I’m a big Chris Weidman fan, always have been, so it was hard to watch the “All American” get put down by undefeated light heavyweight title contender, Dominick Reyes, in the UFC Boston main event last night on ESPN2.
I know there’s going to be a lot of talk about the skill of “Devastator” and rightly so, he’s a talented fighter with smooth striking, knockout power, and championship poise. But that doesn’t change the fact that Weidman got dropped by a fadeaway punch and finished by a fucking hammer fist.
Had it stood alone in the former middleweight champion’s career, then you could start to talk about the punch landing at just the right angle, or the precision of Reyes, but Weidman has now lost five of his last six, all by way of knockout. When are we going to cut the bullshit and admit that he’s in trouble?
What’s interesting to me is that some of the same people who lambaste me on Twitter with remarks like “Who are you to tell a fighter to retire” are the same folks who want the referee to be fired when a fight is stopped too late because a combatant absorbs “too much punishment.”
Weidman is now 35 with a beautiful family and has nothing left to prove in combat sports. He won the 185-pound title and defended it three times before the wheels fell off the wagon and trying to predict which knockout will leave him with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is like trying to determine which block will topple the Jenga tower. Could be the first, could be the last.
I doubt “All American” will call it quits because he’s too much of a competitor to accept that he doesn’t have anything left. And hey, this is combat sports. Risking your life is a job requirement, so it’s not like he’s going against company policy or anything. Sooner or later UFC President Dana White may have to step in, much like he did with Chuck Liddell. After all, not everyone can be like Michael Bisping.
Or maybe Weidman, who always looks competitive until his chin betrays him, will win a couple of easy fights here and there to keep the retirement talk at bay. It worked for Andrei Arlvoski, 40, and Alistair Overeem, 39, who have a combined 23 knockout losses between them. 10 for the former and 13 for the latter and yet there are no calls to have them benched.
Like Luke Rockhold before him, moving up a division did not prove that a tough weight cut was responsible for his middleweight woes. Maybe that can be turned into a positive, as it will force Weidman and his team to confront some of the issues, excuse (and hopefully ego) free. If not, expect more of these same results moving forward.
For more news and post-fight fallout from UFC Boston click here.