In recent years, Chris Weidman has had a pretty rough go of things. The former middleweight champion lost his title to Luke Rockhold after throwing one of the most ill-advised wheel kick attempts in MMA history and since then, he has lost three of his last four fights, all by brutal knockout. So given his recent history, fans began calling for Weidman to make the move up to 205 pounds to rejuvenate his career and Weidman finally acquiesced. “The All-American” will take on surging light heavyweight contender Dominick Reyes at UFC on ESPN 6 next month, and after that, he says, he’s hoping to fast-track himself to the title.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for me to make a real big statement in the 205-pound division, as opposed to me taking a guy on that most people think I can beat and they’re not ranked as highly,” Weidman told Submission Radio recently. “This is a guy a lot of people are believing in and thinking he’s got a chance of fighting for the belt and possibly being a champion one day, and so for me to come along and go out there and have a good performance against him, I think it puts me right in the discussion at 205. So, I think it’s a great opportunity for me.”
But even if Weidman does get past Reyes, claiming the light heavyweight title is a whole other kettle of fish. The 205 pound division is currently lorded over by Jon Jones, one of the very best fighters of all time. But if there’s any man who could bring down Jones’ reign of dominance (aside from Jones himself) Weidman just might be the guy; after all, Weidman’s already upset one all-time great fighter.
“Being the guy that shocks the world, not once but twice, against what people think are the greatest of all time, and against someone that most people think can’t even be beaten,” Weidman said. “And that’s where Anderson Silva was when I fought him and this is where Jon Jones is right now, and so that motivates the hell out of me. That’s the legacy I want.”
And there’s never been a better time to target Jones. The light heavyweight champion has mostly cleaned out the 205 pound division but his reluctance to move up to heavyweight means Jones is in the market for new challengers. Not to mention the fact that Jones barely won his most recent fight, a tepid split decision over Thiago Santos at UFC 239, bringing about rumblings that perhaps the rest of the MMA world is catching up to the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
“I don’t think he’s looked that good, I don’t think he’s looked as dangerous,” Weidman said. “He’s not finishing, and I see there’s a lot of… he’s great, but I see there’s definitely holes in there.”
“I always believed there’s a blueprint to beat him. You see it a little bit more, but I always knew he’s beatable, and I think if it was a guy like me with power in the hands and also the wrestling that’s better and Jiu Jitsu. So, I think that’s really I take it to him. But no one’s been able to do that yet. He’s done a great job, he adjusts really well in there. So, that’s the goal, is to get in there with him.”
First things first though, Weidman has a date with Dominick Reyes. Reyes himself is also coming off a split decision win but prior to that, “The Devastator” had been barnstorming his way through the division. Weidman recognizes that his ambitions about Jones can’t distract him from the task at hand. That’s why he’s going to “make a statement” against Reyes and then see how the UFC wants to move on from there.
“It doesn’t matter the division, I’m comfortable against anybody inside that cage,” Weidman said. “And obviously Jon Jones being the champ, he’s the guy that I’m gunning for and he’s the guy I kind of always wanted to fight. When I was even 185-pound champion, I knew at some point we were going to fight, and so I see that at some point. I don’t know if it’s going to be directly after this next fight. I mean, I’d love for it to be, but I’m focused on Dominick. So, we’ll see what happens. I’m just focused on going out there and just make a statement, and we’ll see what the UFC wants to do.”
Fail. UFC owners at Endeavor bail on initial public offering after pulling stock set for Friday release.
Bellator Dublin Preview Show.
Coker teasing Cyborg and Barnett debuts.
RT Sport (Russian state news) breaks down the top threats to Khabib. Many of you will hate how low they rank Tony but personally I just think it’s hilarious they put Charles Oliveira at number 4.
Looking back at all the people who have completely changed their personality in MMA.
The MMA Vivisection. Breaking down all the fights at UFC Copenhagen.
My apologies, I am gutted , I can hold my head up and say with all honesty I gave this opportunity my all . I wanted this as bad as anything I ever wanted but for some reason it’s not my time right now . It’s time to rest and heal and come back stronger .
— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) September 26, 2019
ESPN 30 for 30 on Chuck and Tito coming soon.
Aaaaaaaand Tito is pissed about it.
I’m sure it’s very disappointing to see your work be chopped up and edited by Dana White…. this at best is a new version of “Bad Blood” what a shameful hack job! https://t.co/MAICscRwWf
— Tito Ortiz (@titoortiz) September 27, 2019
So many good feels.
There’s a lot of great stories this weekend, but my favorite is return of Nicolas Dalby. He has been through so much (depression, alcoholism) to get back to the UFC. pic.twitter.com/nEUWQTEQB6
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 26, 2019
Dustin. Thank you so much for that comment. It means a lot coming from you. Much respect and love to you and how you carry yourself. Bigger fan than ever before!
— Nicolas “Lokomotivo” Dalby (@DalbyMMA) September 26, 2019
I f*cking hate this.
i signed my contract waiting on your end @jakepaul let’s give the people what they want!
— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) September 26, 2019
Francis Ngannou the actor.
Ryan Bader the prank machine.
The times they are a-changing.
UFC Moscow poster.
John Gotti III (4-0) vs. Marcos Lloredo (6-5); CES 59, Oct. 25.
Shouts to Alex Lee for coving the ship whilst I was traveling.
Thanks for reading, enjoy the weekend, and see y’all on Monday.
Who wins this weekend?
5 votes total Vote Now
If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.