Rashad Evans will fight Daniel Cormier in the UFC 170 main-event in a light heavyweight fight. Cormier will make his debut at 205 in this fight. The fight is odd for a few reasons. The most prevelant being that the UFC is taking a huge gamble here with Cormier with little payoff in the interim.
The UFC has nothing for Jon Jones after an Alexander Gustaffson rematch and that is not guaranteed. While hot shotting Daniel Cormier to the front of the light heavyweight line makes little sense, a winnable fight to get there is logical. Rashad Evans in a five-round fight is probably the least winnable fight for Cormier to take in his 205 debut.
The UFC headlining with this also makes little sense to me. Evans is not a draw. Fans respect him but don’t want to pay money to watch him in the headline fight. His style of fight is not a big secret and after eight years fans know what they are going to get. The last time the UFC tried to headline with Evans, he and Dan Henderson drew the lowest buyrate of the year. To put it into perspective, The Korean Zombie vs. Jose Aldo reportedly outdrew Henderson vs. Evans.
What if Evans wins? I am already predicting a win here for the former light heavyweight champion. Cormier may be bigger but Evans has far superior conditioning to outlast Cormier in five-rounds. Theoretically Evans should go to the front of the line with his third straight win. Which begs the question, who in the world wants to see another Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans fight? I certainly don’t.
So what is the payoff here? I could see putting the fight together and mortgaging the Cormier-Jones fight if this was some kind of a big draw. It’s not. While Cormier has dominated since entering the UFC, he hasn’t had any exciting fights. How in the world could the UFC rationalize putting this on as a pay per view headliner?
I’ll dig a little deeper here for a conspiracy. The UFC wants Cormier to stay at heavyweight. Cormier has no interest in fighting the champion so he is moving to 205. What does Cormier do if he loses? I think the UFC are banking on Cormier losing and moving back to heavyweight. Friend or not, is Cormier going to stay in a division and damage his marketability or go back to a division in which he is undefeated? At that point the UFC are thinking that Cormier goes back to heavyweight and Velasquez has a much-needed new opponent past Fabricio Werdum or Barnett/Browne.
That’s the only explanation I got.