The UFC is hoping to rebound from a lackluster 2012 on pay per view with a big wish list of fights for 2013. The promotion is eyeing five big fights with hopes of shattering records and delivering fans the most exciting year in UFC history.
MMA writer Dave Meltzer breaks down the 2013 strategy in his latest issue of the Wrestling Observer newsletter. Meltzer breaks down the top five superfights with some context in what could turn into the most pivotal year in MMA history.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]“There is also the hope, obviously, that they can do a huge year on PPV if injuries don’t get in the way. Anderson Silva is going to the 11/17 show in Montreal. If GSP wins, they are going to have a call out or confrontation to set up Silva vs. GSP. Of course, GSP has to win his match. The idea or hope is to get Silva vs. GSP first, and if Silva wins, go with Silva vs. Jon Jones (provided Jones beats Chael Sonnen) later in the year. The idea is to do the major dream matches this year. If Silva doesn’t beat GSP and Jones remains champion, they could move to Jones against the heavyweight champion for a major year-end fight. The idea is if things go right to get two 1 million buy shows, plus big ones when Alistair Overeem goes for the heavyweight title, GSP vs. Nick Diaz if that one works out, along with Jones vs. Sonnen with the idea of five potential 700+ shows, plus Ronda Rousey vs. Cyborg which will garner a ton of attention even if the jury is very much out on what kind of numbers it would do.”
It is easy to get excited over this list but if there is one thing we saw in 2012 it is that the UFC fight schedule is often changing due to injuries and upsets. Right now there is only one fight on this list that is about as guaranteed as you’re going to get and that is the heavyweight title fight.
The only thing holding back this fight is Overeem and whether he can pass his drug tests before the fight. If he can than this fight is going to be huge, especially if it turns out to be JDS vs. Overeem. The anticipation for this fight has only grown since it was cancelled in the spring. Cain vs. Overeem is another intriguing fight but I don’t know if it will have that same kind of “pro wrestling” appeal that JDS vs. Overeem would have. Although the idea of seeing two heavyweight strikers go for the knockout in a championship fight will do huge numbers in its own right.
The company’s top draw Anderson Silva could be responsible for the biggest year in UFC revenues on his two fights alone. The pressure is on Georges St-Pierre to fight Silva but he doesn’t seem that interested in the fight. I am really surprised that the UFC is still pursuing this knowing St-Pierre’s lack of interest. I also think while this fight would be big, it would not be the blockbuster that some are predicting. I think the size mismatch is a lot to turn people off. It’ll be huge but I really don’t know if they can top UFC 100 numbers. I would be shocked if they sold out Texas Stadium as well. It will still be a big fight but I am real skeptical of this one happening.
GSP vs. Nick Diaz still has a lot of appeal among MMA fans. I know that Dana White recently said that Diaz would have to wait for his title shot but I’m not buying it. Slower than expected ticket sales for UFC 154 will shoot Diaz right to the front of the line to fight GSP. I would be shocked if Diaz fights anyone but GSP when he returns, unless the UFC can pull off the Silva fight. From all accounts it would appear that this is the fight GSP wants as well. I think this one would be big, much bigger than some people think. There is more intrigue about this fight than most people realize and I think it happens in 2013.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg Santos is another one that is almost guaranteed to happen. I don’t think Rousey is in a financial position to turn down the fight. The UFC is willing to build an entire division around her, yet I have to wonder how interested they’ll be if she turns down the money fight. I will say this about the fight. I don’t think this one is going to be nearly as big as people think. I still think that Women’s MMA has a long way to go with casual fans and while this one will certainly appeal to hardcore fans, I just don’t know if the landscape is right to take full advantage of this fight. I think this fight could open up that door, but are people willing to pay $50 to see a women’s fight at the top? Maybe, but I don’t think so.
Finally the UFC have high hopes with Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva. Silva’s recent 50% ownership demands don’t make this one likely, although I think it was said in jest. I think this one has the potential to shatter UFC numbers. Unfortunately they really screwed up booking Sonnen vs. Jones and should have gone here first. I still don’t know if they’d sell out Texas Stadium with this one, but they’d get more mainstream appeal than any other fight. As a fight fan I hope it happens. Dana White guarantees it, both fighters have finally opened the door, and the timing is just perfect.
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