UFC 230 will be a night that will no doubt haunt former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman for quite some time.
Not only because he basically wasted away the third round of his fight with Jacare Souza after winning the first two rounds, but more so because he allowed Souza to gain a second wind and eventually got knocked out once again in front of his home state fans in New York.
Going into the fight, Weidman had a lot on the line.
For one, getting that much needed win in his home state and finally yanking that monkey off his back, and two and more importantly, getting back to contending for another shot at the UFC middleweight championship that has alluded him since losing it back in 2015.
But just like any devastating defeat, especially one of this magnitude for Weidman, your always left wondering what the next move will be.
As far as Chris Weidman and his team goes at this point, they themselves do not know.
When speaking on the Anik & Florian podcast most recently, Weidman’s long tenured striking coach Ray Longo bluntly addressed the his pupil’s loss at UFC 230, in which he described as a major 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.”
At least for most of the fight until the third round, Weidman looked really really good and was up huge on the judge’s scorecards, and had it not been for Jacare Souza’s explosive comeback knockout in the third round, Wiedman would have definitely got the decision victory.
Which is why Longo was not upset with referee Dan Miragliotta for not stopping the bout when it was clear Weidman was out, although Miragliotta get a lot of backlash from fans for letting the fight continue even when Souza himself was arguing with him about having to keep damaging an already finished Chris Wiedman.
In all, Longo says that’s how he would have preferred it to transpire.
“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.
Interestingly enough, Wiedman’s last four to five losses in the UFC have all ironically happened via KO/TKO.
The scary thing is, Weidman was actually winning all of those fight before getting hit with the fatal strike to end the bout.
Question you have to ask now is whether Wiedman’s chin is strong enough for him to still last in MMA.
Longo claims most of it attributes to Weidman’s weight cuts.
He then continued by saying that the weight cut for this fight was magnificent, and that he never noticed any issues with Weidman’s chin while training in the gym, and maybe a possible move up to 205 pounds in the UFC could potentially solve this problem that has hindered him as of late.
“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.”