Middleweight Chris Weidman, 26, of Baldwin, trains with Ray Longo...

Middleweight Chris Weidman, 26, of Baldwin, trains with Ray Longo in Garden City for his title shot against Ring of Combat champion Uriah Hall on Sept. 24 in Atlantic City. (Sept. 9, 2010) Credit: James Escher

Sometimes, waiting works.

Chris Weidman, the Ring of Combat middleweight champion from Baldwin, weighed offers from Bellator and Strikeforce but turned them down. Why? Three reasons: Ultimate. Fighting. Championship.

Weidman (4-0) has signed a multi-fight deal to compete in the UFC, Newsday's Fightin' Words has learned.

“It’s sick, I can’t believe it," Weidman said. "4-0 and right to the main card.”

Weidman, a two-time All-American wrestler at both Nassau CC and Hofstra University, will make his debut against veteran Alessio Sakara (19-7, 1 NC) at UFC on Versus on March 3 in Louisville. Weidman replaces  Rafael Natal, who is out with an injury, and will fight on the televised portion of the card. UFC is still awaiting receipt of Sakara's second amended bout agreement.

It was a gutsy move for the 26-year-old Weidman to turn down those contract offers from Bellator and Strikeforce. Weidman, who trains with Ray Longo and Matt Serra, is widely recognized as a top middleweight prospect who needed a little more seasoning before the UFC would come calling.

But he impressed those at the tryouts for Season 13 of "The Ultimate Fighter" a few months back.

“It was really hard to turn [Bellator and Strikeforce] down," Weidman said. "I got my wife, my kid, I'm living in a basement . . . Something told me not to, let me wait it out.”

Weidman's resume is extremely impressive for someone with just four pro MMA fights. He beat Phil Davis and Ryan Bader, top UFC light heavyweight prospects, during their college wrestling days. But Weidman's name got bandied about the Internet after a strong showing against famed Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner Andre Galvao at the 2009 Abu Dhabi Submission Grappling tournament.



More MMA

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months