This last week or so my own little world of interests and opportunities has been electric. I won't bore you with details of my personal life, how some writing projects are starting to come to fruition in a nice way. I'm also not going to waste time about getting Star Wars Episode 7-9, how Pacific Rim is going to be the blockbuster to end all blockbusters, how sweet World War Z looks, how much I'm anticipating The Hobbit trilogy, or Jurassic Park in 3D, or any of that...
But I WOULD like to ramble on just a little bit about the new era of the UFC that we seem to be entering.
I would say that the unofficial start of this new era is December of this year. We're getting a Fox card headlined by a title fight and otherwise stacked to the rafters. We are getting a TUF Finale that features legitimate fights instead of numerous matches between this season's TUF-ers. We are also getting a PPV that is arguably the be tip top-to-very bottom card of the entire year.
However, even THAT is just preview showings. 2013 is Opening Weekend. In January, Strikeforce will FINALLY have it's final show, and after that, presumably all of their best and brightest fighters will be making their way to the UFC. This means the women's 135 division as well. In FACT, Rousey is already the inaugural UFC women's Bantamweight champion, and a little lady by the name of Miesha Tate is also already signed.
The UFC is going to have a full blown 9 divisions. It's going to have a Women's division, and the top end of several weight classes are going to be bolstered by the male Strikeforce imports.The UFC will finally be able to stop worrying about managing two promotions, and all efforts will be able to go into making the UFC bigger and badder than before...and the evidence of that is already apparent.
The early reports for the UFC cards in January and February are very encouraging. Fox 6 will once again have another title fight, along with an exciting, must-see main card to support it. FX 7 is being graced with the best headliner FX has seen thus far between Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort. UFC 156 is slated to have the long-talked about matchup between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar, as well as reportedly having Dan Henderson fighting Lyoto Machida in the co-main. As much as people hate the decision from a sporting perspective, chances are that Sonnen and Jones on TUF is going to make for some pretty interesting television, and on a much better night of 'Not Friday'. It could go a long way toward revitalizing the show and moving Jones more into super-stardom.
The UFC also seems actively interested in delivering on super-fights and other dream match ups. If GSP beats Condit, Anderson is reportedly set to challenge him in-ring after the fight. GSP vs Anderson Silva has been hyped and talked about for years, and it would be one of the biggest fights of all time. Seemingly, if Condit wins, a still enticing grudge match with a returning Nick Diaz could still await GSP. Word around the campfire is that the UFC is also ready to go after Anderson Silva vs Jon Jones if circumstances allow. Meanwhile, opportunities such as Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight are also looming in the shadows.
I'm sure I'm sounding over-zealous and over-optimistic and all around giddy in an obscene fanboy-ish way. But it's the truth. Injuries and any number of things could come along and ruin everything, but Strikeforce folding and having WMMA in the UFC is injury proof. It's happening and it's huge.
Seeing how some of these cards are lined up, hearing about Strikeforece folding and all of the great fighters that are/could come over to the UFC, hearing tid-bits about some of the UFC's fight plans DOES get me stoked. Hell, even things like Bellator moving to Spike is fun to see, because it might put the UFC in "fight for people's attention" mode, which shouldn't hurt. I'm extremely excited for the future of the sport.