The light heavyweight debut of Chris Weidman has finally been set. The former middleweight champion will take on #4 ranked Dominick Reyes in the main event of UFC on ESPN 6 in Boston on October 18th. The booking was revealed by ESPN earlier today with multiple sources confirming the matchup has been verbally agreed to.
After dropping four of his last five fights at 185 pounds, Weidman announced last month that he’d be moving up to 205 pounds.
“I’ve had back-to-back surgeries, coming off a loss, my weight’s going kind of high,” he told the press during a media scrum. “I’ve accomplished goals at 85, I’ve had that belt wrapped around me four different times. I really wanted to get it back and I’m not saying the door is completely shut on that idea.”
“I’m not saying I can’t get down to 185, but the weight cuts are tough. I want to see what my body is like without depleting it. I won’t be the biggest 205-pounder that’s for sure, but I don’t think I’ll be the smallest. I think I’ll bring things to the table that will be an issue for a lot of those guys.”
He’ll be facing a stiff test in Reyes, who is currently 11-0 with 5 wins in the UFC. But with great risk comes great reward: a win over Reyes would throw Weidman right into the title picture at light heavyweight, where the UFC needs fresh blood to keep feeding their suddenly super-active champion Jon Jones. Reyes was initially a candidate for the next “Bones” defense expected to go down in December before the Weidman booking came about.
Reyes has a case for the Jones fight next, and Jones wants to return on Dec. 14. There are new pending legal issues to deal with, of course, but that’s what he wants. Corey Anderson is currently in the running for that one but this is all very much in the prelim phase.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 23, 2019
The two fighters are already getting into it on Twitter...
Did you forget you had a controversial split decision win your last fight? You think u would deserve a title shot ? And about taking my head I look forward to making you humble. https://t.co/GHva7RY2Z9— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) July 23, 2019
Did you forget your last 4 at middleweight!? Controversial or not a win is a win. In fact, It gave YOU this opportunity so I'll just have my best performance against you (ex-champion). Then there will be no debate I am The 1. Don't confuse confidence with arrogance Chris. #mytime https://t.co/gkyzQecJkC— Dominick Reyes (@DomReyes) July 23, 2019
I have more UFC world title belts then you have UfC finishes. See you in Boston, Devastator. https://t.co/sLSYgznYHy— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) July 23, 2019
Weidman’s last appearance in the Octagon was a third round KO loss to Ronaldo Souza in November of 2018. Since then he’s been dealing with all sorts of health issues from a slow and painful thumb injury to ‘surprise neck surgery.’ Finally healthy and not worried about a brutal weight cut, it will be interesting to see whether the “All-American” can prove at 35 years of age that he’s still a contender, even in a new weight division.