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It had been a little more than three years since Chris Weidman last tasted victory in the Octagon, so the former middleweight champion will take a victory any way he can.
Still, Weidman was not entirely pleased with his unanimous decision triumph over Omari Akhmedov in the UFC Fight Night 174 co-main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
“I guess sometimes it’s not the way you expect it to be, but you’ve got to keep grinding through. I guess that’s what I did,” Weidman said on the ESPN+ post-fight show. “But I’m not too happy with that performance. I’m happy to get a ‘W,’ but it wasn’t what I expected. I’m a little bit bummed out, but at the same time it could’ve been way worse.”
Weidman entered Saturday’s matchup with just one victory in his previous six Octagon appearances. He struggled at times against Akhmedov, allowing four takedowns and appearing to grow fatigued during a difficult second frame. The Serra-Longo Fight Team product rallied over the final five minutes, however, as he mounted his opponent and spent a good portion of the period dominating position on the canvas.
The 36-year-old New Yorker nonetheless expected more of himself in victory.
“Just a way cleaner fight. I wanted to stay relaxed, have fun, keep him at the end of my punches,” Weidman said. “Get to his legs, get him tired. The takedowns were super sloppy. Every time I got to his legs I was a little off on the angle for the finishes. Everything just felt like a little off. So it become a little bit of a sloppy fight. I had to find a way to maintain control and get the ‘W.’ He is a really tough guy.”
Along with disappointment, there was a sense of relief and renewed optimism that accompanied Weidman’s latest victory.
“That wasn’t my favorite fight at all for myself, but I got the win. There’s a lot that goes into it for me and my family, it’s just good to get it done with,” he said. “I’m super grateful that the UFC is allowing us to work and put on a show for everybody. I know so many people out there that really want to start working and they can’t, so I’m just super grateful to be in the position that I am at to do something that I love to do and to provide for my family.
“It feels good. I feel like I’m restarting my career and I’m really grateful to have that opportunity. I feel refreshed and renewed. I’m super excited about the future.”
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