- Michael Woods, Boxing
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Baldwin, N.Y., was a festive place early Tuesday morning, at least in Chris Weidman's neighborhood. Friends and neighbors took to his Long Island street Tuesday after 2 a.m., when he returned after his victory over the man widely regarded as the best mixed martial artist in the world, Brazil's Anderson Silva.
Some jubilant rooters had saved fireworks from their July 4 galas and sparked them up to herald the return of Weidman, 29, who won the UFC middleweight title with a second-round KO (punches) of Silva, 38, in Las Vegas at UFC 162.
"There were signs everywhere, and little kids were up late," Weidman told NYFightblog during a brief pause from his visit to ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters Thursday.
The 10-0 MMA'er holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Hofstra, and he said that came in handy because he recognized that Silva likes to try to burrow into a foe's head and make him question himself. Weidman saw that from the get-go at UFC 162 with Silva (now 33-5) dropping his hands, mocking him, allowing him free shots as if to indicate that he couldn't hurt him. Au contraire.
"That degree helps me think on how to be a winner, push out any doubts," Weidman said. "He tries to make you think you don't belong in the Octagon with him. It's mental warfare. I understood why he did it."
Weidman -- after appearing on two "SportsCenters," "First Take," "Highly Questionable" and "Coach & Company," and meeting folks at ESPN The Magazine -- told NYFightblog that he's keen on a rematch with Silva.
"I 100 percent want a rematch," he said. "It could happen in December or February, on the New Year card or around the Super Bowl. And if the oddsmakers make him a 2-to-1 favorite, again, to beat me? That's great. Then my friends can make more money."
He doesn't take the oddsmakers' call as a dis, he said: "I have enough motivation -- I don't need that. But people are going to say he didn't do this or that, or I got lucky. ... It's always something."
Weidman doesn't think he "exposed" Silva, but believes he simply did what he knew he could against a man he still regards as a "great" fighter.
"I think I'm better," Weidman said, simply.
Weidman pictured a rematch in New York at Madison Square Garden. Does he have a message for the pols who have resisted making pro MMA legal in New York state?
"Sheldon Silver, get on the ball," Weidman said, referring to the speaker of the New York State Assembly. "Put the vote on the floor, get it into budget. We need MMA; it's a sport, a collection of already already legal sports, we're all professional, let's get this going. I'd like the Silva rematch in New York, but we have to wait."