Now that Robert Whittaker has got by Yoel Romero for a second time, campaigning for who will challenge the middleweight champ next has kicked into high gear. Not surprisingly, former champ Chris Weidman is making his case for why he should be next for “Bobby Knuckles”.
Whittaker battled Romero in the headliner of UFC 225, and he slipped by the ridiculously, dangerous fighter with a split decision. Since the fight was competitive, and because Romero nearly finished Whittaker in round five, there’s been some talk about a third fight. But, Dana White has already put the brakes on that talk, since Romero missed weight for the bout. Whittaker’s also relayed he thinks it’s time to move on.
The consensus is that really, there are two fighters in the mix for a title shot: Weidman and Kelvin Gastelum. Weidman appeared on “The MMA Hour” recently, and the “All American” had this to say, while outlining why he thinks he should be next for Whittaker (quotes via MMA Mania):
“Obviously for me that would be the best case is to fight for the title. Fighting Whittaker, that’s a guy I match up well with and that’s a guy I feel I can go out there and finish,” said Weidman.
“I feel I am the most decorated guy in the division, I’ve had the most title defenses. I had a rough patch, I went undefeated my whole career, I lost one, happened to lose three in a row. My mind, I felt like it wasn’t in the fight spot,” he said. “I came back, got myself where I needed to be, got my mind back and I went out there and beat one of the top contenders, Kelvin Gastelum. I feel like I dominated the fight and went out there and finished him. I feel like you’re only as good as your last fight and I finished the other guy that we’re talking about in my last fight. I think I definitely deserve shot at the title. It will be a good fight.”
It’s going to be interesting to see what the UFC does here. Although Weidman defeated Gastelum he lost three straight before that. So, ordinarily, you would think that might eliminate him from a title fight at this juncture, but these aren’t ordinary times. The other two fighters ranked in the top five are Luke Rockhold and “Jacare” Souza, and both are coming off losses. White also claimed this weekend that Gastelum has some “personal issues” he needs to address. So, depending on how all that plays out, Weidman could be next.