This week, news surfaced that former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman would be stepping into the Octagon at UFC 210 in April to fight streaking middleweight veteran Gegard Mousasi in a highly anticipated showdown that will see one man climb the middleweight rankings, while the other will be forced to take a step down in competition.
Despite being on a 2-fight skid that saw him lose his middleweight championship to Luke Rockhold in 2015 before then dropping a 3rd round TKO to Yoel Romero at UFC 205 to end the year. While he may be on a 2-fight skid, Weidman is now moving forward and looking towards returning to the Octagon at UFC 210, and looking like his old self.
Chris Weidman spoke on The MMA Hour to discuss the situation:
“I WANT TO GET THAT BELT BACK AND FIGHTING THE TOUGHEST GUYS IN THE DIVISION IS THE WAY TO DO THAT,” WEIDMAN SAID. “I DON’T TAKE THAT LAST LOSS AND THINK I NEED TO BE SOME GUYS WHO AREN’T ON MY LEVEL UP TO GET MY CONFIDENCE BACK. I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I DID WRONG AND WHAT I HAVE TO DO DIFFERENTLY, SO I DON’T NEED TO FIGHT ANY GUYS TO GET MY CONFIDENCE LEVEL UP. I’M JUST AS CONFIDENT AS I WAS. I FEEL LIKE MOUSASI IS A GREAT FIGHT FOR ME TO GET BACK ON MY WINNING WAYS AND GET CLOSE TO FIGHTING FOR THE TITLE AGAIN.”
In regards to how the fight came about, Weidman said:
“I THINK THIS WAS THE ONLY REAL OPTION,” WEIDMAN SAID. “AT FIRST THEY MENTIONED WHITTAKER WHICH WE WERE COOL WITH, THEN THEY SAID MOUSASI WHICH WE WERE COOL WITH. IT WAS A MATTER OF WHEN WE WERE GOING TO DO IT, IT WAS A DATE ISSUE. I WAS STILL HEALING UP AND I DIDN’T WANT TO JUMP THE GUN AND SIGN UP FOR A FIGHT THAT I WASN’T GOING TO BE PREPARED FOR. APRIL 8 IS PERFECT, I THINK MOUSASI IS A PERFECT OPPONENT, HE’S BEEN CALLING ME OUT SO IT’S EVEN A BIT MORE MOTIVATING TO GIVE HIM A BEATING, SO I’M PRETTY EXCITED WITH HOW THIS WORKED OUT.”
“HE WAS IMPLYING ON TWITTER AS IF I TURNED DOWN A FIGHT WITH HIM,” WEIDMAN SAID. “WHICH WAS ONE OF THOSE THINGS LIKE I’VE NEVER TURNED DOWN A FIGHT IN MY LIFE, SO RIGHT AWAY MY EGO IS GOING IN LIKE THIS GUY WANTS ME TO START CURSING HIM OUT AND GOING NUTS AND TELLING EVERYONE THE TRUTH. I’M LIKE WHATEVER, LET’S GET THIS DATE AND GET THE FIGHT SIGNED. ONCE HE STARTED TALKING, I WAS LIKE THIS IS THE GUY I WANT, I’M GOING TO MAKE HIM PAY, BUT I DIDN’T FEEL LIKE GOING ON A WHOLE TWITTER RANT ABOUT IT. I JUST MADE SURE THIS FIGHT WAS THE ONE THAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/26/2017.