Despite Dustin Poirier and Nate Diaz repeatedly banging down the doors asking for their UFC 230 co-main event to be not just for the main event, but a championship bout in the 165-pound division, their hopes were dashed by Tuesday’s news that Valentina Shevchenko will fight Sijara Eubanks for the women’s flyweight title.
While the 165-pound division actually does exist, it’s up to individual promoters to determine whether or not they want to implement it, and the UFC obviously doesn’t have a 165-pound weight class. Dana White spoke with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto about why Diaz and Poirier weren’t chosen to headline the November 3rd pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden.
“We never... I shouldn’t say we never, maybe a couple of times in the history the [UFC pay-per-view] main event has not been a title fight. We were still building that card, still making fights, and still needed a main event, so we got it done,” White said.
Well “a couple of times” is just complete nonsense. Conor McGregor’s two-fight series with Nate Diaz didn’t have a title on the line. Anderson Silva fought Nick Diaz at UFC 183 in a non-title bout. Rashad Evans fought Dan Henderson in a three-round, non-title main event at UFC 161. Mauricio Rua vs. Dan Henderson, one of the greatest fights in UFC history, headlined UFC 139. There are plenty of examples you can point to over the UFC’s two-decades of being in the pay-per-view business that render White’s statement thoroughly inaccurate. Now if you want to cut White some slack, Silva vs. Diaz, McGregor vs. Diaz I and II are the only UFC PPVs since 2015 not to have a title on the line in the main event.
As for the UFC’s refusal to include the 165-pound weight class, White is adamant that they have enough divisions as is, and that the end result would mean thinning out the depths of 155 and 170.
“Never even considered it,” White said. “It’s all just talk, I never even considered it. First of all, you make 165-pounds, you’re gonna start pulling people from the 170-pound division. And you’re going to see a lot of people from 170 and 155 that couldn’t win a title jumping to 165 to try to fight for a title there. It just doesn’t make sense.
“We’ve always kept things simple. One of the things about boxing is you used to have junior middleweight, super-middleweight, and all these different weights, and it was hard to follow. You didn’t really know who was the champion, and this is pretty simple and easy to follow. We have enough weight classes.”
You can watch the full interview with White and Okamoto at the top of the page.