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Identifying ‘gift’ to Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman explains why he rejected a tune-up fight

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Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman has an opportunity to gain back the title he lost at UFC 194 to the fighter who took it from him. Weidman faces current 185 pound-champion Luke Rockhold for the second time in as many meetings at UFC 199 in June.

What’s notable for Weidman is the immediate rematch, an opportunity typically granted after a close contest. While the native New Yorker in Weidman had his moments in his first meeting, he was ultimately overcome by Rockhold and finished in the fourth round.

Still, Weidman elected to take a rematch rather than a tune-up fight. That strategy poses a number of risks, not least of which is that a second loss to Rockhold removes Weidman from the title queue for the foreseeable future and perhaps beyond.

Yet, as he argued last week, he believes there’s cause to take the rematch over a tune-up fight. In this partial transcript with audio clips from The Luke Thomas Show on SiriusXM, Weidman explains his rationale while detailing the particular nature of his injuries.

Here’s one thing I’m wondering. The first fight between you and Rockhold held a lot of anticipation. After it was over, it was revealed both fighters had their pre-fight health issues. But why the immediate rematch? Why not take some time to get a tune-up fight?

Because I know physically and mentally where I was at that night. I know my potential and I know that I’m that much better than him. I can get my belt back now, so why would I wait?

Was it just an injury issue? Was there anything else?

I broke my foot six weeks out in three spots. That’s well documented. I went in there to win the fight. I took the fight. I wasn’t going to come off the card. ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting