Chris Weidman is hoping to avoid some serious déjà vu in his UFC return. Nearly three years after snapping his leg against Uriah Hall, the former UFC champion faces Brad Tavares at UFC 292, the upcoming pay-per-view event scheduled for Aug. 19 at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass.
In his most recent appearance, Chris Weidman threw a leg kick that was checked by Hall. As a result, Hall became the first fighter in UFC history to win a fight without throwing a single punch. Since then, the ‘All-American’ has spent years on the sidelines recovering from several surgeries. Now healthy, Weidman is ready to return to the Octagon, where he wants to do the very thing that led to his lengthy layoff: throw a leg kick.
“I face my fears. The first thing I’m doing in that fight against Brad Tavares is throwing the hardest leg kick of my life, right on his shinbone,” said Weidman on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “I do want to do that. It’s worth it, I think it’s important for you to face your fears. Anything you might be uncomfortable with, just go ahead and do it.”
When Helwani tried to caution him from doing so, Weidman conceded there was lingering fear of throwing a leg kick but wanted to get it out of the way against Tavares.
“That’s why I need to kick with it quick,” said Weidman. “Get it out of the system. I just hope Brad Tavares, I hope we’re on the same page. He’s not allowed to check the first leg kick. Just let it land, please. Then all is good after that, may the best man win.”
Chris Weidman discusses Brad Tavares as an opponent
As far as his fight with Tavares, the Serra-Longo Fight Team product is excited to face a fellow UFC veteran. Despite his two-fight skid, Weidman says the Hawaiian is still a dangerous opponent to return against.
“I think he brings enough danger for me to take it very serious,” said Weidman. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him, so it excites me that I’m preparing really hard for this, but it’s also not the worst matchup in the world for me. It’s not like I’m coming back into a fight where I’ve got some killer in front of me.
“I think it’s important for me to work my way back up and do it smart, and I think Brad Tavares — no disrespect to him, he’s a good dude, a good fighter — I just think there could be worse matchups for me in the top 10, top 15,” continued Weidman. “I think it’s a great matchup to come back to.”
In his most recent appearances, Tavares has lost to Dricus Du Plessis and Bruno Silva at UFC 276 and UFC Vegas 71, respectively.
Who else is fighting at UFC 292?
Aside from Chris Weidman vs. Brad Tavares, UFC 292 also features a pair of championship fights. In the headliner, Aljamain Sterling faces Sean O’Malley merely three months after his successful defense against Henry Cejudo at UFC 288 this past May. In the co-headliner, Zhang Weili returns against Amanda Lemos.
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