Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman is happy to be back in action after recovering from a nasty leg injury, but isn’t thrilled with his placement on the card.
At UFC 292, Weidman (15-6 MMA, 11-6 UFC) will compete in the feature preliminary bout against Brad Tavares (19-8 MMA, 14-8 UFC). The event takes place at TD Garden in Boston, and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ABC/ESPN, and early prelims on ESPN+.
In his last appearance at UFC 261, Weidman suffered a horrific leg break against Uriah Hall. The former champion always vowed to make a return to action, and finally gets his opportunity nearly 28 months later.
Weidman is used to competing on main cards, typically fighting in big spots. So far in his UFC tenure, he has headlined seven cards and been in five co-feature bouts, in addition to three other main card slots. However, this weekend, he returns to the prelims for the first time since 2011 at UFC 139, when he defeated Tom Lawlor by submission in the first round.
“It’s kind of disrespectful, to be honest. I’m not going to pretend like it’s not,” Weidman told ESPN. “Like, to be out for two years, with a broken injury – I broke my leg on the mats in the UFC on a pay-per-view – first card ever since COVID, first fully packed arena in Jacksonville, (Fla.). (I) put my body on the line, and then they put me on a prelim?
“I’m going to show: That’s a bad idea. You know what? It probably works out better for everybody at the end of the day, because it’s a little bit of motivation. But all right mother-effers, you disrespect me like that? What, do you think I’m done? Do you think I’m here to just see how I feel? No. I’m here to make a statement.”
Weidman explained the road to getting back into fighting shape wasn’t an easy one. In fact, during his recovery, he wanted to be able to just be there for his family more than worrying about fighting again. Everything is in order now, and Weidman is ready to compete on another pay-per-view card, even if he did land on the prelims. Ultimately, just making it to this point was a big achievement for the former champion.
“For me to be here, I’m more grateful than ever because I didn’t know if I was really going to be able to come back,” Weidman said. “I’m happy to be here.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 292.