It’s been a tough five years for former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. After dethroning the former GOAT contender Anderson Silva in 2013 and defending his belt three times, he dropped the strap to Luke Rockhold in 2015 in what would be the start of a 1-5 slide punctuated by long injury stints. An attempted move up to light heavyweight lasted less than two minutes, but the NCAA championship medalist has high hopes for his next run at 185 pounds.
It’s still unclear who he’ll fight first. A fight against Jack Hermansson on May 2nd was scuttled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and The Chris recently revealed he’d accepted several tough replacement opponents including Yoel Romero and Edmen Shahbazyan before those matches failed to materialize as well. Whoever Weidman faces, he made it clear in an interview with MMA Fighting that he has his eye on current champion Israel Adesanya, and he thinks his performances against common opponents proves he’d be quite the challenge for the flashy “Stylebender.”
“Obviously, I’m coming off losses,” Weidman conceded. “I don’t want to talk too much, but it is a really good matchup for me. Obviously, I got knocked out by Yoel Romero, and he didn’t, but I engaged a lot more [than Adesanya]. His other fights, if you compare my fight with Kelvin Gastelum, I pretty much dominated that fight and then finished him. I finished Anderson Silva twice, and he had a close fight with him, too.”
“I just think matchup wise, everything is about matchups, and I think I’m a bad matchup for him. A guy who could get him down and control him. I’m very dangerous with submissions as well, and knock him out at the same time. I would love to get that opportunity, and right now I’m far away, at least in my eyes. I’ve got some serious work to do. But that is the end goal.”
Weidman’s winning performance against Kelvin Gastelum in 2017 proves he still has fuel left in his career’s gas tank, but the laundry list of injuries he’s suffered makes it hard not to question how much. Issues with his knees and vertebrae have plagued him since 2014, and a less than successful surgery on his hand took over a year to properly rehab.
You kind of need all of those body parts working well to climb a contender’s ladder as challenging as the middleweight one, but Weidman sounds ready to try it with his sights set all the way at the top. Let’s hope this run lasts longer than the one minute forty three seconds of his light heavyweight run.
What do you think, Maniacs? Is Chris still your boy or is this just too much to ask of the 35 year old veteran?