Non-title fight against Luke Rockhold at UFC 230 the only option for Chris Weidman
A fight and win against Rockhold could be the final piece of the puzzle that brings Chris Weidman back into title contention
After losing the UFC Middleweight Title to Luke Rockhold at UFC 194 back in 2015, Chris Weidman’s career has taken an interesting turn. The Long Island-born Weidman has been looking to avenge his loss, and he may just get his wish. A rematch against Rockhold is scheduled to take place at UFC 230 inside Madison Square Garden on November 3. ESPN was the first to report the potential fight.
While a title won’t be on the line, this is the perfect fight to make. Some might say that Weidman (14-3) deserves a title shot. Remember that towards the end. A scheduled rematch between him and Rockhold (16-4) at UFC 199 never took place due to Weidman dealing with a neck injury. Since he had to back out, Rockhold faced and lost the title to Michael Bisping. That squashed any sort of dream for another title bout.
The bottom line: Both fighters should fight one another, as both do not deserve a title opportunity.
First, we’ll get to Rockhold. After recovering from the Bisping loss, the 33-year old beat David Branch at UFC Fight Night 116, before getting KO’d by Yoel Romero at UFC 221. He is in a tough spot, considering all of the challengers that have leaped ahead of him in the middleweight division. Another win under his belt could bring him back into contention.
And then we have Chris Weidman.
After losing to Rockhold, “The All-American” lost two more bouts in a row. The first loss was a result of a vicious knee strike by Yoel Romero at UFC 205. The other loss was a controversial one against Gegard Mousasi at UFC 210. In the UFC, losing three fights in a row is never a good thing. He did rebound nicely and beat contender Kelvin Gastelum at UFC on Fox 25 (back in July 2017), in front of his home fans inside the Nassau Coliseum. After that, he was required to undergo surgery on his hand and has been out since.
With a lot of politicking going around in the UFC, it appears Weidman does not have that true connection to be considered a contender. There are others would even say he is not deserving of a title opportunity, at the moment at least. His stock needs to be raised more, even though he is considered one of the best fighters of the past few years.
A way to get back into title contention? Face the man who beat him in front of family and friends, and avenge that loss.
Nothing is even guaranteed, from a title shot after to a fight in general. The fight may be in jeopardy due to an issue on Rockhold’s side. Expected to face Alexander Gustafsson in a light heavyweight bout, Rockhold had to withdraw after re-injuring his leg. If he can heal up just in time for November, both should take the fight. After all they have been through, they deserve to finish what they started.
Chris Weidman will get a title opportunity down the line, but right now is not his time. While he has waited long enough, patience is the ultimate challenger. In the world of MMA, it is something not that many people can beat. If New York wants a war, a war is what they should get. Pride, title contention and revenge will be on the line, making for one dynamic story to tell.
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