Brent Weedman wants what everyone competing in Bellator Fighting Championships’s Season 6 lightweight tournament wants: $100,000 and a crack at champion Michael Chandler.
But heading into his 155-pound semifinal matchup with Thiago Michel Pereira Silva at Bellator 66 at the I-X Center in Cleveland, Ohio, on Friday night, Weedman is also fighting to secure a better life for his soon-to-be born baby boy. That provides a whole new incentive for the Louisville, Ky., native.
“Having my child on the way gives me a more focused [direction],” Weedman recently told Sherdog.com. “I have always been a very motivated person, but when you are feeding your family and you have a son on the way, it gives me a level of motivation I have never had before. I always joke that the fact that I have a baby on the way has given me superpowers. I feel unstoppable right now.”
Weedman impressed in his lightweight debut at Bellator 62, submitting J.J. Ambrose with the rarely-utilized Von Flue choke in their lightweight quarterfinal matchup. It was the Team Haycraft representative’s 18th finish in 19 professional victories, and Weedman believes that performance was just the tip of the iceberg.
“I feel like there is nobody out there that really knows what I am capable of. Even if you have seen tape on every single one of my fights, there is still a lot more that I can do,” he said. “I work tirelessly at improving and evolving as a fighter. I don’t want to be a tree. I want to be a bush. I want to have branches and a lot of options.”
The win over Ambrose stopped the first two-fight skid of Weedman’s career, and he admits the move to lightweight has him feeling rejuvenated.
“I feel so much quicker and lighter and more explosive at 155 pounds. I feel like I am at home with this weight. This is the weight I probably should have been at for my entire career,” he said.
Silva is an opponent with a similar penchant for avoiding the judges’ scorecards: The Brazilian’s split-decision verdict against Rene Nazare at Bellator 62 was the first time he had gone the distance in 10 professional victories. Despite his opponent’s apparent knockout power, Weedman is confident that he will have the advantage on the feet.
“If Thiago Michel punches me and I punch him, I think 99 times out of 100 my punch does a lot more damage,” Weedman said. “That’s why it’s important for me to counter him. I don’t have to look for that big power shot -- I just have to hit him or kick him. I’m going to have to make him pay for standing still long enough to try to hit me.”
The sooner Weedman can put Silva away, the better.
“I’m looking to finish Thiago Michel so I can get the hell home. I’m driving home that night right after the fight because my baby is due just two days later,” he said.
While winning the lightweight tournament is important to Weedman, fatherhood is something that transcends even the loftiest of career goals.
“Having a child and becoming a father is the only important thing I’ve done with my life,” he said. “I’ve never been more excited for anything in my life. I had a great father myself. Ever since I was a kid I enjoyed the father-son relationship so much that I always knew that I wanted to be on the other end of that. There’s a part of me that feels I have been waiting to have this kid since I was five years old.”