Despite winning the UFC middleweight championship and beating the sport’s greatest ever in the process, Chris Weidman has had lingering issues in his knees that again came to the forefront on Monday when he was forced to reschedule his upcoming title match with Lyoto Machida from May to July.
The injury to the meniscus in his left knee has been termed "minor," but it will result in surgery that is to be performed next week. And while he’s in the shop for repairs, the doctors are likely to address issues in his right knee as well.
Weidman’s coach Ray Longo told FOX Sports that the champion has faced ongoing issues with the meniscus that was always bound to end up in surgery, but that he had put it off as long as he could. Recently however, the meniscus popped out twice in the span of a week, necessitating more medical attention.
"Chris really needs to be healthy for this fight," said Longo. "Whatever he was doing outside of the knee was looking good. His weight was phenomenal. He just needs to address this now. It’s something he can’t risk happening in a fight."
The UFC’s new timeframe gives Weidman an extra five weeks from the proposed May 24 date to a July 5 date, but just over three months from surgery to fight night. Ostensibly, that’s enough time to recover and be in fight shape for his second title defense.
"Maybe that sounds ambitious, but the doctor seems to think it’s enough time," Longo said.
However, even Longo acknowledged that there is a danger of discovering something else once Weidman goes under the knife. That risk could be doubled if Weidman elects to have his other knee scoped as well.
Longo told FOX Sports that the tentative plan is to do both procedures at the same time, but a final decision won’t be made by Weidman until he consults with his doctor next Monday.
The surgical procedure is set for the following day, Tuesday April 1. A projected 4-6 week turnaround would still give Weidman a nearly full eight-week camp even if his recovery time trends to the more conservative estimate.