Chris Weidman is no stranger to being a giant killer, having shocked the world by defeating Anderson Silva for the first time in the Octagon in 2013, and now with his move up to light-heavyweight the former middleweight champion is hoping he can do the same thing against another seemingly indestructable star in Jon Jones.
Weidman will begin his run at 205lbs with a headlining fight against Dominick Reyes at UFC On ESPN 6 and he thinks that’s a good stepping stone towards his ultimate goal of fighting Jones.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for me to make a real big statement in the 205-pound division, as opposed to me taking a guy on that most people think I can beat and they’re not ranked as highly,” Weidman told Submission Radio. “This is a guy a lot of people are believing in and thinking he’s got a chance of fighting for the belt and possibly being a champion one day, and so for me to come along and go out there and have a good performance against him, I think it puts me right in the discussion at 205. So, I think it’s a great opportunity for me.”
Weidman has lost four of his last five fights at 185lbs, but he still feels he’s got what it takes to defeat the long unbeaten Jones and make more history that will be remembered long after he’s hung up his gloves.
“Being the guy that shocks the world, not once but twice, against what people think are the greatest of all time, and against someone that most people think can’t even be beaten. And that’s where Anderson Silva was when I fought him and this is where Jon Jones is right now, and so that motivates the hell out of me. That’s the legacy I want.”
And Weidman thinks there’s no better time to face Jones than now, as he believes the champion has started to seem less invincible now than he once did earlier in his career.
“I don’t think he’s looked that good, I don’t think he’s looked as dangerous,” Weidman said. “He’s not finishing, and I see there’s a lot of… he’s great, but I see there’s definitely holes in there.”
“I always believed there’s a blueprint to beat him. You see it a little bit more, but I always knew he’s beatable, and I think if it was a guy like me with power in the hands and also the wrestling that’s better and Jiu Jitsu. So, I think that’s really I take it to him. But no one’s been able to do that yet. He’s done a great job, he adjusts really well in there. So, that’s the goal, is to get in there with him.”
However, first Weidman has to navigate past the No.4 ranked Reyes, and that will be easier said than done given that ‘The Devastator’ is currently unbeaten in his 11-fight MMA career and has so far racked up five wins in a row since joining the UFC in 2017.