Chris Weidman finally has the fight he’s been campaigning for since he soundly defeated Mark Munoz in brutal fashion last July. That’s a long layoff leading up to his UFC Middleweight Championship bout with longtime titleholder Anderson Silva, mainly due to shoulder surgery that kept him out of UFC 155 bout against Tim Boestch.
Weidman knows he is lucky to be fighting for the title this July 6th, and recently spoke up to say that he almost wasn’t the next in line for a chance to become the 185 lb. king. Back in February, Rashad Evans squared off with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156, and apparently Evans’ rumored fight with Anderson Silva was actually on the line. Weidman spoke up at yesterday’s UFC Q&A to describe the situation (transcribed by MMA Junkie):
"It's crazy how this fight ended up. I had shoulder surgery, and there were a couple of other contenders that were going to (possibly) have the shot – Michael Bisping, if he won (against Vitor Belfort in January), would've had the shot instead of me. ... There were a couple guys like Bisping and maybe (Alan) Belcher that were ahead of me. And then it got actually down to me and Rashad. I was with Dana White and Lorenzo (Fertitta) and they said, 'Listen, it's going to be between you and Rashad.' And Rashad ended up losing."
Quite the unusual and fortunate circumstances for Weidman, the accomplished wrestler and submission specialist who many already thought was the best threat to Silva’s reign despite the long list of contenders that got knocked off one by one. Weidman has had quite the up-and-down year in the form of his injury and losing his house to the storms on the East Coast. But he’s persevered, and appears very thankful for his huge opportunity come this July:
"It really is crazy how it ended up working out. Obviously, I'm very grateful for the opportunity. When I got injured I felt like something good was going to come from this."
Weidman is a young fighter with a ton of potential coupled with a clear head on his shoulders. He has the talent and skills to give anyone in his division fits inside the Octagon. And on top of that, all the cards have fallen into place for the Matt Serra-trained fighter. Will all that be enough to dethrone a legend this July?