The chase for the next shot at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight title seems to be only a two-horse race at the moment between Kelvin Gastelum and former division kingpin Chris Weidman.
After all, Robert Whittaker can’t fight “The Boogeyman” forever.
If you ask “All American,” though, there shouldn’t even be a discussion as to who gets to face Whittaker next, as he feels his win over Kelvin should be enough to trump his fellow 185-pounder’s case, despite the fact that it was his first win in two years coming off three straight knockout losses.
“Obviously for me that would be the best case is to fight for the title. Fighting Whittaker, that’s a guy I match up well with and that’s a guy I feel I can go out there and finish,” said Weidman on a recent edition of The MMA Hour, while declaring that he is the most decorated fighter in the division, who also happens to hold the most title defenses.
“I feel I am the most decorated guy in the division, I’ve had the most title defenses. I had a rough patch, I went undefeated my whole career, I lost one, happened to lose three in a row. My mind, I felt like it wasn’t in the fight spot,” he said. “I came back, got myself where I needed to be, got my mind back and I went out there and beat one of the top contenders, Kelvin Gastelum. I feel like I dominated the fight and went out there and finished him. I feel like you’re only as good as your last fight and I finished the other guy that we’re talking about in my last fight. I think I definitely deserve shot at the title. It will be a good fight.”
While no one can deny his impressive wins over the likes of Vitor Belfort, Lyoto Machida and Demian Maia, unless Anderson Silva -- who is arguably the greatest 185-pound fighter ever with 10 straight UFC title defenses to his name -- has been wiped from the record books, the Brazilian bomber is still widely considered the most decorate middleweight ever.
For the record, Chris has three straight title defenses.
Of course, Weidman did defeat Anderson in back-to-back fights, knocking him out at UFC 162 and then defeating him six months later at UFC 168 after Silva suffered a gruesome leg break mid-fight (see it). So while he can and always will hold that over “The Spider,” is it good enough to pass Silva as the best 185-pounder ever?
About that three-fight losing streak he went through prior to beating Kelvin, Chris wants you to overlook that at the moment and instead focus on his whole body of work.
“If you’re going to start doing that, you are picking what is the worst look for me. If you’re going to go back, look at my whole career. If you’re going to start with my first losses, it’s going to look bad,” expressed Chris. “But if you look at my whole career, I’ve fought only the best guys in the world since I’ve been in UFC and I’ve done pretty damn good, have the most title defenses and I went through a little rough patch and I climbed my way out of it, I didn’t have any rough patches before that,” he said.
“There’s a lot of losses in Gastelum’s career that don’t look so good. We have one common, we fought each other so that answers the question. I went out there and I finished him, he had the same opportunity and he went out there and lost to me, so...”
Kelvin has gone on to defeat former champion Michael Bisping and Ronaldo Souza since losing to Chris. “All American,” meanwhile, hasn’t been able to compete since defeating Kelvin due to a nagging thumb injury, but does expect to return by year’s end.
What say you, Maniacs, do you find any logic in Weidman’s thought process when it comes to his case for “The Reaper” title fight?