Chris Weidman’s last fight ended in about as devastating a fashion as is imaginable in mixed martial arts (MMA), but he refuses to call it a career after such a sour note.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion’s birthday is in June and this year he’ll turn 38. Weidman admits to never liking the reality of aging, and with this serious injury he’s been forced to recover from, the clock is against him.
“I want to fight before I turn 38 in June,” Weidman said on MMA Fighting’s The Fighter vs. The Writer. “That’s my goal. I hate seeing the older age on the screen when I get introduced. I’ve always been like that, even when I was in my 20s. I don’t want to be 29, I want to be 28 for the next one. So I still have that in me a little bit, now I’m just way older. So if I could fight around early June, that would be great. Again, there’s a lot in the air and it’s very unpredictable.
“This is a very serious injury,” he added. “I’ve been through lots of injuries before, obviously, you know I’ve had 25 surgeries. This is very different. There’s a lot of moving parts. So I have goals when I’d like to fight but I’m not going to die over a month or two difference. I am coming back and I am coming back in 2022.”
Weidman’s last Octagon appearance came in April 2021 in Jacksonville, Fla., for a rematch with Uriah Hall at UFC 261 (watch highlights). Before the fight could even get started, it was over.
Their first encounter came 11 years prior on the regional scene and saw Weidman score a first round technical knockout victory. Without even landing a single strike of his own, Hall would get one back on Weidman in a mere 17 seconds as a checked leg kick went awry. Weidman suffered a compound fracture and is still on the road to recovery.
“I’m doing everything,” Weidman said. “My leg’s not where I need it to be yet, to be happy going into the Octagon against world-class guys and think I can be the best in the world. It’s not there yet just because of strength and a little bit of pain I’m still dealing in the lower leg while moving around.”
In Weidman’s mind, he expects he can reach the point he requires himself to be at in a month or two. Then, it’s back to what he’s done best in his life.
In 2022, the Baldwin, N.Y., native’s accomplishments seem to get unfairly forgotten. Less than 10 years ago, Weidman was an undefeated champion and the man who wound up dethroning Anderson Silva. Unfortunately for the “All-American,” he’s gone 2-6 since then, but the desire to compete is still strong.
“A lot of people out there are like ‘why are you doing this?’” Weidman said. “You already became champion. What’s the point of putting yourself back out there, possibly getting knocked out, possibly getting hurt again. People think I have other abilities to make money and why would you be doing this.
“Honestly, I’m not doing it for the money,” he concluded. “I’m not doing it for any other reason than I truly love it.”