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Weidman: UFC 292 prelim placement 'disrespectful'

Mike Roach / UFC / Getty

Chris Weidman thinks he should be on the UFC 292 main card.

For the first time since UFC 139 in 2011, the former middleweight champion has been placed on a preliminary card for his comeback fight against Brad Tavares. Weidman makes his long-awaited return Saturday night in Boston after breaking his leg two years ago.

The New York native dubbed himself "the king of the prelims" with a chuckle, but he considers the placement of his fight an inconsiderate move by the promotion.

"It's kind of disrespectful, to be honest," Weidman told ESPN's Marc Raimondi on Wednesday. "I'm not going to pretend like it's not. To be out for two years with a broken (leg) - I broke my leg on the mats of the UFC on a pay-per-view. ... First fully packed arena in Jacksonville (since the COVID-19 pandemic). Put my body on the line, and then they put me on a prelim? That's a bad idea."

Weidman, 39, is looking to get back on track after snapping his leg in gruesome fashion just 17 seconds into an April 2021 bout against Uriah Hall. The fight with Tavares is scheduled to be the featured preliminary bout. Weidman, who held the UFC middleweight title from 2013-15, has said he plans to go on another title run starting with a win this weekend, which means this comeback isn't one and done.

Weidman had been on a UFC main card for 14 consecutive fights, including six main events. The last time he was on the prelims, he was competing in his seventh pro fight and third in the UFC. And he was just two years into his pro MMA career at the time. The silver lining to fighting Tavares in the UFC 292 featured prelim, Weidman said, is that it serves as extra fuel.

"It probably works out for everybody at the end of the day because it's a little bit of motivation," Weidman said. "It's like, 'Alright, motherf-ers, you disrespect me like that. What, do you think I'm done? Do you think I'm here to just see how I feel?' No, I'm here to make a statement."

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