NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. – Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman thought his next trip to the octagon would bring redemption for his previous fight.
Unfortunately, the source of that redemption didn’t cooperate.
When the UFC offered a fight with Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) at UFC on FOX 25, Weidman (13-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) had to let go of his original plan to rematch Gegard Mousasi, who defected to Bellator earlier this month.
UFC on FOX 25’s Kelvin Gastelum thinks he’s next for middleweight title shot, but won’t let 170 go
“There was a little hesitation, because I wanted the Mousasi rematch,” Weidman told MMAjunkie at an open workout for his FOX-televised headliner at Saturday’s event, which takes place at NYCB LIVE in Uniondale, N.Y. “And then we were finding out that he probably wasn’t going to (re-sign with the UFC), they offered me this fight, and I couldn’t turn it down.”
Weidman now chooses to focus on the thrill of fighting on home soil again over avenging a loss to Mousasi (42-6-2 MMA, 9-3 UFC), who beat him three months ago in a controversial fight at UFC 210.
“I’m over it,” Weidman said. “He’s moved on. You don’t hold on to things. It’s the match I wanted, but he moved on; he’s doing whatever he has to do for himself, and I’ve got to focus on what I’ve got to do.”
UFC on FOX 25 pre-event facts: Can Long Island’s Chris Weidman stay unbeaten as a headliner?
First and foremost, Weidman needs a win. He’s lost his past three UFC bouts after an appeal to overturn the controversial fight failed. His most recent victory was in May 2015 when he stopped Vitor Belfort in the first round to notch his third title defense at UFC 187.
Weidman maintains he was winning all of the fights he lost until a single mistake cost him the victory. But when he faces Gastelum on Saturday, he said there will be no doubt that he’s still a world champion on the road back to the belt.
“People are going to see on Saturday night who the best guy in the world is,” Weidman said. “The truth speaks volumes. I don’t have to say a word.”
Watch the video above to hear more from Weidman.
And for more on UFC on FOX 25, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.