Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman is on the comeback trail nearly two years since he suffered a gruesome break to his leg early into the first round of a fight with Uriah Hall in April 2021.
Weidman joined former opponent Anderson Silva in suffering leg break injury (which coincidentally occurred in a fight with Weidman) and later Conor McGregor, with McGregor later detailing on his own path to recovery that only the two aforementioned fighters and himself in the UFC truly know the effort which goes in to recovering from some of the most serious in-competition injuries ever seen in a UFC Octagon.
And like Silva before him and McGregor after him (who has been confirmed to fight Michael Chandler later this year), Weidman says that he will return to the UFC to continue what he started — but not before testing himself in a grappling competition next month.
“It’s been a long road,” Weidman told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour this week of his arduous recovery. “I’ve been enduring this injury and recovery. It’s been four surgeries, I’ve had infections, it’s pretty much been hell. I’ve been asked a few times to do grappling events over the years and it just never really works out time-wise.
“I did the [ADCC] back in 2009, I did the trials and then I got to go to the Abu Dhabis in Barcelona, Spain, and it was a great opportunity for me. I really enjoyed it and I always felt like I’d do grappling more often because I like doing it, but obviously MMA took over and that was what I’ve been focused on.
“But because my leg is still kind of healing, there are still some things standup-wise that I’m still dealing with, some issues with pain, and I was offered this Polaris grappling match, so I go, ‘You know what, this might be a good opportunity to get into a competition, get used to competing again, not just come in with complete ring rust in my next fight when I come back to the UFC’ I just thought it was great timing.”
Weidman added that he feels somewhere in the region of June would be a realistic target for his comeback date — and as for who it might be against, the ‘All-American’ says that he wants a ranked opponent so as to see where he really stands in the division after an extended absence.
“I would say someone in the top 15,” Weidman said. “Anyone from 10-15. I was like, 12 or something when I left, so somewhere in there. I’m not coming back to be a B-rated fighter or a gatekeeper or anything like that. I went through all this hell not just to come back and be like that. I’m coming back to try and get back what is mine, try to get that belt.
“After analysing all these guys and watching the middleweight division these last two years, with everybody at the top of the division, I don’t think there’s any reason I can’t beat those guys. So I’m excited to work my way up and get there.”