Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman is ready to return to the top of the middleweight division once he is physically and mentally fit again.

Weidman (14-3) was notably the first fighter to end Anderson Silva's dominant run as champion as he went on to defend his title three times from 2013 to 2015.

"The All-American" would later suffer defeat for the first time in his career at the hands of Luke Rockhold at UFC 194 when he was finished via brutal ground and pound strikes in the fourth round of their middleweight title contest in December 2015.

Weidman would then suffer a further two consecutive losses when he lost to Yoel Romero at UFC 205 in November 2016 and Gegard Mousasi at UFC 210 in April 2017, with many wondering if he was finally past his prime.

However, he snapped a three-fight losing streak when he defeated exciting prospect Kelvin Gastelum via an arm triangle choke at UFC Long Island in July last year in what was his best performance in years in front of a hometown crowd.

But the New Yorker was unable to build any momentum from his victory as a thumb injury followed by multiple surgeries on it, most recently earlier this month, kept him on the sidelines for much longer than previously anticipated.

As he heals up from his second surgery, the 33-year-old still feels like he is very young in his MMA career and hopes to become a two-time champion at 185 pounds.

Chris Weidman
Chris Weidman last fought in July last year after snapping a three-fight losing streak. Pictured: Chris Weidman celebrates his submission win over Kelvin Gastelum (not shown) in their UFC Fight Night middleweight bout at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on July 22, 2017, in Uniondale, New York. Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

"I have some great fights coming for myself. I have accomplished a lot, but I am still young in my MMA career, as far as fights," Weidman said, as quoted on MMAMania. "I have a lot of great things coming. I'm not to the point where I am going to start looking back and wishing or saying 'If I wasn't injured for that, or this things would be different.'"

"I am very blessed in where I am in this sport. I am blessed for everything I have accomplished so far and I am blessed with the abilities that I have. When I speak and say I am the best in the world and have the capability to dominate everybody in my weight class, I really believe that. If I give half of my energy to this sport and really didn’t give 100-percent of my mental to this sport, then I could finish my career as a fan favorite; win some, lose some, win some big fights, lose some big fights," he added.

"But I feel I really have the mentality and the physical abilities to completely dominate my weight class. I have to get back physically first with this hand, and get my mentality where I need to be and I can run through everybody."

Weidman was initially pegged to face Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza but the Brazilian will be facing Gastelum at UFC 224 next month. A return fight could potentially take place against one of his bitter rivals Rockhold or former champion Michael Bisping, both of whom are coming off losses.

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