After weeks of searching for a main event for UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, it appears as if the UFC has settled on a women’s flyweight title fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Sijara Eubanks. In the process, the UFC has uprooted a scheduled title bout between Shevchenko and Joanna Jedrzejczyk for UFC 231.
Reaction from fans has been overwhelmingly negative, as Shevchenko has been placed in a less compelling matchup, and certainly not one that garners more interest than the potential of five rounds between Dustin Poirier and Nate Diaz, who will remain the UFC 230 co-headliners.
Even longtime UFC analyst Joe Rogan was completely caught off-guard by this news while recording his podcast with Brendan Schaub. In fact, he admitted on-air that he doesn’t know who Eubanks is, even though he’s likely going to be calling her title fight on November 3rd.
“What?!” Rogan’s reaction to the report of Shevchenko vs. Eubanks.
“No offense, but I don’t even know who Sijara Eubanks is, and I’m the commentator for the UFC,” Rogan added.
Eubanks was on season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter, winning all three tournament bouts on her way to the final to face Nicco Montano for the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title, but she had to withdraw after she was hospitalized on weigh-in day over a bad weight cut. Eubanks (3-2) returned to the Octagon in June and defeated Lauren Murphy by unanimous decision. Prior to Tuesday, Eubanks was slated to fight Jessica Eye at UFC 232 but is getting a title shot instead. She’s a quality prospect who has fought at both bantamweight and flyweight, but she did have difficulties making weight even during the TUF tournament, so that’s got to be a concern.
It’s probably not a good thing for the lead UFC voice to say out loud that he doesn’t know one of the title challengers for a pay-per-view main event, but Rogan’s quote sure feels appropriate for general response to this compeletely unexpected decision.