The co-main event of UFC 230 in New York will feature Long Island native Chris Weidman going up against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in a key matchup in the middleweight division. While Jacare lost to Kelvin Gastelum in his last outing, Weidman snapped his three-fight losing streak by choking Gastelum out last year on Long Island, putting himself back into title contention.
Weidman’s main focus is to (of course) get another win in front of his home fans this weekend, but his long-term goal is to make a move up to light heavyweight and win UFC gold there.
“My goal right now is to win the middleweight championship back, defend that a few times and then head up to 205 and win some belts up there as well,” Weidman told UFC.com
Injuries have set Weidman back significantly in recent years, and Jacare will be his first bout since beating Gastelum well over a year ago. The 34-year-old discussed his mental state leading up to that much-needed streak-busting stoppage victory.
“Going into that fight, I’m coming off three losses and it doesn’t look good when you’re in that situation,” Weidman said. “You have a lot of pressure on you, and especially to have it in your hometown in the main event, the pressure was on. But I knew what I was capable of and I just wanted to go out there, relax and move forward, put pressure on and just fight. And that’s what I did.”
Weidman campaigned hard to get MMA legalized in the state of New York, which finally became reality in 2016. Since then, all of Weidman’s bouts have been in his home state, and he promises big things for the Madison Square Garden crowd on November 3rd.
“I’m guessing that the crowd’s gonna go even harder this time,” Weidman said. “I’m sure the crowd’s gonna have my back, and I’m gonna make them proud. It’s gonna be fun.”
“Four fights in a row in New York and this is going to be the best ever,” he said.
UFC 230 is headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis.