The days are ticking down until UFC 210, and the much anticipated co-main event this weekend between Gegard Mousasi and Chris Weidman is creeping ever closer.
The two men come into the bout on very different trajectories, and the momentum is undoubtedly with the Dutchman.
Mousasi is unbeaten since September 2015 and is coming off the back of impressive wins against Thales Leites, Thiago Santos, Vitor Belfort and mostly recently, Uriah Hall last November.
With four wins in 2016, Mousasi is a man on the rise, but the same can’t be said about his opponent this week, #ChrisWeidman.
The former UFC middleweight champion has not had a good time since dropping his belt to Luke Rockhold back at UFC 194 in December, 2015. Having suffered multiple injuries, Weidman was defeated on his return to action last November against Yoel Romero at the UFC’s debut event in Madison Square Garden.
Both Mousasi’s and Weidman’s current form would suggest the fight is only going to go one way this Saturday, however, one man who knows Weidman better than most will have you thinking twice before putting the house on Mousasi.
Weidman’s teammate, Al Iaquinta, spoke to Champions.co exclusively this week and said that fans should expect a rejuvenated man in the Octagon at UFC 210.
“He’s totally re-energized,’ Iaquinta said. “He maybe kinda lost focus a little bit because he had a lot going on with like movies and TV and everything, but this camp he’s just been thinking about one thing, and that’s this fight.”
Iaquinta explained how Weidman’s sole focus on the fight this weekend was different to how it’d been previously, and said that has teammate realized it was now or never if he was ever going to make it back into the UFC middleweight title mix.
“He’s not allowed any outside distractions,” Iaquinta said. “Even like cornering other people, he got a little more selfish in that aspect and he knew that now was the time he had to do it and focus just on himself and getting back to his best. He still supported everyone, but we could all tell that he was different for this [fight].”
Having seen the changes his teammate has made over the past few months, Iaquinta was confident that Weidman would get the job done on Saturday night wherever the fight goes.
“I think this is all going to pay off big time,” Iaquinta said. “In the gym, I can see he’s just a different animal. He’s back to trying to just hurt people which is the way he was. This is a great fight for him. I think he can do it on the feet, but without a doubt if he wants to wrestle he’s going to put on a clinic. I only see this ending one way.”
Iaquinta is confident his teammate can get the job done on Saturday night, but in his way is a Dutchman adamant that he should be the next in line for a middleweight title shot. It’s all eyes on Buffalo to see who gets their hand raised.