In July, I wrote an article concerning the next few months of the UFC titled “Are We On The Cusp Of Witnessing UFC Greatness?” due to the abundance of packed events planned.
Well, taking a page from the book of UFC president Dana White, anything can happen.
August went from a springboard to the rest of the year to a month the promotion will likely forget as quickly as possible.
That isn’t taking anything away from the performances put forth by the likes of UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, Michael Bisping, Rafael dos Anjos or Ryan Bader, things just didn’t go as planned.
It all started with the infamous “brawl” between light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, and concluded with the failed weigh-in by title-contender Renan Barao that led to Joe Soto making his UFC debut in the main event of a pay-per-view for the belt.
Pretty crazy story, and one that actually tops that of Patrick Cummins from earlier this year.
Most feel the UFC is trying to do too much with too little at the moment. If you look at the list of champions in the promotion, many are injured or just now recovering from injuries. That includes Cain Velasquez, Jones, Johny Hendricks, Anthony Pettis, Jose Aldo and Ronda Rousey. In fact, only Dillashaw, Demetrious Johnson and Chris Weidman have remained healthy this year.
Is the UFC trying to do too much with too little? It’s hard to say because of the injuries – or exits – to champions and big names like Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva. If they had a complete deck to work with, maybe they could be jam-packing event after event and avoiding all this talk of “watering down the product.”
One thing that seems to be getting overlooked is the fact that all these issues and problems are presenting opportunities for other fighters to step up – and they are stepping up in a big way.
Take Dillashaw for instance. He’s earned two pay-per-view main event wins with fifth round finishes. He’s gone from the shadows of Urijah Faber and the rest of Team Alpha Male, to the top dog wearing UFC gold.
“Mighty Mouse” has scored PPV main events and helped push the flyweight division into a good place at the moment. Weidman is already a household name and only continues to grow.
Others like Bader, Bisping, dos Anjos and Soto have taken their shots and now find themselves as known fighters among all MMA fans.
Looking ahead, the UFC will return to FOX Sports 1 this Friday night with a card highlighted by Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Gegard Mousasi before heading to Brazil later this month for a Fight Pass event. They proceed to Japan for another Fight Pass card before closing out September with Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso on pay-per-view.
Four events, over four weeks in four different parts of the world.
Despite having an August to forget, the UFC can still close out 2014 with a bang starting here and now. We’ll just have to wait and see if all goes as planned and remains on scheduled.