Weidman’s last Octagon appearance provided one of the most shocking moments of the year. With one of the first strikes thrown in his main card bout against Uriah Hall at UFC 261, the former 185-pound champion suffered one of the most horrific injuries in MMA history.
After throwing a routine leg kick, Weidman stepped down onto a brutally broken leg. The returning fans inside the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena certainly wouldn’t have expected that during their first event back since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
But despite suffering the grimace-worthy injury, Weidman’s attitude throughout his recovery and his desire to work his way back to full fitness has been praised by fighters and fans alike, including his brother-in-law and close friend Stephen Thompson.
“Wonderboy,” who was in Weidman’s corner for UFC 261, joined BT Sport’s Adam Catterall in expressing disbelief at how fast he is progressing. Thompson also revealed how devastating the night was for his whole family and team.
“It’s unbelievable is it not, unbelievable… Seeing him the night of the fight, I was in his corner, in the ambulance with him, saw his leg, saw how devastated he was; I was, the whole family was, the whole camp, the guys that were there. Like, what are the chances of that happening right? Gotta be one in a billion or something for that to happen. That’s only happened three times in the UFC and he’s been a part of two of them.”
Thompson added that Weidman’s recovery and the support he’s had throughout has demonstrated exactly why, along with Weidman, he keeps a small circle of family and friends.
“But, that said, it goes to show what kind of people you have around you. I’ve always kept a small, tight group of people around me and he’s done the same with family and friends, how that can change your mindset, how that can change you. They’re with you every step of the way, the good times and the bad.”
And despite not being present for Thompson’s UFC 264 fight camp, Weidman has still played an important role for “Wonderboy.” The two-time title challenger revealed that Weidman’s positive attitude following the incident and his determination to recover has inspired the 38-year-old heading into his bout with Gilbert Burns.
“To see him now, it gives me inspiration… So, he may not know it but going into this camp, he’s inspired me a hundred percent.”
While Weidman continues his long road to recovery, Thompson will be completing his last minute preparations ahead of his co-main event against “Durinho” this weekend. A victory for “Wonderboy” will extend his winning streak to three and put him in prime position for a shot at Kamaru Usman‘s welterweight gold.
Do you think Thompson can beat Burns at UFC 264?