Chris Weidman is a former UFC champion – but he’s been sidelined for years after suffering a devastating leg fracture akin to Conor McGregor’s. But unlike McGregor, Weidman didn’t even have the option to bow out of USADA pool and instead had FOUR surgeries in order to get his leg working again,
The very first kick during UFC 261, snapped Weidman’s fibula and many questioned if he’d ever compete again.
Weidman is a Jersey native that spent a considerable amount of time training out of Matt Serra’s gym so he had plenty of exposure to BJJ’s coaching sensation John Danaher.
When Weidman broke his leg kicking Uriah Hall pic.twitter.com/eXbrZc63mZ
— calfkicker (@calfkickercom) October 7, 2022
Chris Weidman won ADCC trials as a blue belt
Before he was a UFC champion, Weidman entered ADCC trials at the prompting of his coach, Ray Longo. Recently, Weidman announced his return to competitive grappling on the MMA hour and discussed some of his storied history:
“But I was injured. I had a surgery. And I was like a crossroads. My hand just wasn’t getting better. And Longo actually of all people, even though he was more of a kickboxing guy.”
“He knew I was dominating people, you know, on the local scene with jujitsu in the gyms and everyone’s you know, had a lot of great things to say about me.”
“And he was like,’ You should do these Abu Dhabi trials’ because I think one of the guys on our team was doing the Abu Dhabi trials. It’s a big deal. I think you do good. And it’ll give you something to do while your hands healing.”
— schwick (@schwick6) June 30, 2022
” I went to the trials and then eventually the Abu Dhabi and it was really cool. And it was good for me confidence wise, if I was on the mat with a guy like Andrew Galvao for I think it was like close to 20 minutes with overtime.”
“And if I could be in there with a guy like that and go back and forth with submissions and not be tapped out then like ‘Alright, who’s gonna give me a hard time in MMA when he hits the ground?’ It gave me a lot of confidence”
Former UFC champ & 2x All-American Chris Weidman headlocks then 2x IBJJF World champ Andre Galvao as Galvao attempts to take his back. Weidman qualified for this event – 2009 ADCC's – after winning trials with reportedly only 8 months of formal BJJ training.
— Dan Sweeney (@DPSBreakdowns) February 9, 2023
Weidman visited John Danaher’s team preparing to compete in BJJ again
Weidman recently visited Danaher’s HQ, New Wave in Austin with the intent to prepare for his competition return at Polaris 23 against Owen Livesey,
“John Danaher is such a great teacher, he’s so smart, he’s really on the cutting edge. And he’s, I feel like a year ahead of all of like, almost everybody. So if you go there, you’re just learning all this stuff that everybody doesn’t really know yet. ”
“And so I was able to just gather all this information was a week I was there, and I got so much better. And I was able to see, like, all the things that these top guys are doing, and then try to emulate it and do it, do it myself. And it really was a great time.”
“Gordon Ryan is, you know, at this, he’s the goat of the game. And I actually got to stay with him at his house and, you know, train with him. And the team, you know, twice a day.”
Livesay is a former judo competitor that won a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the 81kg division. He’s since transitioned to MMA with a single professional outing at Caged Steel 25 back in 2021. Owen Livesay is 31 years old and has been a bjj black belt since sometime in 2022.
Weidman doesn’t see anyone on the BJJ scene catching up to Gordon Ryan
Weidman also detailed what it was like to train with Gordon:
“He looks like he’s a freaking tank. He is a complete monster. Like yeah, like it’s, it’s insane. He is so strong, the amount of effort that I have to put in to move him around, especially on the feet is just crazy. And then on top of it, his technique is just so good.”
“When it comes to the groundwork. You know, I’m pretty good. I’m on my back which the MMA fans don’t really know people who have trained with me probably know but like I like being on my back which is weird because I don’t like doing that in a fight.”
“But I’m in jujitsu I love you know, my back. Now kind of I have good frames and long leg pain. Yes, I’m flexible, it’s hard to get around me and I am kind of tricky with submissions. He is just like 10 steps ahead of me on the ground. Like he’s on top of me.”
“And it sucks because I know what he’s doing because I’m learning it and I just know okay. If I put effort into stopping this move, the amount of effort it’s going to take is just going to crush me, you know, physically and then mentally I’m just done and then he’s just gonna he just he’s just he’s just really good bro. He’s just on a different level. ”
“John Danaher has created a system there and he followed it to the tee. And with his athletic ability and his strength. On top of all the techniques he has, I just don’t see anybody being able to compete with him. ”
Polaris 23 airs March 11th, and also features the 66kg Women’s Grand prix.