For New York Native Chris Weidman, UFC 205 Means Everything to Him
It took years of hard work, but MMA is officially legal in New York. Its “welcome party” will be UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden this upcoming Saturday. There are many factors involved in the move, but no one has worked harder than New York’s own Chris Weidman. The Baldwin native will face Yoel Romero (12-1) under the bright lights of New York City, just like he always dreamed about.
Weidman (13-1) campaigned for MMA to come to New York for years, after being banned in the late 90’s. He was one of the representatives the UFC had under their belt. This past March, MMA finally became legalized, and Weidman was one of the first fighters to break the news. This was a fight he didn’t have to knock out his opponent to win. Getting back into the shape of things to make the event was an entirely different battle.
The last fight “The All-American” had was at UFC 194 on December 12th, 2015 against Luke Rockhold. He lost the fight and his Middleweight Title, a championship he held onto for 888 days. He was supposed to fight in a rematch at UFC 199, but withdrew to repair a herniated disc in his neck. Michael Bisping took his place and defeated Rockhold, becoming the new champion. Months of healing and waiting later, he might finally get a chance to make a hope a reality. But first, all roads lead to New York.
Weidman later spoke to Dana White and former majority owner Lorenzo Fertitta, according to the Luke Thomas Show. This was about the time that the UFC was sold for over $4 Billion. As Fertitta was on his way out (along with matchmaker Joe Silva), he made sure to get Weidman on the card ASAP. While his entire team didn’t make the card, the goal to represent them and all of their hard work would have to do.
With a win, the 32-year old could be one step closer to a title fight against Bisping, who had a fantastic bout against the newly retired Dan Henderson. He has waited a long time for the opportunity to reclaim “his title”. At this moment though, Weidman will just breath it all in. Speaking to Newsday, Weidman stated:
“This is the biggest fight of my life. I’m fighting in Madison Square Garden. First time fighting in my home state, in front of my fans and friends and family. This is going to be a huge moment for me. I can’t wait to just go out there and capitalize on it and make the most of this moment.”
To say he deserves this moment is an understatement. When Chris Weidman steps into that octagon this Saturday, he should receive an ovation like no other (on par with what I’m sure McGregor will receive). Years of hard work has culminated in a moment he can share in front of family, friends and passionate New Yorker’s. It should be a very emotional moment that will result in a night to remember.
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