Undefeated through his first 13 professional bouts against some of the best fighters on the planet, it’s easy to understand why so many people were high on former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. It’s the same reason his devastating loss to Luke Rockhold at UFC 194 is difficult to comprehend for some.
“I’m still a little in shock,” Weidman’s longtime trainer Ray Longo told News Day Sunday. “I still have to process it all.”
“The All-American” came out strong Saturday night, pushing forward as he always does. He landed a few takedowns in Round 1, proving he could out-wrestle the challenger when needed.
But then the second round came, and Weidman wasn’t quite as active in his attempts to get the fight to the canvas. He also started to absorb a few too many kicks to the body. His title reign started to unravel before his eyes in Round 3, when the former champion decided to throw a spinning back kick. Rockhold would evade the kick and use his opponent’s lack of balance to secure a takedown.
The fight nearly came to an end moments later, as Rockhold rained down with heavy punches and elbows onto the champion who, at this point, was covered in his own blood. Without the ill-advised kick, Longo says it would have been a completely different contest.
“I’m going to say that was the game changer right there,” Longo said. “Without that kick, it’s probably going five rounds at that point.”
For obvious reasons, Longo says this loss won’t derail Weidman for too long.
“As a trainer, I’ve been there with Matt [Serra] a couple times,” Longo said. “He’ll be back.”