Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Chris Weidman: I Know I Can Shock The World Again

Despite his horrific injury last year, former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman is as hungry as ever to find success inside the Octagon.

In the immediate aftermath of the UFC 261 pay-per-view in April 2021, not many would have expected us to be in a position to discuss a return to fighting for Weidman.

At the event, which represented the return of fans after a lengthy spell behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Weidman ran it back with former rival Uriah Hall. While he emerged victorious in their 2010 Ring of Combat clash, the rematch was to end significantly less positively for the two-time Division l All-American.

After 17 seconds, Weidman threw the first and last strike of the main card contest. When he stood back and crumpled to the mat, it was clear all was not well. Weidman had suffered a gruesome leg break, reminiscent of the injury Anderson Silva suffered against him eight years prior.

A certain level of immunity to injury and blood comes with the task of being a fight fan. But you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t grimace at the sight of this one.

Weidman: “I Haven’t Slowed Down”

After multiple surgeries and intense rehab, Weidman is nearly back to full fitness. While he admits his leg isn’t 100% healed yet and still needs to develop enough strength to where he’ll feel confident pushing off it again, the 37-year-old is back sparring and open to discussing his comeback.

While some will undoubtedly question the motivation behind a return given the fact he’s already experienced championship status in the UFC, Weidman feels as good as ever and hasn’t lost his hunger and desire to compete.

During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Weidman suggested he still has what it takes to beat the best of the best at middleweight. The New York native, who knows a thing or two about upsetting the odds, firmly believes he can “shock the world again.”

“I honestly feel great man. I’m not coming back just to get a fight and show people that you can come back from tough things,” said Weidman. “It’s more that I really do think I’m in a very selective group of top guys in the world in this division, and I can beat any of those guys on any night.

“I haven’t slowed down somehow. I’m in there with some really good guys in the gym and if I start seeing that I don’t have what I used to be, and I don’t see myself progressing and getting better and better every day, man, I wouldn’t be doing this,” Weidman continued. “I’m not doing this for the money, I’m not doing this for the glory, I’m doing this because I love to train and I love to do this. I love to compete against the best guys in the world, and I know I can do it; I can shock the world again.”

Prior to his devastating injury, Weidman had rebounded from a two-fight skid by earning a unanimous decision win against Omari Akhmedov. He’ll no doubt be hoping to pick up where he left off in that fight when he returns to action, which he believes could be as early as July.

Given the recent championship crowning of 42-year-old Glover Teixeira, who dethroned 38-year-old Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267 last October, a late surge for Israel Adesanya‘s gold isn’t as hard to picture as it perhaps used to be.

Do you think Chris Weidman can return to his best following his injury?

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