UFC 261: Chris Weidman gives honest thoughts on Israel Adesanya matchup

Chris Weidman

Chris Weidman is feeling pretty confident about his chances of recapturing the UFC middleweight belt. 

The former UFC champion returns to the octagon this weekend after his clinical performance against Omari Akhmedov at UFC Fight Night 174.

Weidman (15-5) will once again face Uriah Hall in a rematch of their encounter at Ring of Combat 31, which ended in a first-round TKO victory for "The All-American" in September 2010.

In many ways, Weidman's career peaked at the tender age of 27, when he knocked out Anderson Silva in their title fight at UFC 162 in July 2013. His victory over Silva is regarded as one of the greatest upsets in UFC history. 

He then went on to lose the belt to Luke Rockhold after defending it multiple times, before being knocked out again by Yoel Romero in dramatic fashion, casting doubts about the future of his pro fighting career after a three-fight skid. 

However, he bounced back into the win column following back-to-back losses to Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Dominick Reyes by putting on a clinic against Akhmedov.

"I want to go out there and let the fans choose when they want me to fight (for the title), and I have to do that by making some big statements," Weidman said to MMA Junkie. "I don’t expect it to be right after this Uriah Hall fight. I expect to fight another big name after that, and if it takes another one, it takes another one.

"But I think win two fights in spectacular fashion and I get to show my potential, I think people are going to want to see me fight for the title."

Weidman, 35, is currently ranked at No. 11 in the world in middleweight by the UFC coming in and would love to fight the champion Adesanya at some point in the near future.

Adesanya (20-1) has not fought since coming up short against UFC light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 in March. Adesanya struggled to cope with Blachowicz's wrestling, particularly in the championship rounds, something which Weidman feels he can use to his advantage.    

"Seeing that fight, seeing how a strong guy was able to out-grapple him and get the takedowns, it definitely reaffirmed the thoughts that I had on that fight," he added. "That being said, I have some work to do. I got Uriah Hall. I don’t expect to be fighting Adesanya next. I do know I’m bad matchup for him, and when I’m able to prove it to everybody, people are going to want to see it."

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