Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman is all set to make a remarkable comeback from a horrific broken leg on Saturday night at UFC 292, but the New Yorker, who has been a main card staple throughout his UFC career, admitted ahead of fight night that he feels a little slighted by his card placement for his return bout.
Weidman has been scheduled to compete on the preliminary card of the event in Boston this weekend, and the straight-talking former 185-pound champion told ESPN that he wasn’t too impressed with the decision to bury his bout with Brad Tavares so low down the card.
“It’s kind of disrespectful, to be honest,” he said.
“I’m not going to pretend like it’s not. Like, to be out for two years, with a broken injury – I broke my leg on the mats in the UFC on a pay-per-vew – first card ever since COVID, first fully-packed arena in Jacksonville. I put my body on the line, and then they put me on a prelim?
“I’m going to show that’s a bad idea. You know what? It probably works out better for everybody, at the end of the day, because it’s a little bit of motivation. But alright, mother-effers, you disrespect me like that? What, do you think I’m done? Do you think I’m here to just see how I feel? No. I’m here to make a statement.
“They say, I should be OK (with it), because there’s more eyes on the prelims. So it’s going worldwide, but I don’t know. That’s, I guess, the silver lining. But there’s more. There’s motivation there.”
The intrigue over how Weidman will look on his comeback is not lost on the former champion. But, despite all of the adversity he has had to go through as he battled his way back to fighting fitness, he said he genuinely feels at his very best as he prepares to face Tavares on Saturday night.
“I’m serious. I honestly feel like I’m in my prime right now,” he said.
“I needed some defeats I needed some adversity for me to learn from become an experienced fighter. I feel like I’m really legit and in my prime right now.
While Weidman may be somewhat irked by his low billing compared to his previous Octagon assignments, Saturday night’s event at the TD Garden represents a huge occasion for him and his family after he endured a long and painful road to recovery that will culminate in his comeback fight with Tavares.
It’s something he’s both proud and happy to be able to do, given everything that happened against Uriah Hall at UFC 261 back in April 2021.
“Man, I feel good,” he said.
“It kind of feels surreal, just because it’s been such a long-term time off. And for for a long time, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make it back. You know, there were so many ups and downs, tons of adversity, you know? Surgery after surgery, infections and whatever, it was kind of the furthest thing from my mind, it was about being healthy and being able to provide for my family and be there for my kids, play with my kids. That was the main thing.
“So for me to be here, I’m more grateful thing than ever, because I didn’t know if I was really going to be able to come back. So now it’s just… I’m happy to be here.”