Freelance: Why Chris Weidman Should Retire if He Loses at UFC 210
The world of mixed martial arts will once again be talking about the industry-leading UFC in just a few days’ time when it puts on UFC 210: Cormier vs. Johnson 2 in Buffalo, New York. Heading into the event, Chris Weidman—a man who seems to be losing relevancy at an alarming rate—hasn’t had a win in the UFC in almost two years. Maybe it’s time to walk away.
The UFC’s Middleweight Contenders Are Sharks
“The All-American” was once at the top of the mountain, but that time was around four years ago. He had his doubters coming up through the ranks of the division, so much so that a memorable line after he won the title was “Stop doubting me.” However, the doubt persisted. Weidman took the strap from an over-confident, showboating Anderson “The Spider” Silva. Some fans believe that the only reason Weidman knocked Silva out was because Silva stuck his chin out too far with his hands at his sides.
In the rematch, a freak leg injury marred his run even more. Weidman checked a kick and Silva’s leg bent like that of a Stretch Armstrong doll. He then went the distance in a win over an aging Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida and by the time he got a first-round knockout victory over Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort, it felt like fans were just waiting for someone new to come along.
That man that came along was Strikeforce veteran, Luke Rockhold. Entering his title fight against Weidman, Rockhold was 14-2 with 12 wins by stoppage. Then Michael Bisping entered the fray after an eight-week training camp and became the current champion following a knockout win in just over three and a half minutes. Weidman is just simply not in the elite of the division anymore.
Add to that the fact that predators like Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (24-4, 1 No Contest with 20 finishes,) and Gegard Mousasi (41-6-2 with 34 finishes, a large portion of which came in the first round) and things do not look good. Another man in the mix is Cuban Olympic-medal-winning wrestler, Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero.
Romero knocked out Weidman during the UFC’s debut at Madison Square Garden in New York City (UFC 205) with a vicious flying knee that earned Weidman a 60-day medical suspension. Mousasi is his opponent for UFC 210 and the favorite per OddsShark, hovering around the -120 range.
Think of the Children
Weidman addressed his losing streak on a January edition of MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour. He said, ““I don’t have time to think about these things. I’ve got three kids to raise and I’m training…I’m feeling better than ever right now, based on my last two fights it’s hard to talk the talk, but my last fight I feel I was winning up until I made a mistake and he capitalized.”
The problem is that every fighter thinks they can go until the wheels fall off and it just gets sad to see them continue (Tito Ortiz in Bellator or BJ Penn fighting at all anymore.) Weidman made the ultimate point—he has children. So, he should get out while he still can. The UFC may not have any young guns like Sage Northcutt or Mickey Gall from Dana White: Lookin’ For a Fight competing at middleweight, but in general, this is a young man’s game.
The late Jordan Parsons of Bellator MMA was killed in a hit-and-run-incident, but it was posthumously revealed that the 25-year-old was in the early stages of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE.) CTE wears away at the brain, is caused by things such as blows to the head (combat sports, football, etc…) and has been linked to causing the depression and suicide several NFL players like Junior Seau.
Without suggesting directly that Weidman might have brain damage, it should at least be noted that Weidman has fought 11 times in the UFC, going the distance three times and totaling 55 minutes. While he has compiled numerous stoppage wins and won those full-length bouts, over the course of his UFC run, FightMetric, LLC reports that the New York native takes a punch to give a punch back. Weidman averages 3.09 strikes landed per minute but suffers 2.90.
For as great as he was as a fighter and an activist, no one wants to end up in the same physical condition as Muhammad Ali. While not everyone can be the Conor McGregor type, McGregor already has enough money to retire at just 28 years of age and could possibly make more millions in a boxing super-fight against Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. Expect shorter careers to eventually become the norm.
He’s Contributed Enough
Chris Weidman may only have two blemishes on his record thus far, but it’s the fact that they are back to back in connection with how the fights ended (the Romero knee for example) that has people worried with the Dutch Mousasi on deck. Three consecutive, brutal losses could dramatically hurt Weidman’s marketability.
Fans will only pay to see their hometown favorite lose so many times (Brazil’s Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva was marketed heavily in the country during his fights there and he eight defeats and a No Contest before he was cut.)
With that in mind, this question deserves to be asked: What more does Chris Weidman have left to prove?
He had an incredible 9-0 run with six finishes before he won the championship. He captured the belt, and while some fans may view that time as lackluster for the division, he successfully defended the belt three times against legends of the sport. Opinions of fans who have never (at the very least) trained in MMA only matter so much in the sense that if they like watching someone fight, will they pay to see the fight? Once they have paid, were they happy enough to see that fighter and pay for it again and again and so on.
Weidman probably won’t go down as one of the most electrifying champions in the sport. Still, he not only got to fight at the legendary MSG, but is one of a handful of people that helped in the lobbying effort to get MMA legalized in the state of New York— simultaneously making it legal nationwide in the US. For that, we should all simply say: Thank you, Chris.