Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White was highly impressed with middleweight champion Chris Weidman after he retained his belt by outpointing Brazilian challenger Lyoto Machida.
Weidman, for the first time in his career, fought until the fifth round, and weathered a rally by Machida in the fourth round to win a unanimous decision. He hiked his record to 12-0 and was given Fight of the Night honors as well.
"I thought Chris Weidman proved tonight that he is the real deal," White said in an interview with Fox Sports after the event.
White opined that Weidman was never really given credit by fans despite his two victories over former champion Anderson Silva.
"He needed this Machida fight, not just to prove to everybody that he is the man, but, he's never been (through) five rounds before. He’s never been pushed before," said White.
"You saw Machida hitting him with shots in the fourth round, and Chris took everything, and Chris came back," he added. "Machida came out and looked like he was ready to go in the fifth, and Chris shut him down and really started trading with him."
While giving Machida credit for his performance, especially in the fourth round, White noted that Weidman "looked unbelievable."
He also observed that Machida’s style may have played right into the champion’s hands.
"I just think Machida's style, the way that he fights and counters, he needed to fight inside the pocket from the first round to the fifth against Chris Weidman," said White. "But Weidman is so durable and strong, and every time he hits you with something, he takes a lot out of you."
Weidman has now successfully defended his belt for the second time.