Chris Weidman: Finding the way back
Chris Weidman’s UFC career has had many ups and downs, but through it all he’s had the support of the fans. For better or for worse, he’s done just about everything there is to do in the octagon with the highlight being UFC 162 when he achieved the unthinkable and dethroned the legendary Anderson Silva. Off the back of his most recent performance at UFC 261, Weidman was faced with a completely new hurdle to overcome, one that would be fought outside of the octagon.
After returning to the middleweight division with a win in August of 2020, Weidman was matched up with highly ranked contender Uriah Hall. who he’d beaten previously in his third pro fight. With Hall riding a three-fight win streak, including a stoppage of the great Anderson Silva, this was a massive opportunity for Chris to get right back to the top of the middleweight division. Just 17 seconds into their bout, a heavy leg lick from Weidman was checked by Hall, causing instant damage to Weidman’s leg, stopping the fight instantly. Clearly in massive amounts of pain, the fans and his opponent watched on nervously as Weidman was helped by the medical team and stretchered out of the building to the applause of the fans.
The checked kick had snapped the former champions right fibula and tibia instantly and he was told he would need crutches to walk for eight weeks. After undergoing surgery as soon as possible, Weidman was told that his road to recovery would take six to twelve months before he could get back in the gym and that’s with the risk of potential long term effects.
In a moment of deja vu for everyone watching, the exact same thing had happened to Anderson Silva in his rematch with Weidman. A checked kick from Weidman had shattered his leg in the same places but this time, it was Chris on the opposite end of it. Despite having some tough recent years inside the octagon, outside of it the fans rallied around Weidman as he gave updates on his injury and the healing process. Launching his own YouTube channel, Weidman documented everything including his recent return to the gym just seven weeks after UFC 261.
He also started a podcast called “Won’t back down” with the most fitting guest of all for the first episode, old rival turned friend Anderson Silva. Weidman wanted to talk to Silva so he could apologise to him publicly for the way he reacted after their rematch and Silva’s injury. With Silva reaching out to him after UFC 261, Weidman thanked him for this boost of inspiration after all, Silva was able to overcome his injury and return to the octagon even if it did massively impact his career.
With plans of his own to return to competition when physically able, Chris Weidman’s road to recovery has been one that the fans have embarked on with him. With the release of his own podcast and the conversation with Anderson Silva following their twin injuries, Weidman’s career feels like it has come full circle to some extent. With a huge chapter of rematches and leg injuries closed, another one of recovery and support has opened. Make no mistake about it, Chris Weidman’s return to the octagon, if he chooses to compete again, will be a beautiful moment for everyone watching.