Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman was hoping that he would get the next shot at reigning champion Robert Whittaker. Whittaker himself also seemed to be on board with this plan.
Unfortunately for Weidman, the next middleweight title shot will instead go to Kelvin Gastelum — who he defeated in his last fight. Whittaker and Gastelum, both Ultimate Fighter winners, will coach the next season of the show against one another, and meet in a title fight thereafter. Weidman, meanwhile, is scheduled for a rematch with Luke Rockhold— the man who ended his title reign — at UFC 230 in New York.
Speaking on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on ESPN, Weidman shared what he was told by the UFC with respect to his desired title shot. Apparently, the promotion wasn’t confident that Weidman’s injured hand would be ready in time to fight Whittaker after The Ultimate Fighter.
“They were saying they couldn’t depend on me with my hand. They were worried about my hand not being ready in time,” Weidman said (transcribed MMA Mania). “They were initially saying they were going to (have me) fight at the end of the year show, and I was telling them I’d definitely be ready. And they said they couldn’t really justify putting money into the Ultimate Fighter show with the chance of me not being able to fight.”
While this is certainly an understandable worry from the UFC, Weidman says it still bothers him. There are a plethora of reasons that any fighter might not show up on fight night, after all.
“It kind of pisses me off because there are a whole lot of things that can go wrong with any fighter, so for them to put me in that predicament pisses me off a little, but what are you going to do?” Weidman said. “I mean you got Gastelum who hasn’t made weight, Yoel Romero hasn’t made weight and Whittaker has been injured, too.”
Do you think Chris Weidman should have got the next middleweight title shot?