In the run-up to UFC Fight Night 174 on Aug. 8, Chris Weidman kept his expectations reasonable, if not a little vague. “I’m going to go out there and put a dominating fight on and make a statement and show that the ‘All-American’ is back,” he said in the pre-fight promo video. Whatever it meant for the former champion to be “back,” whether it was to find a vintage finish or to get back into the title picture, it at least required a win over Omari Akhmedov. The uncertainty of that result was an indication of the distance between where Weidman is now and where he used to be.
It’s strange to think that it had been three years since Weidman’s last win in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a submission of soon-to-be title challenger Kelvin Gastelum in July 2017, which was itself more than two years removed from the previous win before it. It wasn’t that long ago when he was the undefeated champ with back-to-back stoppages against the sport’s most incredible champion. Now we’re impressed that he toughed out a decision victory against a former welterweight in Akhmedov, a solid fighter who would have been on Weidman’s highlight reel circa 2012…Like