OK, now it’s officially official.
Chris Weidman will get the rematch he’s wanted since December of 2015 when he faces Luke Rockhold at UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 3. The fight has been reported for several weeks, and both fighters have referenced the bout on social media, but the UFC had not made the bout official until Saturday night during its pay-per-view broadcast of UFC 228 in Dallas.
“8 weeks from today I get redemption in New York at Madison Square Garden,” Weidman, a Serra-Longo fighter from Baldwin, tweeted on Saturday afternoon.
UFC 230 is shaping up as a middleweight marathon as eight of the top 10 ranked fighters in the 185-pound division are scheduled to compete at the Garden.
“Strictly business. Madison Square Garden November 3 #ufc230” Rockhold tweeted last month.
Weidman, the second-longest reigning middleweight champion in UFC history, lost his title to Rockhold at UFC 194 in Las Vegas on Dec. 12, 2015. It was the first career loss for Weidman (14-3).
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.