Flashing back to UFC Rio Rancho on February 15 of this year, Brok Weaver had just scored a victory in his promotional debut. But the post-fight press conference had all the jubilance of a funeral eulogy.
“A win like that is a loss in my book,” Weaver declared. “I don’t like to win like that. I’m a warrior, man.”
When an illegal knee from opponent Kazula Vargas had connected with the chin of a downed Weaver, the referee halted the proceedings just a minute into the fight. The disqualification of Vargas handed the lightweight newcomer a win, yet not only was Weaver unhappy with the outcome, but he sympathized with Vargas.
“I hold nothing against Vargas,” he explained. “The knee? He was in the moment. I’ve been in the moment. I’ve kneed people down. It happens sometimes with the adrenaline. It’s a big fight. He was trying to catch me on the way up. It happens, man. I don’t blame him.”
“Where I’m from, you can knee them if they’re on the ground. PRIDE rules where I’m from. Even worse than PRIDE…biting and pulling hair, I don’t care. A win like that ain’t no win. In my book he TKOd me. I would hate to lose like that.”
It was a refreshingly honest reflection from a fighter, displaying the character that he proudly credits to his native MOWA Choctaw upbringing.
“This ain’t no win to me, this is a paycheck,” he would continue. “This didn’t live up to the hype that I was supposed to bring and I’m very salty. I lost tonight, I just got paid to do it.”
It certainly wasn’t the intro he wanted to make, not after all the fits and starts it took to even get to New Mexico that night. Not after his impassioned plea to Dana White on live TV following his win on the Contender Series that scored him a UFC contract.
“My whole career has been a rollercoaster. Up and down. Crazy stuff happening. Definitely these last two years have tested my faith and my character as a man, but it’s helped build me as a man, build me as a warrior.”
They say time heals all wounds, but if the ensuing three and a half months haven’t exactly healed Weaver’s feelings about that night, they’ve at least softened his outlook.
“If I get took down this fight, I’m going to get up in the same way,” Weaver told reporters at the virtual media day for Saturday’s UFC Vegas card, on which he’ll face Roosevelt Roberts. “If he wants to knee me in the face and give me that win bonus and make me 2-0 in the UFC, I’ll take that win, too. I’ll just have to suffer through a headache.”
That’s the spirit.
“I felt like something was going to happen eventually. It was either going to be my first [fight] or later on in my career; some crazy stuff is going to happen. So I look at it this way: go ahead and get that crazy stuff over early, right?”
Right. But in a pandemic-stricken world, the crazy stuff has shown no signs of letting up. Now Weaver finds himself set to fight without fans at the UFC Apex, the very room where he won that contract less than ten months ago.
“It’s a very good venue, it’s home to me. I’m 1-0 there, I’m looking to make it 2-0 Saturday. I already got a good feeling. Everything is working out perfect.”
Everything except for the fact he’s drawn Roberts, another game DWCS contract winner who will be equally at home in the quiet confines of the smaller 25-foot Octagon. Weaver seems unfazed by any of this and speaks as if the fight has already occurred.
“This is my redemption fight. I didn’t get to show much [last time]. This time I’m coming out with a little anger. I’ve got to bring that dog to this fight and show the world what I’m made of. Everybody might think I’m a fluke, so I’ve got to show them I’m not.”
“I love it,” he says of the matchup. “Pressure busts pipes, bro. I don’t see that he likes pressure too much. So I’m going to see if he’s got that dog in him, too. I’m from the dirt. Streets and dirt? You tell me which one is harder.”