Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva III Nearly Happened This Year

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In only two days’ time, it will be the four-year anniversary of when Chris Weidman shocked the whole mixed martial arts (MMA) universe by knocking out a clowning Anderson Silva at UFC 162, changing the course of revered UFC middleweight division in the process.

After their UFC 168 rematch six months later where Silva broke his leg, Weidman went on to defend the title twice against two former light heavyweight champs in Lyoto Machida at UFC 175 and Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort at UFC 187. Four straight wins over true UFC legends in tow, it looked as if Weidman was on his way to becoming a legend himself.

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Fast-forward two years, though, and after a brutal beating from Luke Rockhold, a devastating flying knee from Yoel Romero, and a controversial TKO loss to Gegard Mousasi, and Weidman is suddenly fighting to merely be a top contender in the deeply talented 185-pound fray heading into his headlining bout against rising star Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of July 22’s UFC on FOX 25 from the Nassau Coliseum.

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During an appearance on today’s episode of The MMA Hour, however, Weidman revealed he almost had another big fight lined up this year after the UFC offered him a trilogy match at June 3’s UFC 212 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, after Gastelum of all foes was forced out for failing a drug test for marijuana. Weidman was still getting the injuries from his fight versus Mousasi checked out, and had to decline:

“The UFC was asking me if I would fight Anderson Silva. This was, I think three and a half weeks before that fight was going on. In Rio, and I’m just like ‘no’. I was still getting things checked out on my body, and going to different doctors.”

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And even though he’s on by far the worst run of his career, Weidman still wasn’t desperate enough to fight a man he’s already beaten twice before in his volatile hometown on super-short notice:

“I had just gone to Vegas, got it all checked out. I already beat the guy twice, I’m going to take a fight on short notice and head to his hometown to fight him? I’m like ‘yeah, that’s not happening. If you want me to fight Anderson again, bump it up a couple of weeks, if you want to do it in Nassau Colosseum or some other time, but I’m not going to do it on short notice.”

Weidman was ultimately booked versus Gastelum in his present must-win fight, yet it’s at least somewhat legitimate to wonder if Weidman would be better off fighting an aging 41-year-old superstar with huge name value rather than a surging 25-year-old knockout striker who’s looked nothing less than lethal in recent outings.

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If he does somehow get past Gastelum, perhaps a trilogy match with “The Spider” could be a possibility while the all-out mess of the middleweight division is sorted out when Yoel Romero meets Robert Whittaker for the interim belt at this weekend’s UFC 213 and then waits for injured champion Michael Bisping to finally return and defend the title against a real contender.