MANILA, Philippines – Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Chris Weidman may have beaten Brazilian legend Anderson “The Spider” Silva twice, but that does not make him the greatest of all-time.
Weidman himself acknowledged that that he still has a long way to go before he can even put his name in the conversation, considering he has only fought 11 times inside the Octagon.
“I have a lot to prove before I consider myself the greatest of all time,” Weidman said in an interview with The MMA Hour. “That is one of my goals, my long-term goal. I have a lot of guys to beat before that.”
Silva, who won 16 straight UFC fights before losing to Weidman in July, has often been tabbed as the “greatest of all time” in MMA.
“Even if I beat the greatest of all time, (that) doesn’t make me the greatest of all time,” Weidman insisted. “I have to improve my resume. I’m only 11 fights in – I got a lot of work to do.”
Before he can be considered as an all-time great, Weidman said he still has to work on earning the respect of critics and fans who doubt his two victories over “The Spider.”
There are those who consider Weidman’s victory over Silva in July 2013 as a fluke, while some attribute his win at UFC 168 to bad luck as Silva broke his leg in the second round.
“I’m never going to win over the respect of certain people, and I can tell you one thing – after the first fight, I felt like I needed to prove even to myself that I’m better than him,” Weidman admitted.
“But after both fights now, being in the past I can for sure tell you that I’m the better fighter. I’m completely comfortable knowing I won both fights,” he stressed. “I just really feel like there was nothing he could do in both fights to beat me, to be honest with you.”
Silva is currently recovering from the broken leg that he suffered against Weidman, and the champion said he wishes nothing but the best for the Brazilian.
“If you put yourself in his shoes, he was known as the greatest of all time,” Weidman said. “I still think he should be known as the greatest of all time.”
Weidman believes that it will be very difficult for Silva to return to the UFC, however.
“I do want to see him come back, but it would be a very hard transition. Physically, it’s going to be tough, but it might be more a mental thing that will be a bigger struggle for him,” he said.
“It’s going to be tough for him. I wish him the best. I want him to come back and do great things.”