After suffering a horrific broken leg in his last fight, Chris Weidman is targeting his return to action sooner rather than later.
According to the former UFC middleweight champion, his recovery hasn’t been easy but he’s already back in training with hopes that he will be able to book a fight by the middle of the year.
“I want to fight before I turn 38 in June,” Weidman revealed on The Fighter vs. The Writer. “That’s my goal. I hate seeing the older age on the screen when I get introduced. I’ve always been like that, even when I was in my 20s. I don’t want to be 29, I want to be 28 for the next one. So I still have that in me a little bit, now I’m just way older. So if I could fight around early June, that would be great. Again, there’s a lot in the air and it’s very unpredictable.
“This is a very serious injury. I’ve been through lots of injuries before, obviously you know I’ve had 25 surgeries. This is very different. There’s a lot of moving parts. So I have goals when I’d like to fight but I’m not going to die over a month or two difference. I am coming back and I am coming back in 2022.”
It’s almost impossible to fathom Weidman competing again this soon after throwing a kick against Uriah Hall at UFC 261 in April 2021 that saw his leg snap before he fell down in the octagon in agonizing pain. Weidman ultimately suffered a compound fracture, which means part of the bone in his leg actually came through his skin.
He underwent surgery the next day to place a rod in his leg to stabilize the broken bone but his recovery from the injury was just starting. A few months later, Weidman had to endure another three-hour surgery to repair a butterfly fracture on his tibia while having another rod placed in his leg to stabilize his fibula so the bone would reconnect and heal properly.
Nothing has been easy but as hard as the healing process has been, Weidman is starting to feel like himself again while training regularly in anticipation that he will fight again.
“I’m doing everything,” Weidman said. “My leg’s not where I need it to be yet, to be happy going into the octagon against world class guys and think I can be the best in the world. It’s not there yet just because of strength and a little bit of pain I’m still dealing in the lower leg while moving around.
“But it’s progressively getting better and I think in the next month or two, I’ll be to the point where I’m happy with it and then I can start like a pre-training camp. Get my body back into hardcore shape and see how the body deals with a camp. Like a mock training camp and then I’ll get into it and then I’ll probably call the UFC and try to set up a fight and get into a real training camp. I’ve been training hard.”
While he’s stayed relatively quiet during his recovery since having that second surgery, Weidman has been working hard through rehabilitation before eventually getting back into the gym.
The hard work has paid off because Weidman is no longer just aspiring to fight again but rather holding the belief that he will soon be competing alongside the best middleweights in the world in the UFC.
“I will just let you know right now I am looking really good in the gym,” Weidman said. “I’m training with some top up and coming guys. Some undefeated pro MMA guys in my weight class. I’m doing really good. I feel great.
“I’ve just got to get my body healthy and get out there again. I could walk into a fight tomorrow and probably win against a lot of the guys but I still want to be better with my leg. So I’m going to take the time to get my body there.”
Of course, Weidman knows some people won’t understand why he’s pushing so hard to fight again, especially with what he’s already accomplished in his career but that’s also exactly why he’s so hungry to get back into the octagon.
“A lot of people out there are like ‘why are you doing this?’” Weidman said. “You already became champion. What’s the point of putting yourself back out there, possibly getting knocked out, possibly getting hurt again. People think I have other abilities to make money and why would you be doing this?
“Honestly, I’m not doing it for the money. I’m not doing it for any other reason than I truly love it.”
Weidman stated from the day he left the hospital after having his first surgery that he would only compete again if he truly believed he could still fight at a championship level.
Nothing has changed in the weeks and months since making that declaration except now he truly believes that he’s nearly ready to prove it with his comeback in the UFC.
“If I’m getting thrown around the gym and I see a decline in my skill set as time goes on, I’m not sticking around,” Weidman said. “I know a lot of people say this and I don’t want to sound redundant but I’m just being as honest as I can. Not that I’m going to be fighting forever but right now it looks like my body’s going to give me another chance at this and I know I can fight at the highest level.
“What’s better for me than to create an awesome story? To motivate and inspire people. Everyone saw what happened to me, for me to come back and make a big splash, that really excites me. I’m pumped and I’m going to keep training hard.”