Memorial Day weekend just got a little more interesting.
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UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman is eager to move forward with his next proposed defense against Vitor Belfort. The New Yorker told FOX Sports on Friday that he believes a May date in Las Vegas would be ‘perfect’ for the title bout.
There is one caveat to his enthusiasm for getting back into the Octagon; before he can officially commit, he plans to visit a doctor for an MRI on an injured knee. Weidman had planned to go on Friday but the winter storm that bombarded much of the east coast closed his doctor’s office, and he is planning on rescheduling an appointment for Monday.
The problem stems from a lingering meniscus issue that began almost two years ago. Due to the wear and tear of training, Weidman does not have much of the meniscus remaining, and doctors have told him that he will probably have to have knee replacement surgery at some point in the far-off future.
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If you’re going to have extra testosterone, especially after you’ve been caught cheating, it’s unfair.
"My knee feels great right now," Weidman said. "To be honest it feels fine. Better than it felt before the fight. I feel like I’m fine, but I just want to get it checked out. I’m leaning towards that I’m good to go and don’t even need the scope but I just want to do my due diligence and get it checked out."
The champion said he would prefer the May date in order to enjoy some of the summer after fighting in June or July for each of the last three years.
With consecutive KO wins over Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson, ‘The Phenom’ is currently on the hottest streak of his MMA career.
As for the prospect of fighting Belfort in Las Vegas, where the Nevada state athletic commission will oversee Belfort’s therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy, Weidman is satisfied that the state sanctioning body will do a good job of making sure the playing field is as level as it should be. While he said he had nothing against Belfort personally and that he seemed like a "good guy," he added that he’s fundamentally opposed to TRT in the sport.
"He’s failed a drug test before. He’s on TRT now. I don’t agree with TRT to begin with, so him failing a drug test and being on TRT, I don’t really like it," he said. "So I appreciate there will be a commission making sure he’s doing things right. I don’t have high testosterone at all. I’m completely fine. I guarantee his testosterone on TRT is two or three times higher than mine. I wake up and I work hard two or three times a day. I don’t feel that there’s a need for it, and if it comes to point where you need it, then you retire, you don’t fight. Fighting is a sport where strength is important, and if you’re going to have extra testosterone, especially after you’ve been caught cheating, it’s unfair."
There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m the better fighter.
--Chris Weidman on Anderson Silva, skeptics
Weidman was installed as a 2-to-1 favorite in the match, which he views as a sign of respect after being the underdog in the two bouts with Silva.
While most have rightly accepted the victories and Weidman’s place at the head of the division, a few holdouts have still voiced questions about the legitimacy of his reign due to Silva’s playful tone in the first fight and unfortunate injury in the rematch. Perhaps a win over Belfort will change those minds, but to Weidman, that’s hardly a concern.
A jubilant ‘All-American’ after his TKO victory against Anderson Silva at UFC 168.
"That’s their problem," he said. "After the first fight I felt like I had to prove it again even to myself. He had hands down. I know that’s what he does, but let’s see what he does when he has his hands up. I went into this fight and to be honest with you, first round and second round, I really felt like there was nothing he could to do to me to beat me. I saw everything he was doing coming. I saw advantages everywhere. Standing, feet, clinch, submissions, ground and pound. Every possible area of MMA, I had the advantage in. So there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m the better fighter. People are going to do doubt me throughout my career. I’m never going to win some people over. That’s just part of the sport. That can’t be my main motivation."