Just what exactly was UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, who isn’t even on the card for the fight in Macao this Saturday, doing at this media Q&A with UFC President Dana White? Has Rousey been promoted to Chief Media Liaison for the UFC? The question may be somewhat satirical but in all honesty if that’s part of her role now then she handled herself very well. Rousey was engaging, expressive and exhibited a relaxed yet genuine candor with the media. All while sitting on an uncomfortably small steel stool equivalent of a chair.
Besides some of Ronda’s pop culture related answers and her extreme desire to promote the “Expendables 3” film as much as possible, the first 20 minutes stumbled along with a generally dull and awkward ambience that seemed to lead to nowhere of interest until finally the subject changes to Eddie Alvarez. No huge surprise on how Dana responded to questions about him and his recent departure from Bellator. Except for the fact he was generally neutral toward the rival promotion, merely highlighting that if fighters want to make enough money during their career to build a nest egg for the future then the UFC is where to do it. We’re pretty sure some fighters might argue, but at the same time they certainly don’t have the worst payouts in the industry. Those honors go to names who will not be mentioned in this article.
But then, just when you’d think the malaise might set in again, a mere second after the Cantonese translator finished parroting Dana White’s last answer, another journalist asked an excellent question, one that really made White think.
At 22 minutes into the Q&A an unidentified member of the press asks, “Dana, are you going to make the Super Fights happen?”
Dana White responded, “I want to, that’s my job. I hope that’s what I’m gonna do. We’ve talked super fights in the past and for some reason or another they didn’t happen. Now, when we talk super fights lets talk about just what ‘super fight’ means.” He went on to explain, “If you have the Georges St. Pierre against the Anderson Silva [or] when you have the Anderson Silva vs the Jon Jones guys. The guys who’ve held on to the titles, the guys who’ve cleaned out almost an entire division.” But then White clarified, “Any super fights that we’re looking at right now, in my opinion, would be like a, uh, Anthony Pettis vs. Jose Aldo, even though Pettis has been injured for a while now and hasn’t defended the title… He beat Henderson, Henderson who had annihilated that whole division. He beat him and he beat him easily. And Jose Aldo and Pettis have been talking to each other about moving back and forth, to take each other’s belts.” He briefly continued with that thought then threw Daniel Cormier’s name into the mix, recanting his record of wins from the Heavyweight division. But then he left the media hanging with no real opponent identified for the supposed Cormier super fight.
Why wasn’t Jon Jones even mentioned? Especially when you have Cormier going down to Light Heavyweight to fight Jones in Spring of 2015? Shouldn’t that have been his first response? It would certainly be an easy plug for the UFC PPV featuring the two fighters. Or did White not consider Jones seasoned enough to enter the category of a Super Fight contender? Perhaps he knew something about Jones’ career plans he wasn’t sharing with the public yet?
Sure, it’s all just speculation but there is one thing we could safely conclude from the answer. There weren’t a single pair of names that truly met the qualifications for a super fight in the UFC at this time. And if there were Dana either didn’t want to suggest them or didn’t believe they qualified. Sure Aldo and Pettis would be a great fight, but as Dana even admitted, he hasn’t defended the title since first taking it from Henderson in almost a year.
Now, Henderson versus Aldo (had Henderson remained undefeated) could have been a super fight. He won his last three matches and defended the title successfully 3 times before his loss to Pettis. Shouldn’t he be due for a rematch with Pettis to attempt to reclaim the title? It was done for Silva. And Silva never needed nor was he asked to get back in the mix with the rest of the division. The more I examined the super fight prospects the more I was driven to an inevitable question.
How could the promotion that has the “greatest fighters in the world” not have a single super fight worth mentioning? Even if they didn’t happen it was always fun to speculate on those matches. It was also good story telling for the top class fighters to call each other out from time to time. There was a certain inspiring ideal that came from the possibility of these super fights so why not have a few more names on hand to throw out to get the media buzzing?
My guess was there’s probably too much churn in the ranks because there isn’t enough attention being given to any single group of fighters outside of women’s Bantam weight division, enter Ronda Rousey at the Macao Q&A. Now I could see why the UFC might be inclined to have her pop open a few more tomato cans before she went up against anyone like Cyborg. Given the lack of veteran title holders I’d be surprised if that fight happened any time soon. Besides, as much as Ronda might say she wants to fight Cyborg, it would make much more sense for her to milk that UFC title run for every penny it’s worth and graciously bow out of the sport like Georges St. Pierre did.
That all being said, to heck with it. Who needs a “Super Fight” when you’ve got Fight Pass? (I’ve just trademarked that slogan; Only kidding.) So what does this really mean for the UFC? Are their divisions too congested with talent to allow some cream to rise and stay at the top? Is it even a concern, and if not should it be? Perhaps the UFC could spend more time cultivating some of these fighters. If they’d invest just a little more effort in building their personas they might discover or even invent the next Georges St. Pierre or Anderson Silva of the future.