills, adapt them and work hard.
On Matt Serra, Renzo Gracie and BJJ for MMA:
Between Matt Serra and Renzo Gracie’s academies, there is no better place in the world to become great at jiu-jitsu practitioner. The level of BJJ there is world championship level every day. Now, Jiu jitsu guys need to of course focus on all aspects of MMA, but I feel the most important would be to focus on wrestling and being able to take guys down efficiently.
On optimal training, injuries and his comeback:
Do lots of drilling; don’t just focus on going live. Take care of your body! As for my injury, I just stay positive and work around the thumb as much as possible. I’ve been working a lot of lower body stuff for now. Hopefully I’ll be back in the early summer.
MMA is of course the best for self-defence. I would probably just use a throw to repeated noogies and belly slaps!
Read more expert opinions here.