Despite all of his previous trips to the Octagon, former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman may be entering the most important fight of his career later tonight (Sat., Aug. 8, 2020) at UFC Vegas 6 live on ESPN+ from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Weidman, 36, will be taking on Russian veteran Omari Akhmedov in the co-main event. It may not be the high-profile matchup that Weidman is used to seeing over the past five years, but it’s a fight that will give the former UFC champion a chance to right his recent wrongs.
“I’m 1-5 last in my last six fights, which is something that everybody wants me to say, so there you go,” said Weidman during UFC Vegas 6’s virtual media day.
Weidman’s legacy in the sport is still tied to his two victories over the great Anderson Silva, but the New York native also holds wins over other Brazilian legends like Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida. Still, Weidman is just 1-5 in his last six trips to the Octagon, dropping each one of those losses by way of knockout or TKO. Getting finished at such a rapid rate usually leaves a fighter pondering retirement, but Weidman is chalking it up to the level of competition he has faced and the nature of the sport in general.
“It’s all fights that they’re top five guys that I was right in there with and there’s no shame in that,” he said. “They’re all guys I was doing really well against them, other than the (Dominick) Reyes fight. He got me, he kind of got me early, so I wasn’t able to get as much out of that as I’d like to.”
“And that’s sometimes how mixed martial arts works,” he continued. “So I just know what my potential is, and I know that I did everything right in training, and I’m just going to go out there and put everything on the line and we’ll see what happens.”
This weekend’s matchup with Akhmedov will mark Weidman’s return to the same middleweight division that made him a household name so many years ago. “All-American” had moved up to light heavyweight in his last bout and ended up getting knocked out by Dominick Reyes in under two minutes. Weidman hasn’t competed at middleweight since late 2018 so the cut back down was a little more difficult than usual.
“My last time making ’85 was 2018 so I just had a couple years of not having to keep my body weight, my body is not as accustomed to getting down quick like it was in the past. So I think that coupled getting a little older slows it down a little bit, as for how fast you can get it off and how quickly it can take.”
At the of the day Weidman still has enough left in the tank and a big enough name to make another run at the top at 185 pounds. Luckily, he won’t have to defeat top 5 talent to prove his worth. Akhmedov is certainly a tough fighter and more than capable of sending Weidman packing, but he gives the former UFC champion a real shot at turning things around and gaining some momentum for a successful run at gold in 2021.
“The division is definitely exciting right now, and I think my fight will speak for itself and it will put me right in the mix of all that pretty quickly,” said Weidman.
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