Chris Weidman’s middleweight title win over Anderson Silva will forever be one of the most iconic moments in the sport.
Weidman ended a near-seven year title reign for Silva when he knocked him out cold in the second round of their championship headliner at UFC 162 in July 2013 in Las Vegas.
The pay-per-view was also a lucrative success with 550,000 buys and a $4.8 million gate. But that wasn’t how the event was trending initially.
In fact, ticket sales and pay-per-view trending numbers were doing very poorly in the build-up to UFC 162 — so much so that UFC president Dana White even urged Weidman to talk trash to Silva in an effort to build intrigue.
“[Dana said] ‘You’re not promoting the fucking fight. Ticket sales aren’t looking good, pay-per-view numbers aren’t looking good already.’ … So I hear this and I was in my house and I was like a ghost,” Weidman said in a recent appearance on Grange TV with Robert Whittaker.
“I felt super white and anxious because I’m about to be someone I’m not used to being at all. I have to talk trash now. I’m like fuck, I hated this feeling. ‘Why can’t I go out there and fight and win. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to beat this guy. Isn’t that enough?’ It wasn’t.
“I came up with a tweet. I don’t remember exactly what it was. Basically, a little bit of talking shit, how I’m going to beat Anderson Silva. I copy and paste it, I text Dana. I’m like ‘hey, just so you know, I put this out. Hopefully, that makes you happy. There’s more to come.'”
— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) June 18, 2013
Whittaker, in disbelief, stated how the UFC was putting pressure on Weidman weeks before the biggest fight of his life.
Weidman agreed as he expanded a bit more.
“Dana goes ‘I don’t ever do this.’ I think he might have said ‘I’ve never done this.’ That’s how bad the pay-per-view was doing,” he added with a laugh. “And I’m like fuck. Anderson Silva’s the man, obviously. Now all the pressure’s on me. No one even knew me. I’m like shit, I suck at this game. I understand the business side too. I’m not going to come down on Dana. But that was the beginning of me having the balls to talk a little shit I guess.
“… Still, it was hard for me to do because I come from such a humble background. Wrestling background, you never talk trash. But then I continued because I knew it was expected. And I did understand the pay-per-views and all that stuff.”
You can watch the full interview below: