Despite everything he’s been through, Chris Weidman still has aspirations to regain UFC gold.
Weidman (15-6 MMA, 11-6 UFC) booked his first fight since suffering a horrific broken leg against Uriah Hall in April 2021, which required multiple surgeries. He had his first taste of action in March when he competed in a grappling match at Polaris 23, losing by unanimous decision.
Weidman, a former middleweight champion, returns against Brad Tavares (19-8 MMA, 14-8 UFC) at UFC 292 on Aug. 19 at TD Garden in Boston. But beating Tavares is not the only thing on Weidman’s mind. He plans on going all the way to the top.
“The goal for me making this comeback after everything I’ve been through is not just for this one fight and to be done,” Weidman said on his SiriusXM podcast, “Won’t Back Down with Chris Weidman.” “I got some big things on the horizon in my mind. I wanna come back and put on a great performance, completely dominating performance. And then the goal is to fight again on that New York City November card at Madison Square Garden.
“And just climb up the rankings, earn my way back to a title fight. I love the champion, Israel Adesanya. I love that matchup. That’s the goal, is to get there and to get a fight with him. I am on a mission to make that happen. And it’s not gonna come easy, but I’m excited for all the hard work and the discipline and everything it’s gonna take to get there. I know I have the tools, and I have everything it takes to do it.”
Weidman, 38, sees Tavares as an ideal comeback opponent. Tavares has fought the likes of UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, former champion Robert Whittaker, and former title challenger Yoel Romero, but has never been able to get over the hump and emerge as a top contender.
“I’m fighting Brad Tavares,” Weidman said. “Excited for this matchup. This guy is a kickboxer. He has good takedown defense. He’s been around the game for a really long time. He’s a veteran of the game. He’s like me. I don’t think he’s had the big fights like I’ve had, you know. He was like in the top 10 and stuff like that for a long time, but he was never a guy who was fighting for the belts and on top.
“So I think it’s a great fight to come back to, a guy who is dangerous enough that it gets me really training hard and makes me be super disciplined in the training camp. But also a good comeback fight, I think, as opposed to, you know, fighting a guy in the top five right away, which could have potentially happened.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 292.