The last few months has seen the term ‘number one contender’ in the UFC is losing any real meaning following the awarding of title bouts to fighters coming off losses, in so blurring the natural progressions within weight classes.
First came motor-mouth middleweight Chael Sonnen, who leapfrogged the entire 205 pound division for a title shot against Jon Jones, before Nick Diaz, who is coming to the end of one year suspension, lost in his previous bout but still looks odds on to brush past the stone cold number one contender at 170 pounds Johny Hendricks, who has blitzed all and sundry of late.
It appears the UFC is taking too much from the WWE business model, placing a heightened emphasis on being able to hype the fight and getting the most revenue. This is a dangerous game when you see lopsided title fights, which is bound to happen when Bones Jones smashes Chael Sonnen into obscurity, again.
Nick Diaz has a puncher’s chance against GSP, but that’s about it. The welterweight champ can take him down in his sleep and do pretty much whatever he likes, after softening him up with the usual ground and pound from full mount. These won’t make for great live sporting spectacles and pre-arranged trash talk is just not good enough in modern day MMA. The UFC built their name from having even match-ups, something they are wandering away from.
The real fight to make at 170 pounds is between GSP vs Hendricks, who has a sporting chance of being able to stop the GSP takedown long enough to land his trademark big left hand. From a sporting spectacle point of view, that takes the cake. Not a bunch of middle fingers and St Pierre executing the double-leg takedown at will.
At 205 pounds the most competitive fight that the UFC could make is between Jones and Alexander Gustafsson, two young lions in their prime battling it out. Dan Henderson’s knee seems to be a stumbling block for the former Pride Champion’s return, and one gets the feeling that relations between himself and UFC boss Dana White are far from rosy, following a rich history of drama between the two alpha males of the sport.
By awarding fighters coming off a loss a title shot you also blur the natural food chain that is organically fostered within a weight class. If you start watering down the product for the sake of quick bucks, the golden goose will soon follow.