Chris Weidman is not cutting to middleweight for nothing.
After just one fight in the UFC light-heavyweight division, the former UFC middleweight champion is returning to his natural weight class. He is set to face Omari Akhmedov at UFC on ESPN+ 32 inside the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada this Saturday, Aug. 8.
During the event’s media day on Thursday, Aug. 6, Weidman said he plans to stay at middleweight if victorious on Saturday.
“If I win, I am 100 percent staying at middleweight. I’m not just cutting all this weight for a one off with Omari,” Weidman said. “So if I win this, I’m looking to stay and fight some of the top tier guys at middleweight, reinsert myself into the title picture as quick as possible.”
After winning one of his last five appearances in the UFC middleweight division, Weidman lost to Dominick Reyes via first-round TKO at 205 pounds this past October.
Currently unranked in the middleweight division, Weidman is looking to work his way up the middleweight ladder once again. Weidman made his promotional debut back in 2011 and won five-straight bouts on his way to a title shot with Anderson Silva.
Weidman dethroned the long-time champion via second-round TKO at UFC 162 in July 2013. He defended the belt in a rematch, winning by a second-round TKO after Silva broke his leg at UFC 168 in December 2013.
Weidman defended the belt on two more occasions before losing the strap to Luke Rockhold via fourth-round TKO at UFC 194 in December 2015. The “All American” has won one bout since then.
Weidman is starting to feel the effects of his tenure at 36 years old. Making the 185-pound mark is not as easy as it once was.
“The weight cut has actually been very tough getting to the point of like fight week, trying to get the weight to where I would like it to be. I had a bunch of plateaus during training camp where the weight wasn’t coming down. I had to be super disciplined with food like never before. I used to go and have cheat meals kind of over the weekends and stuff like that, then get back to eating healthy and make weight at 185, I wouldn’t say no problem, but I‘d get my weight to where I’d want to on fight week,” Weidman said. “This time there was definitely some plateaus and there were no cheat meals, it was very disciplined eating and training habits.”