Some may hail this as a different age of UFC main events. More cards mean weaker offerings from top to bottom. But, if I had to choose an example of such booking, I'm not sure this would be it. A battle between two top ten lightweights, still both in spitting distance of the title is hardly the sort of fight that I would worry about in terms of watered down content. Neither man may be super reliable in terms of wins and losses, but both fighters have recently shown that they are fully capable of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat (or just plain dominating lower tier competition). The matchup was announced by Rodrigo del Campo of IndiscutidoLA via Twitter on Thursday.
For Jim Miller, this will be a chance for him to once again take on ranked competition. After his bout with Bobby Green fell through at UFC 172, it's now been two straight fights that Miller has ended up matched against fighters well outside the lightweight top 15. Cerrone is a big step up from Yancy Medeiros, and the kind of challenge that could give Miller a nice boost up the rankings on his way toward the top 5 and a potential title shot down the line. After his most recent fight, Miller asked Joe Silva for a higher ranked fighter than himself, it looks like he's getting his wish.
For Cerrone, Miller is the latest in a string of top opponents looking to use "The Cowboy" as a stepping stone to increased divisional relevance. A win over Miller would be Cerrone's 4th straight since dropping a fairly one sided unanimous decision to Rafael dos Anjos. It's the kind of win streak that, past losses or no, could see him back at the top gunning for a slot as a no. 1 contender. The lightweight top ten is as deep as ever, but this is just the right kind of matchup to give one fighter a much needed boost and establish the the other in a more permanent gatekeeper role.
As for how the two men matchup, it's really difficult to tell at just this moment. Both fighters have recently come from behind to win fights they were losing, but both fighters have looked singularly dominant as well. This battle may come down to a case of who is "on" on fight night, and who isn't. UFC Fight Night Atlantic City takes place on July 16th, so the only other bout on the card is Aljamain Sterling vs. Hugo Viana.