Former UFC middleweight champion, Chris ‘The All American’ Weidman has revealed he had accepted an offer to tackle uber-prospect, Khamzat ‘Borz’ Chimaev – until an untimely rib injury ruled the Baldwin native from a potential matchup.
The former 185-pound kingpin recently scored a unanimous decision win over the then-surging, Omari ‘Wolverine’ Akhmedov at UFC Vegas 6 in August, snapping a two-fight knockout loss in his return to middleweight.
Weidman, a staple of the renowned Matt Serra and Ray Longo Fight Team, had tested light heavyweight waters in the main event of UFC Fight Night Boston last October, dropping a first-round knockout defeat to two-time division title challenger, Dominick ‘The Devastator’ Reyes. The loss came after a prior knockout defeat to former Strikeforce middleweight best, Ronaldo ‘Jacaré’ Souza in a hugely-entertaining UFC 230 back-and-forth.
The 37-year-old has been plotting an Octagon return early next year, suggesting a potential outing against recent title challenger, Paulo ‘The Eraser’ Costa, also detailing how surging contender, Derek Brunson had turned down a fight with him.
Speaking with Kacper Rosolowski and Denis Shkuratov from Submission Radio recently, Weidman claimed he had accepted a proposed pairing with Chimaev for an event in mid-January, before explaining how the promotion had elected to pair perennial welterweight contender, Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards with Chimaev – after he had suffered a rib injury.
“They (the UFC) offered me (Khamzat) Chimaev,” Weidman said. “I said yes. Then I started getting really excited about it, and then I said, ‘Well, so I’ve got a little bit of a rib injury right now – a cartilage rib injury.’ And if you’re anybody who’s had that, it’s just a pain in the ass. You’ve got to be really careful with not re-injuring it or bothering it. So I’ve kind of got to work around that right now. So I told them, ‘I’m down to fight whoever at mid-January, but I really want that Chimaev fight,’ just because of everyone acting as if everyone is scare of him and all that. And to me, I always want to fight the best guys. And so if everybody thinks he’s that good, let’s see it.”
Whilst Chimaev has looked almost untouchable in quickfire victories over the trio of John Phillips, Rhys McKee, and a stunning seventeen-second knockout win over Gerald Meerschaert in September, Weidman doesn’t envision a one-sided affair with the AllStars mainstay.
“I have a hard time imagining anybody throwing me around,” Weidman explained. “In any of my losses, it wasn’t like a dominant win. It was holy crap, out of nowhere, and fights that I was winning, other than my (Dominick) Reyes fight. And so I just have a hard time seeing anybody manhandling me and throwing me around. I just can’t imagine that happening. I would love to ee that if that’s what everybody thinks that he could do. So that kind of excited me. But next thing I know, he’s fighting the #3 guy (Leon Edwards) at welterweight.”
The captivating Chimaev, who is currently unranked at both middleweight and welterweight, would fail to interest Weidman if he loses some of his shine in a loss to Edwards on December 19th. – with the veteran questioning why he would take a fight with him then.
“Most likely [the interest would be gone], if he loses his next fight, the interest would just be completely gone – especially a guy with his record, with his experience level, which is really not much,” Weidman told. “The reason why I was taking that fight was because there was so much hype behind him and so many people thought he was really good. But if he was to lose and be exposed by Leon Edwards, what the purpose of me fighting him?” (H/T Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie)