In an exclusive interview, UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman spoke with us about the importance of family, his lifestyle change since the UFC and his new partnership with the QALO ring company.
QALO, which stands for Quality, Athletics, Love, and Outdoors, are the makers of functional wedding bands and rings created for men with an active lifestyle. The company is set to release an Athletics Collection on June 14, and has partnered up with Weidman to launch the new designs.
“Chris is the true embodiment of everything QALO stands for,” says CEO, Ted Baker. “His devotion to family, work ethic, athleticism, and commitment to the community are characteristics that make Chris a standout partner for the launch of our Athletics Line. In the face of opposition, Chris has publicly stood up for his view on the importance of family, which we see as not only courageous, but also directly aligned with QALO’s ethos. We are extremely proud to call Chris family and share in his journey.”
Weidman was born and raised in Baldwin, Long Island and began fighting in his school’s playground as a child. As he grew older, he concentrated that aggression into a sport as he joined his school’s wrestling team and went on to win state championships. Weidman, now 31, reflects on his journey to success and partnering with a major brand.
How has your lifestyle changed since joining the UFC?
Chris: I feel like I’m the same person, because I have the same people around me. I’ve matured. I joined the UFC, I think, when I was 26 or 27 and now I’m 31. I had a couple of more kids, so that kinda thickens your skin. I’ve just matured as a person since joining the UFC. I also grew more confident with myself and now I have more money. Before I was in the UFC, I was living in my parents’ basement with my daughter.
Then, the next thing I know we bought our first house on the water in the same town that I grew up in. That house got hit by Hurricane Sandy, so we lost that house. We still own it, but we had to do a bunch of construction and move out. So now we live in a nice neighborhood, but we’re moving again to an even nicer house. I’m not struggling to pay bills anymore.
Tell us a bit about your partnership with QALO and how you got involved?
Chris: Someone, a couple of months ago, had shown me a QALO ring and I thought it was a really cool idea. I’ve already been through like 5 wedding rings and when you’re training 2-3 times a day you gotta take your wedding ring off. So I’d always misplace it and I had already lost my wedding ring 5 times, so I stopped wearing a wedding ring. When I found out that QALO reached out and wanted to work together to be partners, I thought it’d be a perfect fit. Obviously I want to wear a wedding ring and especially for my wife – it makes my wife happy. Now that I have the QALO ring on, I haven’t lost one of them because I just never have to take it off.
QALO calls itself a company that prides itself in embracing familial values. Can you speak about the importance of family to you?
Chris: Family is everything to me. I have 3 kids and a wife. I married my high school sweetheart. So I can’t remember being a single guy. I love my wife and kids and they’re extremely supportive of what I do. They inspire and motivate me to be a successful man. I couldn’t have done it without them.
What are some key moments that you’ve experienced during your career?
Chris: The biggest moment that I’ve had is when I fought Anderson Silva for the first time. He was known as the greatest of all time, he was undefeated and no one could imagine him losing. When I got into this sport, he was the champion in my weight class. So I always imagined fighting him and a way that I could beat him. So I finally got to the point where I was fighting him and I made it happen. I went out there and I knocked him out. Then we fought again and I beat him again.
What is the most important lesson this sport has taught you?
Chris: The second that you think you’re untouchable and that you’re the man and you have it all figured it is the second that you get put in your place. I just try to make sure to stay as grounded as possible and surround myself with the right people. Just try to keep life in perspective. I have a lot of goals in this sport, but I realize the more important things like family, faith, and things like that.
I heard you had a neck injury that’s preventing you from fighting. Any messages to your fans as your recover?
Chris: I’ll be back way better than you saw me in my last fight and way healthier than I thought. I guess this neck thing has been an issue for way longer than I thought and I’m really looking forward to being at one hundred percent for the first time in a while. I just wanna say thank you to all my fans in this sport!