When Chris Weidman stepped inside the Octagon earlier this year to face then-UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, he was considered the betting underdog.

Now, when Weidman faces Silva next Saturday at UFC 168, he will assume the same role – this time with the belt around his waist.

Weidman stunned “The Spider” and ended his seven-year run atop the division with a second round finish. He talked about his status during a recent conference call.

“I wasn’t a favorite last time and I didn’t expect to be a favorite this time,” Weidman said. “He’s been around more, he has his wins, he’s done a lot for the UFC and mixed martial arts.

“He deserves to be the favorite.”

Weidman, though, still maintains plans to retain the title – and actually believes he needs the win to prove his first one wasn’t a fluke.

“I need to win this fight to solidify me as a champion and achieve my other long-term goals,” he said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself; this is just the same mentality as the last one.”