Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream UFC 261 live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.
Chris Weidman believes he has one more run in him as an elite middleweight.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder will confront Uriah Hall in a UFC 261 rematch—Weidman defeated the two-time Ring of Combat champion by technical knockout in 2010—on Saturday at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. Weidman, 36, has lost five times across his past seven appearances, as injuries and mileage have begun to pile up. He last competed at UFC Fight Night 174 on Aug. 8, when he laid claim to a three-round unanimous decision over Omari Akhmedov.
As Weidman makes final preparations for his rematch with Hall, here are five things you might not know about the Baldwin, New York, native:
1. Wrestling formed his competitive backbone.
Weidman was a four-time collegiate All-American wrestler at Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York, and Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. He compiled a 51-21 record in two seasons at Hofstra, placing sixth nationally as a junior and third nationally as a senior. Weidman graduated with a degree in psychology. He was inducted into the Nassau Community College Hall of Fame in 2014.
2. He was a prodigy in grappling circles.
Just three months after he began his formal Brazilian jiu-jitsu training, Weidman won his first Grappler’s Quest tournament—his weight class and the absolute division—and submitted all 13 of his opponents in doing so. He later qualified for the 2009 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, where he pushed seven-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion and eventual tournament silver medalist Andre Galvao to the limit before losing on points. Weidman went on to reach the quarterfinals in the absolute division, emerging as one of the tournament’s breakout stars.
3. He enjoyed sustained excellence in MMA.
Weidman won his first 13 professional bouts and spent 889 days as the undisputed UFC middleweight champion, successfully defending the 185-pound crown on three different occasions. Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort were the opponents for those title defenses. It stands as the second-longest reign in the division’s history behind only Silva’s historic 2,457-day stay at the top.
4. His base skills remain formidable.
Weidman’s wrestling chops have translated quite well at the highest level of mixed martial arts. He ranks first on the UFC’s all-time list for middleweights in takedowns (42), seventh in top position time (46:19), eighth in takedown accuracy (48.3%) and 10th in control time (56:57).
5. Top-flight opponents account for his losses.
While injuries have taken a heavy toll on his career, Weidman has managed to avoid any “bad” losses on his resume. The five men two whom he has lost—Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero, Gegard Mousasi, Ronaldo Souza and Dominick Reyes—sport a combined record of 114-28-2, with 94 of their victories having resulted in finishes.