Chris Weidman finally can attach a date to his promise to return to the UFC's octagon after a devastating leg injury more than two years ago.
The Baldwin-raised Weidman will face Brad Tavares in a middleweight bout at UFC 292 in Boston on Aug. 19, a source told Newsday. That fight card at the TD Garden is headlined by Weidman's Serra-Longo teammate Aljamain Sterling as he defends his bantamweight title against Sean O'Malley.
“I’m back, baby,” Weidman said in an Instagram reel posted to his account Monday evening, with his entrance song (Tom Perry’s “Won’t Back Down”) playing as he threw a right leg kick in the air and the video cut to a photo of him.
Weidman last competed in the octagon on April 24, 2021, when he shattered his lower right leg after throwing a calf kick 17 seconds into his bout with Uriah Hall at UFC 261. Weidman's bone ripped through his calf muscle after he crumpled to the ground, and the injury led to multiple surgeries to repair the entire lower leg.
It was only the third time in UFC history where a fighter broke a leg on a kick that immediately ended a fight, and two of them involved Weidman. At UFC 168, Weidman checked a kick from Anderson Silva that shattered Silva's leg and sent him to the ground screaming in pain, only to be carried out on a stretcher shortly thereafter. Silva was 38 at the time of that injury and returned to the cage 13 months later. (It happened a fourth time three months after Weidman's injury when Conor McGregor broke his leg against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264.)
While sidelined, Weidman has been part of the broadcast crew for the weigh-in show for UFC pay-per-view events. It has kept him close to the sport as he rehabs his way back.
"I’m pumped for these guys and itching to get back in the octagon soon," Weidman wrote on Instagram after seeing Sterling and teammate Matt Frevola win at UFC 288 last month. "Would love to have my comeback fight on the card with Aljo on his next title defense."
The former UFC middleweight champion returned to live competition last March when he went up against Owen Livesey in a submission grappling match under the Polaris banner in England.
Weidman (15-6) will be 39 when he walks to the cage in Boston. Tavares (19-8) has lost his last two fights, most recently a first-round TKO against Bruno Silva in April.
Zhang Weili also is scheduled to defend her women's strawweight title against Amanda Lemos.