Fronted by Luke Thomas
Some might consider calling Dana White a magician above and beyond the realm of flattery. But consider this: two months ago, with Sylvia’s departure, Lesnar’s loss to Mir and Couture’s gnashing teeth, the UFC’s once mighty heavyweight division appeared to be headed towards a dark age. Who could know that in such a short frame of time Sylvia’s departure would be considered addition by subtraction, Lesnar would dominate Herring (propelling him into relevance) and Couture would be hugging Dana White on his YouTube blog in a purple Kangol hat (with suddenly gleaming teeth, no less)? And what dark wizardry could bring a Couture vs. Lesnar super fight to the forefront of the MMA universe? It just so happens it’s the same magic that has thrown the entire (and suddenly formidable) UFC heavyweight division into a vortex. I intend to do my best to sort it all out, or at least to consider some of the very real possibilities.
The major debris in the clockwork revolves primarily around two factors:
A) The Four Way Title Fight
B) Fabricio; Lost in Space
A) The question has arisen (and will continue to, with increasing frustration); who is the real champion? And who will be the real champion after UFC 91 and UFC 92? Will Brock Lesnar truly be considered the legit champ in beating Randy Couture before Mir and Big Nog even face one another? In either circumstance, should Brock emerge victorious, there exists a concern. Minotauro was the man Brock had clearly been working towards and Mir is the one man that has defeated Brock. Lesnar could not be considered the true titleholder without facing and defeating the victor of that match. Then could Couture be considered the true champ in the case that he emerges victorious? My solution to this particular problem is to simply call it a four-man title tournament to decide the real champion. This could suitably deny Brock the championship without defeating Minotauro (should he himself emerge victorious). I understand the issues involving Minotauro being the interim champ and Couture perhaps insisting that he be considered the champion upon his return. But all of these gentlemen are very clear in the eventual objective; ‘why all the confusion?’ I say.
B) Poor Fabricio Werdum is essentially left out in the cold. I know that not everyone believes he was a clear next-in-line based on his accomplishments in the octagon to date, but it has been implied. Unfortunately for Werdum, he is a victim of the market outgrowing him. He’ll have to survive at least two more contending fights (by my logic) to get another title shot and it is quite likely that in that space he’ll face the likes of Cain Velasquez, Shane Carwin and/or Cheick Kongo.
Beyond those questions, there are several other interesting match-ups to consider. Carwin and Gonzaga are being handed cans (Neil Wain at 89 and Josh Hendricks at 91, respectively) while Cheick was supposedly offered a fight with Lesnar and the aforementioned Werdum is in limbo. Velasquez, meanwhile, is reportedly unable to find an opponent— but in this new UFC Heavyweight landscape, should find someone anxious to prove they’re next (to next, to next) in line for a title shot. Could that suitor be Heath Herring, who may be fighting for his UFC life? And could a consequent possibility be Kongo vs. Werdum as a mathematic result? Lastly, what combination of losers in title fights A and B constitute a losers match-up? Brock vs. Mir, at least, would be sure fire.
And of course, no heavyweight conversation involving Couture would be complete without a nod to Fedor (who is reportedly also suddenly interested in facing Lesnar). Knowing full well that the UFC has made some loose vow to Randy that they would pursue a Fedor/Couture fight, the talk of Stary Oskol vs. America will not die down any day soon.
It’s an exciting and promising picture, to be sure. One could say Dana sold his soul, if it hadn’t been said so many times before.