Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold have been rivals for years, but the former middleweight champ said it was “bittersweet” to see Rockhold get knocked out by Jan Blachowicz last month, fearing the latest setback may force him into early retirement.
Before Rockhold’s fight last month at UFC 239 against Blachowicz, he had taken a 15-month hiatus from competition to let his body heal after a previous knockout loss against Yoel Romero. During that break, he also announced his intention to move up to light heavyweight. According to Weidman, Rockhold did not look very impressive in his 205-pound debut even before suffering the knockout. Weidman, who has also moved up to the light heavyweight division, was a guest on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show and admitted to feeling conflicting emotions over the misfortunes of his onetime foe, whom he had hoped to fight again one day.
“To be honest, it was a little bittersweet,” Weidman said. “I never like to see anybody get hurt, even though me and Luke have had a lot of issues back and forth for a long time, and [he’s] the one guy I really wanted to get a fight with, and get that one back. Your first loss always seems to hit home the most, so that’s the one I wanted back.
“It’s kind of bittersweet to see him go out there [because] I didn’t think he looked good,” Weidman added. “I thought he was slow, tired. And to see him get knocked out like that again, he’s been off for so long already. I was supposed to fight him back in November and he pulled out and then he was off until just recently so I don’t know what’s up for him next but one part of me is like, ‘I want to be the guy that’s in there with him,’ but now the other part of me is like, ‘I don’t know if he’s going to be around much longer and whether he’s going to retire or not.’”
Weidman makes his 205-pound debut against the surging Dominick Reyes at UFC on ESPN 6 on Oct. 18.