In the early hours of Saturday morning, that time when people still consider it Friday night, in a room inside the TD Garden in Boston, out came a word athletes don't like to hear until they're ready to say it themselves. The "R" word.
And for the first time in such a public setting, with cameras and phones and keyboards recording it, "retire" was mentioned about Chris Weidman, the former UFC middleweight champion from Baldwin. He had just been knocked out in the first round by Dominick Reyes in his debut at light heavyweight at UFC Boston.
“What he said tonight didn’t sound to me like he’s considering retirement. So, it’s a conversation he and I definitely need to have,” UFC president Dana White said in his post-fight news conference that night. “This was his move up to light heavyweight which obviously didn’t go well for him, so maybe he goes back down to middleweight or he thinks about maybe retiring.”
On his social media accounts Tuesday, Weidman, 35, put any such talk to rest for the time being.
"I’m hearing a lot of 'you should retire comments' and I get where you are coming from based on the results of my recent fights," Weidman wrote. "It’s crazy because with a win over Reyes the chances of me fighting for the world championship were very strong. Now to be getting hit with the retirement talk is really a big swing for me to get used to hearing. I will tell you that I am def not ready to retire. I still love this and am very hungry to get back in there."
Weidman (14-5) has lost five of his last six bouts, a streak that began in December 2015 when he lost the title to Luke Rockhold.
"I believe I have the abilities to still be world champion. I know some of you are shaking your head and laughing at me when I say that," Weidman wrote. "Thanks for the motivation. This fight I was coming off a year lay-off, 2 major surgeries, and a weight class change. Way too much time out of the gym and I feel like that did play a role in this fight. The fact that I’m healthy right now and can get back in the gym is territory that I’m not used too. I will be back soon and I will look good doing it. Thank you everyone for your support and I’m sorry to let you down. This extreme low in my career will be part of my story and I will finish on top."