Bethe Correia defeated Jessamyn Duke at UFC 172 in April, but she got more attention for her post-interview actions.
As the camera was focused on her, she put up four fingers and placed one of them down. Why was this significant?
For the fans that stay away from social media, Duke has begun training full-time with Ronda Rousey and crew. Also joining her was The Ultimate Fighter teammate Shayna Baszler. Baszler brought a love of professional wrestling to the group, and they bonded over that.
Since then, those three, plus Marina Shafir, have called themselves the Four Horsewomen as a play on the gamed professional wrestling group the Four Horsemen.
The playful moniker has grabbed the group some attention, and Correia is using it to her advantage.
The women’s bantamweight division is shallow, and Rousey has a short list of potential contenders. Correia is using the popularity of the Four Horsewomen in order to put her closer to a title shot, and by placing one of her fingers down post-fight, she signaled to the world that it was one down, three to go.
Factually, it is one down, two to go. Marina Shafir is a 145-pound fighter who recently made her pro debut. Her weight class is not offered by the UFC, and Correia has no way of fighting her at this time. Which only leaves Baszler and Rousey.
Was her gesture effective? Yes.
It is hard to tell how this will effect her chances of being the next contender should she get past Baszler, but it has placed her as one of the more marketable fights for Rousey.
Correia took advantage of an available storyline. Sure, it may make it a bit more professional wrestling for some fans' taste, but this is the promotion business. Correia is promoting an angle to get herself noticed. It is working.
We have heard fighters again and again talk on the microphone that they’ll fight anyone the UFC puts them against, and they don’t want to call out fighters. That is great for the UFC but a disservice to their own careers. Had Correia done just that after beating Duke, we would not be talking about her now.
That is why it was brilliant. She gave fans and the media a talking point. Correia has kept her name relevant post-fight. She has created an angle for her fights. It was a great personal business move and one the UFC can benefit from as well.
Promoters can more easily sell fights when there is a backstory, and now, Correia has one with Baszler and Rousey.
The August 2 date against Baszler will not be highly anticipated by everyone, including Rousey.
The Pitbull is an undefeated fighter who is now putting herself at the top of the list for a potential title shot, proving that it is smart to take advantage of the spectacle when the opportunity presents itself.