Former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman believes he could find similar success against Israel Adesanya as he did when fighting Anderson Silva.
‘The All American’ moved up to the promotions light heavyweight division for his last fight, but following a disappointing setback to Dominick Reyes, Weidman now plans or returning to the 185-pound division he once dominated.
“We’ll see, but I think I’m used to being there and my move to 205 [pounds] didn’t go my way at all. I really couldn’t take anything out of that fight. I feel great against 205 pounders, sparring them, and I know I could be right there with all those guys.” Chris Weidman told MMAFighting. “But it just so happened in my fight [that] I got caught early. So it was hard to take anything out of it. I’m going to go back to 185, where I already know there’s a lot of questions.”
Weidman (14-5 MMA) has gone just 1-4 over his past five fights at middleweight. During that stretch, ‘The All American’ has suffered knockout losses to Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero, Gegard Mousasi and Jacare Souza, while earning a submission win over Kelvin Gastelum.
Despite the rough stretch, Chris Weidman is confident that if he can put himself back in title contention, he has what it takes to dethrone reigning division champion Israel Adesanya.
“I think the guy’s super talented,” Weidman said. “He’s the new champion. He’s got the star power, and when I’m all said and done with my career, I really want to fight the best guys in the history of the middleweight division. I think I’ve done that, and Israel’s one of those guys I haven’t got to fight yet. He’s growing to become one of those guys. [I’m] seeing if he can defend his belt a couple of times, but I’d love to test myself against him. So whoever I’ve got to fight before that to get to a fight like that is definitely motivating.”
Due to Adesanya’s meteoric success, many fans and analysts have him pegged to surpass Anderson Silva as the greatest middleweight fighter of all time.
While Chris Weidman acknowledges that Israel Adesanya is a future legend, he does not believe that ‘Stylebender’ will be breaking any of Silva’s middleweight records.
“Listen, he’s got a lot of work ahead of him for sure,” Weidman said. “Anderson Silva, he dominated everybody for years. He didn’t have wars like [Israel] has been having. He had a close fight with Anderson Silva, and this was years after I fought Anderson Silva. He had a very, very close barnburner fight with Kelvin Gastelum. The fight with Yoel Romero was obviously just terrible, but he’s exciting to watch.”
Chris Weidman continued:
“He’s got a good mouthpiece on him. He’s a smart kid. He’s fun to listen to him talk. I don’t know if he’s going to be beating Anderson Silva’s record or anything like that, but I think he’ll be looked at as a guy who’s like a legend in the sport when it’s all said and done – at least in the middleweight division.”
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on May 2, 2020