In 2013, Chris Weidman was heading into a UFC middleweight world championship vs. Anderson Silva, coming off wins over arguably the best BJJ-based fighter in the league, Demain Maia, and inarguably on the best wrestlers, Mark Munoz. He won, the belt, knocking out the greatest striker in MMA history, Anderson Silva. In the immediate rematch, Silva shattered his leg.
Weidman successfully defended two more times, beating legends Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort.
But Weidman lost the title to Luke Rockhold in 2015, and has gone 1-5 his last six. All the losses were inside the distance, but to killers – Rockhold, Yoel Romero, Gegard Mousasi, Jacare, and Dominick Reyes. The win was over #8 ranked Kelvin Gastelum.
If you follow one writer in MMA, make it Damon Martin for MMA Fighting, who daily goes beyond transcribing video interviews. Martin reached out to Weidman, ahead of his fight Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC on ESPN+ 32. Weidman’s opponent is #11 ranked Omari “Wolverine” Akhmedov from Dagestan, Russia, who trains at ATT headquarters in Coconut Creek, Florida, and is 5-0-1 his last six.
“It’s a very tough sport. It’s a fickle sport,” said Weidman. “The fans are definitely tough. But it’s also kind of motivating. You want to remind them. I’m 1-5 in my last six fights. … In all those fights, other than my Reyes fight, I was winning the fight.”
“There’s definitely randomness who wins that night. Random things that happen. It doesn’t necessarily mean that person is the better person in the fight.”
“I honestly didn’t really hear of [Akhmedov] leading up. I was like who’s that? Even my manager didn’t know. … He’s on a nice win streak and he’s ranked in the top 15. It’s one of the first times I’m not fighting someone in the top five but he’s a tough kid.”
“I need to get a freaking W. I need to get back on my winning ways. I think I have a lot of advantages in this fight but when you’re in there, you never know what’s going to happen. … My goal is to go in there and show there’s different levels to this game.”
“A lot of my career I’m out of the gym, I’m injured and I’m blown up. This time, I really haven’t been out of the gym between fights. I’m excited to see that work out for me. … I really think I’m definitely still one of the best in the world but I’ve got to go out there and prove it and get a ‘W’ and start getting on a streak again. Hopefully, Aug. 8 will be the start of it.”
Make your prediction here UG – “The All-American” or “Wolverine”?