Chris Weidman offered to fight Jon Jones at UFC 151
Chris Weidman wants his title shot against UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, but he said Thursday he was willing to fight light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 151 as well.
Once rumors of Dan Henderson's knee injury circulated and the UFC began scrambling to find a replacement for his Sept. 1 title shot against Jones, Weidman and his management team inquired about fighting the 205-pound champion instead of the 185-pound champion.
"[UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva was like 'Wow, he wants to take the fight,'" Weidman said.
Weidman, an undefeated middleweight from Baldwin, said Silva was surprised but appreciative that he'd be willing to move to 205 for that fight.
"We said we're all in," Weidman said. "We just have to wait for [Ray] Longo to land, but we're all in. Just put us in the mix. Who knows if it ever got back to Jon Jones though. But UFC knew."
Longo, Weidman's head trainer, was traveling at the time this was happening. Weidman wanted to make sure his team of coaches was on board with the idea.
UFC president Dana White said on Thursday's conference call that Chael Sonnen was offered Henderson's spot and he accepted the fight, but it was Jones who declined the opponent switch on Thursday, 10 days shy of fight night. UFC 151 was subsequently canceled.
Weidman (9-0, 5-0 UFC) is no stranger to taking fights on short notice. He made his UFC debut on 19 days' notice in February 2011. He won a decision over Demian Maia in 11 days' notice last January after dropping 32 pounds in that time to make 185.
After his second-round TKO of Mark Munoz on July 11, Weidman became the No. 1 contender at middleweight. But Silva's management team has said they don't think Weidman's profile is big enough yet to warrant a title shot and have expressed a strong desire to fight welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre in a superfight that would attract huge pay-per-view buys.