Wednesday, June 24, 2009
As we tend to do in the fight game, speculation and rumors are running wild about who will be headlining the yet to be announced Fall fights in the UFC. While we know UFC 103 is going to take place in Dallas, we don't know who will have their names up in lights.
One co-main event fight sounds like it's going to be Mike Swick versus Matt Hughes, which I'll talk about some other time when the violent rage the thought of this fight builds in me subsides.
Another bout that is getting a lot of talk around the Internet is a heavyweight eliminator bout between Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez. For the love of all things holy, Joe Silva - please don't make this fight!
Not that it wouldn't be awesome. Of course it would; both are impressive specimens with unblemished records and would provide a quality heavyweight tilt.
That being said, why would you even consider throwing one of your prized heavyweight prospects under the bus?
Each of these guys have been on the receiving end of the UFC hype machine (with good reason) and stand somewhere in line behind the winner of the Couture - Nogueira fight as the next challenger for the heavyweight title. In my books, Carwin is ahead of Velasquez and by a decent margin at that.
Sticking these two inside the octagon together would automatically bump the loser down the charts and ruin the momentum the UFC has spent the last year and change building with each of them.
Cain already hit a minor speed bump in his uneventful decision win over Cheick Kongo last month in Germany and having his face smashed in by the frying pans Carwin launches would send him back to the preliminary card against newcomers like it has Gabe Gonzaga.
If the opposite were to happen and Velasquez came away with the win - most likely through some serious wrestling / ground and pound combo - Carwin takes the same fall and guys like me would start talking about how he's one dimensional and needs to build on his powerful striking.
Either way, a guy that the UFC has put serious effort into promoting falls a few rungs lower on the ladder and for what? To build up another guy that everyone already expects to see fighting for the heavyweight title within the next year?
The real problem is that there are few true challengers in the UFC heavyweight division. Six guys have cleaned out the division really, leaving matches between themselves as the only meaningful options to fans.
Some combination of Lesnar, Mir, Couture, Nogueria, Carwin and Velasquez have beaten everyone else the UFC could possible throw into the mix, which is why we're set to see the debut of a bunch of new heavyweights like Todd Duffee and Chris Tuchscherer.
Outside of bringing in guys like Jeff Monson, Ben Rothwell or *shudder* Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia, Carwin and Velasquez almost have to fight or else face an extended period of inactivity.
Unfortunately, it means one great prospect moves forward while the other takes a big step backwards.
Funny, I always thought the idea was to have as many ready and worthy challengers as possible, not leave yourself with only one option.