Oh, how quickly the MMA world turns on a dime. I remember on the night of June 26th there was much jubilation from those who were not fans of Fedor, including Dana's infamous tweeted ":D", and quickly Brock Lesnar was lofted to the # 1 heavyweight ranking in the world. As Brocktober comes to a close I think we can all look at last night's performance, and Brock's 5-2 record, and all agree that Brock does not deserve the rank of the #1 heavyweight in the world. He doesn't really deserve top 5 status. Let's continue to be frank, the UFC heavyweight division is in chaos. Kid Nate noted a quote from Matt Bishop today that drew my attention:
This is going to set in motion an interesting year in the division, as the heavyweight division's "big six" all will likely meet each other.
The "big six"? So, this includes Cain, JDS. Brock, Carwin, Mir and Nelson? Wow. Yikes.
It has been talked about that Brock should fight Frank Mir next. Really? It is a fight I personally would or could care less about. I don't see Frank in the top tier of fighters anymore. His victory over Cro Cop did nothing to move the needle for me. I believe Brock should face the winner of Carwin vs Nelson and Mir should get Schaub. The thing is, I can see Nelson beating Carwin, especially if Carwin comes out like a bull in china shop. There is always going to be a tainted cloud around Carwin, both in regards to his cardio and the PED implications. Sorry, Shane, you did it to yourself, as the Radiohead song goes. A defeat to Nelson would send him further down the rung and given his attitude closer to out the door of UFC. As far as Roy goes let's remember that before winning TUF Nelson was coming off back to back defeats at the hands of Arlovski and Monson.
I don't really see a "big six". I see a big three. And as Kid Nate pointed out from Dave Walsh's article today Brock has a tendency to bolt when the going gets tough, so there could just be a big two. That's a bleak scenario for the heavyweight division, which we all know is where the real money is and always will be made in any combat sport. Which, finally, brings us back to the title of this article.
Fedor has one more fight left on his contract with Strikeforce. This past Monday, Evgeni Kogan, director of M-1's global operations, tweeted the following:
I think it is now obvious why an extension has not been signed. Maybe Evgeni got a call to wait till after UFC 121 played out before they did anything. I detailed in a previous fan post that there have been rumors of talks between Fedor's camp and the UFC, also I pointed out that M-1 dropped their demands of co-promoting with the UFC. Let's acknowledge something here. M-1, under the care of Evgeni Kogan is a different company than under Vadim. To get a sense of his more practical nature you can listen to Bloody Elbow's own, Luke Thomas, interview him here. They represent two different generations of Russian business men. Vadim's generation was so sure the American business man would screw him he would take preemptive measures to screw them first. Evgeni has a more global look at business and does not bare the scars of the previous generation. If Evgeni is given the keys to negotiate with the UFC then I think a deal could be reached. For M-1, I don't really think there is a choice. It is better for them to manage Fedor as a fighter and not advance co-promotion thru him. The Challenge series has been doing well and could be a great feeder for TUF. Fighters like Magomed and Guran would be perfect for the show. There are mutual interests here, especially after the Brock loss.
What should happen here is Fedor should run out his contract with Strikeforce, hopefully by avenging his defeat against Werdum, Brock should face, and hopefully defeat the winner of Carwin/Nelson, and finally we should see Brock versus Fedor for the #1 contender spot for the heavyweight title. A fight against the storied Fedor might be something to keep Brock anchored to the UFC a little longer, and no matter the outcome he wins. If he beats Fedor he goes into the annals of MMA history, regaining a huge amount of luster he lost in last night's drubbing. If he loses, well, he did what many other greats did, fall to the stoic Russian. After watching how easily Brock was dismantled last night on his feet I think in a fight against Fedor he no longer holds an edge that many thought he would have. Fedor's casting punch, that has sent so many reeling, would be a great deterrent to Brock getting too close. And if he does, it is waiting for him.
Now, the path for Overeem is a bit more complex. I am not certain of what his contract situation is, each article I read on the subject gives me a different answer, and then there is whatever champion's clause there is in his deal. Of course he would have to give up K-1 completely. Dana said as much recently. If he wins the K-1 championship this year it should be much easier for him to put that part of his career to bed. As Cain and JDS now set to face off against each other for what should be truly epic heavyweight battles it would be very exciting to watch Alistair compete against say Carwin first and then the loser of the Cain/JDS bouts for his path to competing for the heavyweight title. I have high hopes for how good the JDS/Cain match up can be. I see a Machida/Shogun or Shamrock/Gracie type rivalry written all over it. But, eventually it will play out and there will be a Reem waiting in the end, if he can decide to make the United States his home for fighting. That's a big if. Either Reem is oh-so-great as his documentary and many others keep saying, or he is an excellent striker that will gas out against the right opponent and be exposed for glaring weaknesses, as Brock and Carwin have been these past months. But, let's give The Reem the benefit of the doubt for this article and say he is that good and could stand to stay on US soil for more than a fight every four years. That would put Reem potentially on a path to meet Fedor, finally, in the most unlikely scenario, for the UFC title.
Let's face it, Strikeforce has done a terrible job marketing Fedor and what he means to the sport. They have done even worse, for all of the five minutes Alistair has spent in the States, marketing him. If you put these two fighters into Zuffa's magical marketing machine, and against their current batch of fighters, the heavyweight division would come into another level that has not been seen in either Pride or UFC. It would truly be a golden era. UFC lost a huge cash cow last night. There are serious questions about the future of the division and what that los means for the entire company. On the horizon, however, looms an even larger cash cow. It seems that for once, maybe for the last time, the pieces are in place to do something special by bringing these two unique talents to the UFC. Such a move would completely change the overall picture of the company's most important division. The dream match ups become endless. It is clearly their best business opportunity facing them since they had the chance to acquire Pride. How often does Dana miss that kind of opportunity?