Chris Weidman admits frustration with Luke Rockhold, says title fight next with UFC 230 win

NEW YORK – Chris Weidman was disappointed Luke Rockhold wasn’t able to compete at UFC 230. However, he said the rematch with his fellow UFC champ was merely an obstacle to a greater goal: Winning the belt back.

Rockhold (16-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) was forced to withdraw from his scheduled UFC 230 bout with Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) due to a series of injuries. He was replaced by Ronaldo Souza (25-6 MMA, 8-3 UFC) in the UFC 230 co-headliner, which takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

After dropping the title to Rockhold at UFC 194 in December 2015, the idea of running it back was an exciting opportunity for Weidman. He admits to being disheartened when he found out it wasn’t happening but said he was able to refocus on the task at hand.

“It was frustrating for about 15 minutes because I was obviously pissed off because I wanted to fight Luke,” Weidman told reporters, including MMAjunkie, at today’s UFC 230 media day. “We decided to it, and obviously I felt I was going to win and do it in dominant way. When you have those visions set up and all of a sudden you’ve got to get rid of that and get somebody else, obviously it’s frustrating for a little bit. But then I got super excited about ‘Jacare.’ He brings a lot of dangerous things to the table, a lot of challenges that I have to overcome as well.”

Weidman said he would be open to another booking with Rockhold in the future, but it won’t happen if he emerges victorious at UFC 230. He said he will be on to bigger and better things, and that would be a title shot against the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum, or stepping into the matchup as a replacement if someone falls out.

“As a competitor, obviously I want all my rematches back, but the goal for me is to win the world championship,” Weidman said. “Hold that belt – that’s really what I’m doing this for. Whoever can get me there gets me there. If I can get rematches and it gets me there, it’s double as good.

“I was told by my manager when I got the phone call about Luke being dropped out that I would be the replacement fight. If I win this fight, I’d be the replacement fight in case Gastelum gets injured, or I’d fight the winner.”

Weidman said he’s embracing the challenge of fighting “Jacare” at UFC 230 because it’s another matchup both he and fans of the sport have desired for some time. He said he’s fighting for something bigger than this individual matchup, though, and that’s why he was so willing to fight any replacement the UFC offered up in Rockhold’s absence.

‘Jacare,’ it’s my ticket to what I want,” Weidman said. “A title fight is the goal. Whoever can get me there, that’s who I want to fight, and ‘Jacare’ does that. It doesn’t matter.”

To hear more from Weidman, check out the video above.

For more on UFC 230, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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