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Chris Weidman looking at neck surgery in the next week or two, still expects to fight at MSG

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Now that Chris Weidman is on the sidelines for UFC 199 with a neck injury, the former middleweight champion has switched gears to correcting his problem so that he can compete again. Weidman has been visiting doctors in Pittsburgh and New York City to determine the best course of action to fix a herniation that’s been plaguing him physically and causing weakness in his triceps and forearm areas.

As a guest on Tuesday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Weidman said he has four bulging discs and two herniations, but only one of those has produced symptoms that are forcing him to take action. The process to get educated on the procedure has been the only delay, and he is still weighing which option to go with.

Though he expects to have surgery soon.

"It’s going to be sooner rather than later," he said, when asked when the surgery would take place. "The other thing I was running into is some doctors who were saying you’ve got to get this taken care of now, like ASAP, because the nerve is getting damaged every second of every day. And then other doctors were like, you know, there’s a good chance if you just wait another couple of weeks it just goes away completely. I don’t know what to believe. But looks like I’m going to be getting surgery in the next week or two."

Weidman was scheduled to fight Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 on June 4 in Los Angeles, but was forced to withdraw with the lingering injury. He said he had been on a course of painkillers for a couple of weeks, but finally underwent a second epidural to help with the discomfort, which was keeping him up at night.

Since then, the pain has subsided.

The 31-year old Long Island native described the procedure he is leaning towards, the Dr. Jho Technique, which he can have done in the city, or in Pittsburgh. He said the surgeon would drill a small hole in the front of his neck through his vertebrae to scoop out the herniation. He described the procedure as "low risk," and said it was not career threatening. It was none other than pro wrestler Kurt Angle who suggested Dr. Jho.

"We’ve been texting and direct messaging back and forth and he gave me a lot of great advice," Weidman said. "And I had a 45-minute conversation with Mark Coleman, because he got the same surgery done from Dr. Jho in Pittsburgh. So he was high on it. He walked right out of there feeling 100 percent. He had issues in his neck about two years."

Once the procedure is done, Weidman anticipates getting back pretty quickly.

"Literally I an get back to training pretty much right away," he said. "The only issue is I’ll have a scar. So they’ll clean it up, and I just have to wait for the scar to heal and that’s about it. I can go right to strength training and stuff like that right away. And I guess after four weeks I can go into full out everything."

Asked if he would still be on schedule to compete at UFC 205, which takes place at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12 — a venue that the New Yorker Weidman has long coveted to fight at — he said he would.

Just as he said it was hard for him to pull out of his rematch with Rockhold, who will now face Michael Bisping for the middleweight title at the Forum on Saturday night. Though some didn’t like the immediate rematch, fearing it would be a bad situation for Weidman to lose consecutive fights against Rockhold, Weidman himself never saw it that way.

"Honestly I can’t imagine losing this next fight, I just felt so damn good," he said. "That’s what sucks, is I just felt more ready than ever."

When asked if he had been promised a title shot upon his return, Weidman said he hadn’t.

"I mean, everybody’s just concerned about my well-being right now," he said. "Obviously I want to fight for the belt, but the main thing is I get my neck taken care of."

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