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Morning Report: Chris Weidman’s coach calls loss to Jacare ‘a big setback,’ discusses possible move to 205 pounds

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

A lot was on the line for Chris Weidman at UFC 230. It was a chance for Weidman to earn the title shot he has been struggling back to since losing his belt in 2015. It was also a chance for redemption - to finally get a win in Madison Square Garden - and for the better part of two rounds, things looked great for “The All-American.” But in the third round, things went awry as Ronaldo Souza reached down deep and summoned a right hook that put Weidman down and, after some time allowed by referee Dan Miragliotta, out. It was a crushing defeat and now the former middleweight champion is left to figure out what his next move is.

His team, for one, is not sure what’s next for Weidman. Speaking on the Anik & Florian podcast recently, Weidman’s longtime striking coach, Ray Longo, addressed the UFC 230 loss, calling it “a big setback” in Weidman’s career.

“It was a tough one to swallow,” Longo said. “I felt really confident after talking to him in between the second and the third round that we were on our way to a victory. those things that blindside you like that are tough. But first and foremost, hats off to Jacare. Class act. He dug down deep. He wasn’t gonna get that decision and he found a way to win. . . Man, you zig when you should’ve zagged and that’s what happens. MMA is an unforgiving sport. . .

“I tell you, this is pretty big setback, because with a win over Jacare he was looking good. He already had beat Gastelum and I think that’s always gonna be a great matchup for Chris. Whittaker would have been the tougher fight but I actually think Gastelum is gonna beat Whittaker so I think he was looking good.”

Weidman was looking good. After two rounds, Weidman was up on the judge’s scorecards and would have won a decision but for Jacare’s explosion in the third round. That is why Longo isn’t mad at Miragliotta for not stopping the fight when Weidman was clearly done. Miragliotta caught a lot of heat from fans for insisting the fight continue on even while Jacare was arguing with him about having to hit the clearly out of it fighter, but Longo says that’s how he would have preferred it happen.

“I’ve always been critical of Dan but I do think he wanted to give him every last effort to win,” Longo said. “The magnitude of that fight was pretty big. In my mind I think he wanted to give him every last possible chance and I like that for my fighters. . . He didn’t get hurt after that too much because Jacare’s a gentleman, so at the end of the day, it all worked out.

“We’re in a f**king crazy sport, man. If you’re even worried about it, I wouldn’t get into this sport. I’m always gonna say this: getting hit in the head is just not good for you. Ever. It’s not good. It’s just not good. So this is what we live with. These guys know the risks.

But Weidman has been suffering those risks a lot lately. The former champion has lost four of his his last five fights, all by KO or TKO. Perhaps even more troublingly, Weidman was doing well in all of those fights before a fight ending strike changed the trajectory of the bouts. The question is now out about whether Weidman’s chin is still built for MMA. But Longo suggests that some of this may be attributable to Weidman’s weight cut. Longo says that the weight cut for this fight was spectacular but that he never sees issues with Weidman’s chin in the gym, so perhaps a move up to light heavyweight could resolve the big issue that has been plaguing his charge recently.

“Now he’s got a couple of things to decide,” Longo said. “A couple of people mention maybe moving up to 205. I really did think the weight cut went really well but who knows?

“. . . The more you get the weight-cut down and your brain’s not dehydrated. The brain is the last place to get the fluid when you rehydrate, so again, maybe 205’s a better fit because I don’t see this ever happening in the gym. Ever. . . So maybe 205 might be a place where he comes in stronger, more coherent, all those things.”

Fans have been calling for Weidman to move up to 205 pounds for years now and the recent success of Anthony Smith suggests Weidman could also thrive by moving up a division.


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2009: Fedor Emelianenko decapitated Brett Rogers at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers. Also that evening, Jake Shields won a unanimous decision over Jason Miller to claim the Strikeforce middleweight title.

2015: Vitor Belfort won his trilogy fight with Dan Henderson, knocking out Hendo with a first-round head kick at UFC Fight Night 77.


Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow!



Should Weidman move up to 205?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Yes. He could get a title shot there.
    (203 votes)
  • 39%
    Yes. It’s more healthy but he’ll still have problems.
    (612 votes)
  • 7%
    No. He’s just been unlucky.
    (122 votes)
  • 39%
    Doesn’t matter. His best days are behind him, regardless.
    (623 votes)
1560 votes total Vote Now

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