In what can only be described as a shameful effort to promote the upcoming UFC on Fox 4 broadcast, Dana White confirmed one of the most shocking MMA rumors of last week. The winner of Shogun Rua vs. Brandon Vera will indeed get the next UFC light heavyweight title shot.
I don’t know where to begin other than the obvious. I have no idea with a straight face who White can promote either Rua or Vera with a win as the next championship challenger. For a guy that has taken plenty of potshots at boxing and rival MMA companies for their weak matchmaking, White has really stuck his foot in his mouth with this one. Even the UFC light heavyweight champion is scratching his head…literally.
“Scratching my head “@FightCoveMike: @JonnyBones The winner of Shogun vs. Vera is guaranteed #1 contender at 205.” – @JonnyBones
The only thing that I can speculate at this point is that this whole declaration is a ruse. It isn’t as if White has declared number one contenders in the past, only to change his mind days, weeks, or even hours later. The only difference here is that this announcement is so preposterous, that the entire MMA world has their eyes on this story. For White to say something like this and then completely back off of it would make him look even more foolish at this point.
One thing we can all agree on is that the UFC light heavyweight division is in limbo. The division has often been recognized in the past as the most competitive. Today, it is a division with one leader miles ahead of the pack. There is no real clear cut number one contender in the division. I am not a Ryan Bader fan at all, but at this point I think he is the only one barely deserving of a title shot should he defeat Lyoto Machida on the same UFC on Fox 4 event.
Somewhere in a closed office I have to believe that Dana White is just having a big laugh at this big practical joke he is pulling on the MMA media. I mean he can’t be serious can he? How absurd would it be to see Brandon Vera get a title shot when quite honestly, Vera wouldn’t even be in the UFC right now if not for Thiago Silva’s failed PED test. Promoting Shogun would not be nearly as absurd, yet it would be ridiculous in its own right. A loss to Dan Henderson and a win over Brandon Vera suddenly earns a fighter a championship fight? I am not saying I don’t want to see a Jones vs. Rua rematch because I do. I just think that Rua needs at least one more win other than a victory of Vera to get it.
Of course the punchline to this bad joke could be Dan Henderson winning. Henderson winning would immediately open up the door to promote a Jones vs. Henderson rematch, giving Dana a free pass at his mistimed matchmaking. Unfortunately for the UFC that is a lot to ask for.
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