If not for a rib injury, Chris Weidman may have been the one facing Khamzat Chimaev next.
Chimaev had been campaigning for a ranked opponent — both in the welterweight and middleweight division — for weeks until recent developments saw him land a December 19 date with #3 welterweight Leon Edwards.
However, leading up to that fight booking, Weidman was one of the few who offered to step up and face the surging Chimaev. The UFC would even offer the former middleweight champion the fight which he would go on to accept.
This guy Chimeav needs some humbling would love to do that. January I'm in! @ufc make this happen.
— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) October 16, 2020
The only problem was Weidman had a rib injury and his return timeline didn’t suit Chimaev or the UFC.
“They offered me Chimaev, I said yes,” Weidman told Submission Radio. “Then I started getting really excited about it, and then I said, well, so I got a little bit of a rib injury right now, a cartilage rib injury. And if you’re anybody who’s had that, it’s just a pain in the ass. You’ve got to be really careful with not reinjuring it or bothering it. So, I’ve kinda gotta work around that right now.
“So, I told them, I’m down to fight whoever at mid-January, but I really want that Chimaev fight. Just because of everyone acting as if everyone is scared of him and all that, and to me, I always want to fight the best guys. And so, if everybody thinks he’s that good, let’s see it. And I have a hard time imagining anybody throwing me around. In any of my losses, it wasn’t like a dominant win, it was, holy crap, out of nowhere, and fights that I was winning, other than my [Dominick] Reyes fight. And so, I just have a hard time seeing anybody manhandling me and throwing me around. I just can’t imagine that happening.
“So, I would love to see that if that’s what everybody thinks that he could do. So, that kind of excited me. But next thing I know, he’s fighting the number three guy at welterweight. … So, obviously my fight with him is probably not gonna be happening anytime soon, if I had to guess.”
Many observers believe Chimaev is getting pushed too hard and could get humbled by one of the best welterweights on the planet today in Edwards.
And should “The Wolf” suffer his first professional defeat at the hands of the Birmingham native, Weidman would no longer have any interest in fighting him.
“Most likely, if he loses his next fight, the interest would just be completely gone,” Weidman added. “Especially a guy with his record, with his experience level, which is really not much.
“The reason why I was taking that fight, was because there was so much hype behind him and so many people thought he was really good. But if he was to lose and be exposed by Leon Edwards, what’s the purpose of me fighting him?”
You can watch the full interview below: