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Former UFC champion set for much-awaited combat sports return after almost two years

UFC 230: Chris Weidman vs. Ronaldo Souza
UFC 230: Chris Weidman vs. Ronaldo Souza

Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman is set to return to the world of combat sports.

The 38-year-old will compete at the Polaris 23 grappling event on March 11, taking on Commonwealth judo champion Owen Livesey. The match will mark Weidman's first appearance in a grappling contest since ADCC in 2009.

MMA journalist Ariel Helwani reported the news on social media, writing:

"Chris Weidman is making his return to grappling on March 11 against commonwealth judo champion Owen Livesey at Polaris 23. First time Weidman competes in a grappling event since ADCC 2009. First competition of any kind for him since the Hall fight in April 2021."
Chris Weidman is making his return to grappling on March 11 against commonwealth judo champion Owen Livesey at Polaris 23. First time Weidman competes in a grappling event since ADCC 2009. First competition of any kind for him since the Hall fight in April 2021. https://t.co/ekdl1jxoFU

Weidman was last seen in action in April 2021 when he faced Uriah Hall in a middleweight clash at UFC 261. Just a few seconds into the fight, Weidman suffered a gruesome leg injury that halted the fight.

The leg break was similar to the one Anderson Silva suffered while fighting Weidman for the second time. Having gone through a similar experience, the American apologized to Silva during an episode of his Won't Back Down podcast last year.

"I feel terrible now because now I understand the pain that you went through, all the trials and tribulations that you went through, and it just makes me empathize with you so much more with those situations. To be honest, I've never even said this out loud but it's been on my mind since it happened. I want to apologize to you because afterwards, I felt terrible."

Catch the full episode of the podcast below:

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Chris Weidman's stint in the UFC

Chris Weidman has had a tumultuous career in the UFC. The New York native started his run on a high note as he won his first eight fights in a row. This streak includes two victories over Anderson Silva in championship fights and two successful defenses against Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort.

But the 38-year-old went on to lose six of his next eight fights, including a title fight against Luke Rockhold and a light heavyweight clash against Dominick Reyes.

Now, considering the severity of the injury, his age and the time away from fighting, many believe it would be a tough task for Weidman to return to fighting and succeed at the highest level.

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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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