Chris Weidman finally got back in the win column Saturday night in Long Island. After a string of losses stemming from what some might consider bad luck, the former UFC middleweight champ was sitting at 0-3. A lesser known fighter might have already been shown the door, but Weidman remained an elite talent in the division. The Serra-Longo fighter was never really at risk of being cut (and would have survived a fourth loss, something few other fighters could withstand), but to stay relevant necessitated a win at UFC on Fox 25 Saturday.
Mission accomplished on that front. Weidman survived an early scare when Gastelum knocked him down, and pulled off a slick arm triangle choke in the third round to secure his first victory since his 2015 title defense over Vitor Belfort. After the victory, Weidman turned his gaze to champ Michael Bisping.
“That British bum who is crying who is crying in his freaking house right now” Weidman addressed Bisping in the cage after his win Saturday. “I’m back baby! I’m back! What’s up? Stop hiding from the real men. Let’s go baby! I am the champion and everybody knows it!”
Bisping and Weidman would turn to social media and escalate the feud, with Weidman poking fun at Bisping’s past eye injury, and Bisping firing off an angry response.
Your a fucking piece of shit. Mocking a fight injury. Well I pray you don't suffer the same. And fuck you pussy. When I see you, it's on.
— michael (@bisping) July 23, 2017
It’s a wonderful feud that sells itself. The British heel vs. the All-American good guy wrestler. The two would no doubt cut some great promos.
Now pump the brakes on the idea.
With one win in his last four, Weidman is nowhere near as “back” as he would like to be. Not to take anything away from his performance Saturday, but the fact that Gastelum was the favorite with odds-makers shows how unreliable the odds really are. Weidman beat an undersized middleweight in Gastelum, a man who would be competing at welterweight full time (and doing quite well) if he had his weight under control between fights. Gastelum himself is now talking a return to 170lbs. Not only that, but Gastelum had the All-American in trouble early in the fight.
With interim middleweight champ Robert Whittaker out with a leg injury, the temptation might be there to capitalize on this feud, but it really makes no sense at this point. Weidman needs more than one win to be back in the title picture, no matter how fluky some of his losses may have been. There are appealing rematches with Luke Rockhold (who meets David Branch in September), and yes, Anderson Silva, who lost twice to Weidman in bizarre fashion, putting an end to the Spider’s era of greatness. Should Rockhold get past Branch, a title eliminator between Weidman and Rockhold would make a lot of sense, especially since Bisping will first have to deal with Whittaker at some point. The much ballyhooed bout between Bisping and Georges St. Pierre could even fit into the schedule while Whittaker heals and Weidman and Rockhold sort things out.
With Yoel Romero now coming off a loss (which only seems to mean something some of the time these days) and Gegard Mousasi off to Bellator, the path for middleweight seems a lot clearer. Just don’t fast track the former champ to a fight with Bisping. It has its appeal, but now just isn’t the time.
Now should be the rebuilding period. A win or two more, and you can talk title.