At UFC 292, former middleweight champion Chris Weidman returned to the Octagon against a tough veteran in Brad Tavares. The community had last seen him snap his leg in horrific fashion against Uriah Hall. The injury added to a long list of surgeries and recoveries for “The All-American.” With Weidman’s best days seemingly already behind him, many wondered if he would ever make the walk again.
Weidman v Hall– image, Reuters
Chris has repeatedly expressed his belief in his ability to be champion once again. Although his determination is admirable, almost no one in the community realistically shared his belief. Since his championship reign, Weidman had already suffered a series of devastating defeats. Furthermore, at his current age, fans wondered what form he would show up in. Even without the complications from his latest injury, Weidman’s title hopes seemed bleak.
During the fight, Weidman’s leg proved to be problematic. The former champion looked understandably hesitant to kick or take kicks to his injured leg. Tavares wasted no time in punishing this weakness. Weidman attempted to use his wrestling strength, but Tavares easily defended his takedowns. Chris certainly had moments of success with his boxing, particularly in the second round. However, ultimately Tavares stayed composed and outworked Weidman to win the decision.
Weidman v Taveres – image, Yahoo Sports
Although Weidman showed tremendous courage to even step back into the Octagon, he looked clearly diminished. He looked noticeably slower than he had prior to the injury. As a result, he struggled to implement the wrestling skills which once brought him championship success. To his credit, he went the distance and absorbed heavy kicks. However, the fight all but confirmed that his championship aspirations were effectively extinguished.
Even in defeat, Weidman continues to believe that he can become a champion once again. As such, he has stated that he plans to continue fighting. UFC President Dana White, on the other hand, has urged Weidman to retire. Similarly, many fans and experts have also called for the former champion’s retirement. After all, Weidman has already reached the pinnacle of the sport. If he continues, he is likely to suffer even more losses and potentially risks permanent bodily injury. On these facts, one could easily conclude that Weidman should retire.
Chris Weidman – image, Patch
However, there is something to be said for Weidman’s championship mindset. After all, no one becomes a champion by giving in to voices of doubt. Weidman in particular has built a career off of overcoming the odds. He had to dethrone the legendary Anderson Silva to win his championship belt. So even if Weidman’s beliefs seem delusional, they deserve respect. And no matter what he chooses to do in the future, his legacy will endure forever.