A neck injury prevented Chris Weidman from getting his rematch with Luke Rockhold more than two years ago.
Now, that fight is close to being booked for UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 3, sources confirmed Monday night. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto first reported the pairing Monday evening. The fight is not yet official, though, sources said.
It was Rockhold who took Weidman’s title at UFC 194 in December 2015, ending the second longest title reign in UFC middleweight history. It also was the first career loss for Weidman (14-3), who grew up in Baldwin.
Weidman lost his next two fights — including the UFC’s first card at MSG in November 2016. In July 2017, in front of a hometown crowd of nearly 12,000 fans at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum, Weidman submitted Kelvin Gastelum in the third round. He has been out since with a thumb injury. Gastelum is coaching the latest season of “The Ultimate Fighter” opposite reigning middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and they are scheduled to fight for the title once Whittaker returns to full health.
Rockhold (16-4) lost the title by first-round knockout in his first defense against Michael Bisping in June 2016 at UFC 199. Bisping was a late replacement for Weidman, who had to pull out of the fight and have neck surgery.
Since then, Rockhold knocked out David Branch in September 2017 and then lost by third-round stoppage to Yoel Romero last February. Rockhold had been entertaining a move up to light heavyweight, but talks of a fight against Alexander Gustafsson were tabled when Rockhold re-injured his leg.