It’s been a rough road for former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight kingpin, Chris Weidman. After beating Anderson Silva (twice) for the 185-pound title, “The All-American” defended his title twice before losing it to Luke Rockhold in Dec. 2015.
Since then, there’s been a lot of red on Weidman’s record. He’s gone 2-5 after dropping the belt, suffering a horrific leg break injury in his last loss to Uriah Hall (watch it if you dare). It’s been more than two years since then and the 39-year-old has dealt with a lot of setbacks as he rehabbed that injury.
Now, he’ll return at UFC 292 this weekend (Sat., Aug. 19, 2023) inside TD Garden in Boston, Mass., against Brad Tavares, which is a relatively friendly match-up. That’s nice. Not so nice? UFC framing the 185-pound showdown as the “featured fight”on ESPN’s “Prelims” undercard.
“It’s kind of disrespectful, to be honest,” Weidman admitted during an interview with ESPN. “I’m not gonna pretend like it’s not. To be out for two years with a broken injury, I broke my leg on the mats of the UFC on a pay-per-view, first card since COVID, first fully packed arena in Jacksonville; put my body on the line and they put me on a Prelim? That’s a bad idea.
“You know what?” Weidman continued. “It probably works out for everybody at the end of the day because it’s a little bit of motivation. Like, ‘Alright, at first you disrespect me like that. What, you think I’m done?’ No, I’m here to make a statement.”
It’s worth mentioning again that Weidman isn’t just anywhere on UFC 292’s undercard. He’s in the featured bout right before the PPV begins at 10 p.m. ET (see full fight card here). There was a lot of controversy back at UFC 290 when UFC put Robbie Lawler in the same slot for his retirement bout. That’s just what UFC does now: it’ll put the elder statesmen who draw eyeballs on the free ESPN “Prelims” portion to try and draw more attention (and buyers) to the PPV show.
If Weidman wants to return to the PPV main card moving forward, he’ll have to put a stomp on Tavares in “Beantown.” Unfortunately for “All American,” bookies in Las Vegas don’t like his chances. Indeed, they have Tavares a -275 favorite to +215 underdog Weidman. Then again, Lawler was a similar dog on fight week ... and we saw how that went.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 292 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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