Freelance: UFC 205- What's Next for Weidman?

#5, 13-2, 0-2, 1, and 1.

These are the recent figures of “The All-American” Chris Weidman– #5 in the UFC middleweight rankings, a 13-2 (9-0 in the UFC) overall record in MMA, a two-fight losing streak, a neck injury, and one flying-knee that saw Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero move into title contention. Has Weidman’s career come to a fork in the road?

Minus one relative unknown Weidman was thrown to sharks like Alessio Sakara, Tom Lawlor, Demian Maia before becoming a one-time UFC middleweight champion against Anderson “The Spider Silva (with three defenses.) But even with winning the big one, the 6’2” Sara-Longo fighter’s success came with caveats.

In the first Silva fight it could be argued that he won the belt thanks to the Brazilian’s own cockiness and coming in with his hands down. The rematch left Silva with a shattered femur that bent like a Stretch Armstrong after a checked leg kick that put him on the shelf for the next four weeks or so until UFC 183 before his year-long suspension. Weidman would then go on to face aging fighters like Lyoto Machida (now 38) and Vitor Belfort (now 39.)

Where does he go from here?

It would seem incredibly fickle to discount all that the eight-time finisher (not including Silva’s injury) has done after just two defeats, even if they were back-to-back. But in both of those losses, in the eyes of those at, they have Weidman winning just the first round before being stopped himself.

Over almost a full 20 minutes in his title loss to Luke Rockhold, Weidman was in control for 4:32, just a minute shy of the challenger. He was then blown out of the water everywhere else (total strikes landed: 161-62, significant strikes landed: 126-48, with a submission attempt against him although they were a dead-even 50/50 on takedowns.)

At UFC 205 in his home state of New York, the Romero fight was even uglier. Weidman went 1 for 8 on takedowns, 12/47 in significant strikes landed (a 20 percent differential compared to Romero), landed just 16/54 total strikes, and had a total control time of 0:33 over a fight of about ten and a half minutes. Romero put up around four times that amount on the clock.

There was some heat between Weidman and would-be champion Michael Bisping ahead of UFC 199 with the Brit responding to the American after his injury, “Don’t be bitter. He hurt himself, simple as that. It had nothing to do with me. I didn’t hurt his neck. Did I hurt his neck? What the (explicative) has that got to do with me, pal?”

At just 32-years-old, Weidman might have a good eight left and anything can happen in MMA, including a surprising string of W’s, but don’t be shocked if Weidman remains an upper-midcard talent. At least for now it seems that the rest of what was once his division is passing him by.

Who should he fight next? Share your thoughts!