UFC: Chris Weidman Believes He’s A ‘Bad Matchup’ For Israel Adesanya
Chris Weidman, at one point of time, was considered the best middleweight fighter in the world. The former UFC champion is the only fighter to have defeated Anderson Silva twice, scoring finishes in both fights.
After going 13-0 in his professional MMA career and defending his title successfully three times, Weidman lost the belt to Luke Rockhold at UFC 194 and has lost four of his last five fights since. Including his last outing to the Octagon at UFC Boston, where he lost his light heavyweight debut to Dominick Reyes.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, Weidman said he plans to move back down to middleweight.
“That’s the plan, I think. We’ll see, but I think I’m used to being there and my move to 205 [pounds] didn’t go my way at all. I really couldn’t take anything out of that fight. I feel great against 205 pounders, sparring them, and I know I could be right there with all those guys. But it just so happened in my fight [that] I got caught early. So it was hard to take anything out of it.
“I’m going to go back to 185, where I already know there’s a lot of questions.”
Back down at middleweight, the current champion is Israel Adesanya, who Weidman says he would love to challenge himself against.
“I think the guy’s super talented,” Weidman said. “He’s the new champion. He’s got the star power, and when I’m all said and done with my career, I really want to fight the best guys in the history of the middleweight division. I think I’ve done that, and Israel’s one of those guys I haven’t got to fight yet.
“He’s growing to become one of those guys. [I’m] seeing if he can defend his belt a couple of times, but I’d love to test myself against him. So whoever I’ve got to fight before that to get to a fight like that is definitely motivating.
Weidman believes Adesanya is a great champion but still has a lot of work to do if he wants to be considered amongst the greats of the division, such as Anderson Silva.
“Listen, he’s got a lot of work ahead of him for sure,” Weidman said. “Anderson Silva, he dominated everybody for years. He didn’t have wars like (Israel) has been having. He had a close fight with Anderson Silva, and this was years after I fought Anderson Silva. He had a very, very close barnburner fight with Kelvin Gastelum. The fight with Yoel Romero was obviously just terrible, but he’s exciting to watch.
“He’s got a good mouthpiece on him. He’s a smart kid. He’s fun to listen to him talk. I don’t know if he’s going to be beating Anderson Silva’s record or anything like that, but I think he’ll be looked at as a guy who’s like a legend in the sport when it’s all said and done – at least in the middleweight division.”
Although Weidman has been going through a bad patch, his confidence hasn’t dropped.
“Obviously, I’m coming off losses,” Weidman said. “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. 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.
Even though Weidman is aware of the fact that he’s not close to challenging Adesanya, he still believes that he is a ‘bad matchup’ for the current middleweight champion.
“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 [I could] 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.”
Clearly, Weidman is eager for his return to the Octagon and is humble enough to accept that he has to make his way back up to being considered a contender.
“That’s the game we’re in because the low’s the low – you know,” Weidman said. “Nothing you can do now. These guys think you suck because you lost a fight. When you win, you’re the man.
“But you’re always looking forward, because even a win, you’ll have your haters. It’s always your turn to shut them up. It’s the sport we love.”
Weidman was expected to face Jack Hermansson in a middleweight bout on May 2nd at UFC Oklahoma, before the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The former champion previously tweeted that he had also agreed to fight Edmen Shahbazyan and a rematch with Yoel Romero, before all UFC events in April were cancelled.
It is believed that the UFC is looking to rebook Weidman vs Hermansson, possibly on Dana White’s Fight Island.
Can Chris Weidman work his way back up to title contention again in the UFC middleweight division?