Chris Weidman, left, punches Mark Munoz during the second round...

Chris Weidman, left, punches Mark Munoz during the second round of their middleweight bout at UFC on Fuel 4 in San Jose, Calif., Weidman won by technical knockout in the second round. (July 11, 2012) Credit: AP

Chris Weidman finally has his next fight lined up, although not against the opponent he'd been asking to face.

Weidman, a middleweight from Baldwin, will fight Tim Boetsch at UFC 155 in Las Vegas on Dec. 29, Newsday has learned. Both fighters have verbally agreed to the bout.

"I think I'm the man to take the title from Anderson Silva," Weidman said in a statement. "I think I'm the No. 1 contender in the division, with Anderson not fighting for the rest of 2012, I want to stay busy, keep getting better and take on the best out there. I think I'm the best middleweight in the world and I'm going to prove it against another top contender."

The undefeated Weidman (9-0, 5-0 UFC) is coming off a devastating knockout of Mark Munoz last July, his second straight win over a consensus top-five middlewight. The first came in January when he won a unanimous decision over Demain Maia on 11 days' notice.

Boetsch (16-4) has won his last four bouts, including a split decision over Hector Lombard and a third-round TKO of Yushin Okami.

"This is a big fight for the middleweight division. I'm better than ever and ready to prove that I am next in line for a title shot."

Weidman had been campaigning for that title shot against Silva since beating Munoz. Silva, who successfully defended his title for a UFC record 10th straight title by beating Chael Sonnen last July, has been more vocal about a super fight against welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. Silva's management has also said on multiple occasions that they don't believe Weidman's profile is big enough yet for a title shot.

Other title contenders in the middleweight division include Michael Bisping and Brian Stann, who fight each other at UFC 152 on Sept. 22.

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