Ex-Champion Chris Weidman Gives Anticipated Update on UFC Return

Chris Weidman

Getty Chris Weidman

Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman is planning to return to the Octagon this summer following his gruesome leg break in April 2021.

“The All-American,” who is the man responsible for ending longtime 185-pound king Anderson Silva’s championship run, snapped his leg at UFC 261 courtesy of Uriah Hall’s check. Fast forward nearly two years of “hell” and Weidman is finally planning his MMA comeback. First, Weidman will grapple Owen Livesey at Polaris 23 on March 11.

On Monday, he told Ariel Helwani on MMA Fighting’s “The MMA Hour” that the grappling event would be a great tool to reacquaint himself with competing.

“It’s been a long road,” Weidman said. “I’ve been enduring this injury and recovery. It’s been four surgeries, I’ve had infections, it’s pretty much been hell. I’ve been asked a few times to do grappling events over the years and it just never really works out time-wise. I did the Abu Dhabi [Combat Club] back in 2009, I did the trials and then I got to go to the Abu Dhabis in Barcelona, Spain, and it was a great opportunity for me. I really enjoyed it and I always felt like I’d do grappling more often because I like doing it, but obviously MMA took over and that was what I’ve been focused on.

“But because my leg is still kind of healing, there are still some things standup-wise that I’m still dealing with, some issues with pain, and I was offered this Polaris grappling match, so I go, ‘You know what, this might be a good opportunity to get into a competition, get used to competing again, not just come in with complete ring rust in my next fight when I come back to the UFC’ I just thought it was great timing.”

Weidman Eyeing ‘June-ish’ UFC Return, Will See How Polaris 23 Plays Out

In Weidman’s eyes, a return to the Octagon in June is feasible. But, he told the host that he wants to see how his match with Livesey goes before committing to an MMA timeline.

“I think probably June-ish, something like that,” he said. “Somewhere in June. I’m going to wait until after this grappling match. Get that win, focus on that, and then after that I’m going to hit up the UFC and figure it out. I still have stuff I have to figure out in my leg.”

Weidman Said He’ll ‘Shock the World’ & Become a 2-Time Middleweight Champion

Weidman isn’t just returning to get some more fights under his belt. He wants to jump right back into battling someone in the top 15. And he told Helwani he won’t stop there as he plans to “shock the world” and become a two-time 185-pound champion.

“I would say someone in the top 15,” Weidman said. “Anyone from 10-15. I was like, 12 or something when I left, so somewhere in there. I’m not coming back to be a B-rated fighter or a gatekeeper or anything like that. I went through all this hell not just to come back and be like that. I’m coming back to try and get back what is mine, try to get that belt. After analyzing all these guys and watching the middleweight division these last two years, with everybody at the top of the division, I don’t think there’s any reason I can’t beat those guys. So I’m excited to work my way up and get there. …

“I think my skillset matches up really great with the top guys, and I’m excited to get there. I think there is a road to that. Beat someone in the top-15, and then maybe someone in the top-5 and boom, I’m there. But I’ve got a lot of work to do, and I’m excited for the challenge. I’m not putting myself through this crap to fight some guys I know I can beat or just have a big-name fight, I’m trying to shock the world again.

“I know there’s not going to be too many people who are going to be thinking I can come back and that excites me, when I’m being counted out like this.”

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