The UFC should be keeping their fingers crossed.
Come the end of December, they have the chance to promote the biggest rematch in history, as Chris Weidman faces Anderson Silva at UFC 168 for the middleweight title.
Earlier this year, Weidman stunned the world when he floored Silva. It appeared as if the Brazilian was set to possibly retire after the loss, but he appears to be re-dedicated and in great shape – albeit, a few months out from any heavy training.
With the chance to market the once “pound for pound baddest man on the planet” against the up-and-coming superstar in Weidman once again, expect to see the UFC pull out all the stops.
Oh, and did I forget that Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate will also be colliding on the card for the UFC female bantamweight title? Not a bad way to end 2013.
That decision to pair those two bouts for the card should be the ultimate kick-start to 2014.
Hear me out……
This past year, the UFC moved much of the TV-side of things to FOX Sports 1. Not a totally drastic change, but a big enough one that they lost viewership numbers.
Not afraid to admit that, it will be several months now by the time January rolls around that the UFC and FOX Sports 1 have partnered up. Several cross-show events have taken place, as UFC president Dana White appears constantly on FOX Sports Live and was a guest on the hit show, The League.
Chael Sonnen has been a constant on both FS1 and FOX Sports 2, and the decision was made to expand UFC Tonight to an hour – and move it to a better time slot earlier in the evening.
All of this should mean an increase in numbers for the UFC.
Champions appear to be getting into a healthy state. That will be key, along with continuing development of the smaller weights.
Renan Barao, Jose Aldo, Demetrious Johnson and others in those ranks can really carry cards, they just need the chance to showcase their skills.
Pairing Barao with a Jon Jones-main event PPV was a great start, and allowed Barao to bask in the spotlight – until Jones and Alexander Gustafsson stole it all back.
Still, the idea was right.
Add in the rise of Rousey and the rest of the bantamweight female division, and I feel we will see the UFC take that next step in 2014 into a more mainstream sport light.