The opportunity to fight at home was too much for Chris Weidman to pass up.
The former UFC middleweight champion and Long Island, N.Y. native will meet Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC on FOX 25 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on July 22, the company announced Friday.
Weidman (13-3) has lost three consecutive fights, the last one a highly controversial TKO loss to Gegard Mousasi at UFC 210 in Buffalo. Weidman has appealed the decision. While he previously indicated hesitance about fighting on another show overseen by the New York State Athletic Commission, he couldn’t say no to the offer to fight at home, especially with Mousasi still not under contract, which would preclude a rematch.
“I wanted that rematch with Gegard, but apparently he didn’t sign yet, so, I was asked to fight Gastelum,” Weidman said at the UFC “Summer Kickoff” press conference in Dallas on Friday. “It’s in my hometown, obviously, New York is a tough spot for me to fight after that last one, we’re under appeal now, but, I can’t say no (to a) main event at the Nassau Coliseum. That’s a dream come true. It’s going to be an awesome fight against a game opponent.”
Gastelum (13-2, 1 NC), meanwhile, will return after the completion of a 90-day suspension due to a marijuana-related post-fight test failure after what had been a one-sided stoppage win over Vitor Belfort in Brazil in March 11. Prior to that, Gastelum defeated Tim Kennedy in his return to 185 pounds.
“It’s been a headache to get back to where I am now,” Gastelum said Friday. “But now I’m here, fighting Weidman, you know, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to fight in the main event against an opponent like Weidman.”