Chris Weidman's bid to make his return to the middleweight division a memorable one is gathering steam after the 35-year-old agreed to face Jack Hermansson at UFC Fight Night 174 in May.
ESPN's Brett Okamoto reported Weidman's agreement to be in the main event at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, pending signatures:
Weidman, a former champion in the 185-pound division, is looking to rebound from a sketchy run that has included just one win in his last six bouts.
Okamoto reported how Weidman's dire 1-5 recent record can be explained, at least in part, by the fact six fights have come against top-level competition.
Yoel Romero and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza are among those to taste victory against Weidman in that span. There is also Dominick Reyes, who floored Long Island native Weidman after one minute, 43 seconds of the opening round at UFC on ESPN 6 back in October.
Not everybody is convinced Weidman still deserves top billing on a fight card:
Losing to Reyes has prompted Weidman's decision to ignore the lure of Light Heavyweight gold and focus on getting back to 185 pounds and bossing a division he once thrived in.
Even so, this many setbacks still fresh in the minds of fight fans makes challenging Hermansson a bold and risky move. Okamoto also noted how the Swede will have a point to prove following his defeat by Jared Cannonier.
Hermansson was knocked out in the main event at Fight Night 160 back in September. However, the fighter with a 20-5 record was on his way to earning a shot at the title before the loss, per Okamoto.
An emphatic putdown of Weidman would quickly get "The Joker" back on track. As for Weidman, one more defeat via stoppage will raise uncomfortable questions about how much he has left for the Octagon and whether he still belongs at the level of a main-eventer.