The UFC is starting to put the wheels in motion for its first FOX special of 2013. The UFC on FOX 6 is coming together with some star power, a title match, and championship eliminator, yet the card appears to be missing something.
The headliner (yes headliner) will feature the first title defense of the first UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson as he battles John Dodson. The idea that the UFC would headline a televised event with a fighter whose fight was just booed out of the building is perplexing to say the least. It is a gamble. If Johnson and Dodson have a good fight, the flyweight title and division are established as exciting. But are casual fans really going to tune in to watch a headliner featuring two guys that are smaller than most people in your audience?
The show will also feature what is likely a lightweight title eliminator between Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone. Again this is a Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller type of a fight that appeals to hardcore fans like me yet probably won’t resonate with casual fans. I like the fight and I think it’ll be exciting but how many fans are going to go out of their way in January?
Rampage Jackson may have given this card a much needed boost of star power when he tweeted that he would be fighting Glover Teixeira on the same event.
“Outside the cage I hate no one. Life is too short for that. In side the cage my Job is to destroy! Glover is done on Jan 26 n Chicago..” – @Rampage4Real
This is a great fight for television and a win-win situation for the UFC. The UFC will certainly capitalize off of Rampage’s star power and draw in some casual fans to the FOX event. At the same time, the UFC will have a chance to showcase Teixeira in front of a large audience. If Teixeira wins as is expected, he could be looked at as an immediate title contender for Jon Jones.
2013 will be a make or break year in the UFC and FOX deal. The first year was what many called a feeling out process between the two entities. The second year will be a put up or shut up year for the UFC. If the UFC numbers fall or lack any real mobility upwards, this relationship could get ugly by the end of the year, which is why going with this card is a curious move at best for the UFC and FOX.