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Chris Weidman: Fighting on UFC 292 prelims is ‘disrespectful’

Chris Weidman UFC 292 Prelims

(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Weidman UFC 292 Prelims
(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Weidman: Fighting on UFC 292 prelims is ‘disrespectful’

At UFC 292, Chris Weidman finds himself in the featured prelim against Brad Tavares. The bout will be a massive moment in his career as he returns from a leg break that was one of the most gruesome injuries in MMA history. Although, Weidman finds it disrespectful that he has been pushed down to the prelims.

Weidman expressed his opinion on the UFC 292 bout order in an interview with Marc Raimondi for ESPN MMA. All quotes via TheScore.

“It’s kind of disrespectful, to be honest,” Weidman told ESPN’s Marc Raimondi on Wednesday. “I’m not going to pretend like it’s not. To be out for two years with a broken (leg) – I broke my leg on the mats of the UFC on a pay-per-view. … First fully packed arena in Jacksonville (since the COVID-19 pandemic). Put my body on the line, and then they put me on a prelim? That’s a bad idea.”

Weidman, 39, has a resume worthy of a pay-per-view main card. The former champion ended the title reign of Anderson Silva and defended the middleweight title three times. It is difficult to find a fighter more accomplished.

Weidman’s position as a featured prelim was much easier to understand when UFC 292 was first assembled. That quickly changed after a handful of fighters were removed from the card, however.

It is reasonable for Weidman to be upset with his placement on the card when Mario Bautista and Da’Mon Blackshear have a slot on the main card. While Bautista and Blackshear are both worthy of big opportunities, they simply do not have the pedigree of Weidman.

That said, fighting on the prelims does have advantages. The UFC 292 prelims air on ESPN and will not be behind the pay-per-view paywall, allowing diehard Weidman fans to watch the bout for free. Additionally, Weidman has used his positioning on the card as motivation.

“It probably works out for everybody at the end of the day because it’s a little bit of motivation,” Weidman said. “It’s like, ‘Alright, motherf-ers, you disrespect me like that. What, do you think I’m done? Do you think I’m here to just see how I feel?’ No, I’m here to make a statement.”

If Weidman is able to get back in the win column at UFC 292, he will likely return to main card status.

It is also worth noting that Weidman’s slide to the prelims is not unique. The UFC has put other legends in a similar position. For example, Robbie Lawler retired in the featured prelim slot at UFC 290. At UFC 291, Derrick Lewis was the featured prelim before a weight-cutting debacle led to the last-second loss of a main card bout.

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