Chris Weidman has been shafted. After slowly climbing the ranks, he fights the greatest of all time and knocks him out silly. After that, where are the accolades? Where is the press? Holly Holm is still on a press tour after beating Ronda Rousey, while Weidman isn’t even the main-event of Saturday. When fans, media, whomever, talk about the great fighters in the UFC, Weidman is mentioned almost as an afterthought. “Johnson, Aldo, Jones, Rousey … oh, yeah, and Weidman too. I guess he’s good.”
The second time he beats Silva, what is the news? It all focused on two things: Silva’s leg breaking and the Rousey vs. Tate slaughter. Do the impossible twice and you’re still not even the lede.
He follows that with a breathtaking fight against Lyoto Machida. He faced one of the most notoriously difficult to prepare for fighters in UFC history, goes to war with him, proves he can fight through pain and push-back, and the news on SportsCenter? Rousey beating Davis in 14 seconds.
And even this past May, when he walked through Vitor Belfort like it was a Sunday stroll (for those who still take strolls on Sunday), the entirety of the show was centered on … Jon Jones; he was overshadowed by a guy not even fighting! The UFC pushed Cormier vs. Johnson into the main-event slot over Weidman vs. Belfort because the narrative surrounding Jones was so strong. Hell, the slugfest between Arlovski and Browne was more talked about.
And when Weidman did get mentioned, the focus was on Belfort’s drug use. There was more talk about what was in Belfort’s blood than there was the fact that Weidman had left adequate samples of said blood on the canvas for the NSAC to test.
All Weidman has done in his entire career is step inside a cage, look at someone, and beat the shit out of them. He’s the only undefeated male champion in the UFC. He’s reigned over the middleweight division for two and a half years. And he’s still an afterthought. And he tries (his awful shoes not withstanding). He’s personable, appears available for interviews, is clean-cut but not too clean-cut, and has some good stories to tell. This is a man who lost his house as a result of Hurricane Sandy, kept training, kept together a family, and went out and beat the shit out of Tim Boetsch. But, sure, let’s talk about that time McGregor touched Jose Aldo’s shoulder.
McGregor vs. Aldo is a gigantic fight and obviously is going to get unreal attention, so why not let Weidman headline another show? Why is he being relegated to the position of, “This will make the card look so much deeper and better”? As a fan, it doesn’t really matter. I get to see the fight either way. If Weidman fights on Fightpass of PPV, I still watch an amazing talent in his prime. But to a man like Weidman, he should be pushed as a higher profile star. It’s not like he’s been difficult with the UFC: I don’t hear him complain about Reebok, threaten to walk away, or get in trouble because of Viagra or cocaine. He goes out, beats the shit out of people, has entertaining fights, is utterly dominant, and it seems like he’s lucky he isn’t headlining the UFC 194 Prelims on FS1.
And now he faces Luke Rockhold. An fantastic fighter, one who is dangerous as hell, but isn’t that well known. A fight with Rockhold is the definition of no upside and all downside. If Weidman can’t get attention for beating legends, what will Rockhold gain him?
Come Saturday night, obviously no one knows who will be a winner or loser, but what I do know is that Chris Weidman won’t get the attention he deserves. And that’s a shame.
And don’t forget, all month long we’ll be featuring our 27 UFC Gifts for the Fight Fan in your life post just for you so you can make Christmas easier on yourself while also being a hero!