Not all fight cards are created equal.
While the sport is now widely available in most cases, it does not always deliver at its peak potential. With previous footage of great fights available, the need to over-impress at the PPV level is not as pressing.
Now MMA is abundant in more ways than monthly fight cards and the sport has become a neverending replay of greatness. Fans can turn on the T.V. and more often than not find some rerun of Ultimate Knockouts or WEC Wreckage, amongst many other options.
No longer does the fight fan have to wait in between events; they can go to Youtube to their hearts content studying fights and tributes based on their favorite fighters.
What the fan cannot do is command the future...the fights of tomorrow. They can pull up every historical fight they want online, but it is the fight that has yet to happen that still truly grips them.
The history that has yet to be made, if you will.
Even with the fights yet to come, not all are what fans may thirst for. Not every fight, or even every fight card, can be of UFC 100 caliber.
Sometimes the sport must be allowed to take its own course, to breathe and grow, not unlike a living thing. For the truly great fights to take place at the pinnacle, the wars must be waged in the trenches.
They can't all be Chuck Lidell vs. Wanderlei Silva.
When the sport does follow its own course, eventually a gem is fashioned under the pressure to deliver. Eventually, two fighters gain an unstoppable momentum towards each other that cannot be diverted.
While the fan loyally tunes in month after month, paying for less than compelling main events, they forgo the desire to see titles contested with any regularity and tune in regardless.
They continue to support this sport even when the tangible rewards are few. Whether it be watching some fighter cutting weight fighting in the Rich Franklin weight class or just being tricked into thinking Kimbo Slice might have returned on the Ultimate Fighter 10, they tune in.
It does not happen every month, it may not even happen three times in one year. But eventually, the fan is rewarded. After months of paying for what may not be the best MMA has to offer, they realize it all pales in comparison to this match-up, this card.
UFC 107 is that card for many fight fans.
This week will find many fight fans with that sense of excitement that may have seemed lost as of late. The idea of what may be in store this Saturday night is quite a compelling feeling.
When the UFC adds B.J. "The Prodigy" Penn into any fight-card whatsoever, the fan knows the bar has been raised; love him or hate him. The caliber of the event changes in many ways with his very presence.
Penn has a way of altering everything he touches. He is an unstoppable force throughout the sport and his fingerprint on MMA will last forever.
When the UFC decides to offer a fight to Diego "The Nightmare" Sanchez, the fight fan knows there will be at least one exciting fight on the card. Diego is the type of fighter who has developed a strong reputation as a game and entertaining fighter, with a fire in his belly that is rare in this world.
He is the type of fighter who never shows fear, is skilled above the curve, and has a desire to make his style of fight a feared asset throughout the division.
Throw in a lightweight title belt and you might as well be adding nitrous to an already dangerous inferno. You have the ingredients for a war that could span 25 minutes or just 25 seconds; time will tell.
Both men are warriors to the bone, not just fighters. The potential of seeing Baby J's pound for pound worthy talent tested against the skills and rage of The Nightmare is enough to make a fight fan call in sick to work.
When the fight fan hears the name Clay "The Carpenter" Guida it almost always brings a smile to their face. Guida may have the single most impressive resume and body of fights in the game today without having fought for a title. There is not doubt that his place on a card means nothing less than pure war for fans to enjoy.
Kenny "Ken-Flo" Florian is one of the best LW fighters to enter the Octagon when B.J. Penn is not standing across from him. His style and demeanor represent the true class and worthiness of this sport. His skill level is impeccable, he appreciates the martial arts aspect of MMA and he is a perennial top tier fighter. His consistency and growth are phenomenal.
The winner here will surely take one step closer to proving their worth against a champion. Not bad motivation for two guys who need little in the first place. Both fighters are elite in their own respects, the type of quality fighters that will bring the absolute best out of each other.
The thought of seeing Guida bring his tireless whirlwind of terror to match against Florian's relentless and lethal precision is enough to make a fight fan lie to their mamma and skip a dinner date with their parents.
Add to these compelling matches the presence of elite welterweight Jon Fitch, a fight between Cheick Kongo and former two time Heavyweight Champ Frank Mir, and the fight fan begins to salivate.
This is a fight card amongst fight cards. MMA has had its moments lately but there has not been a card with this much potential in quite some time. If a fan were to introduce a friend to MMA, this would be the card to show them.
UFC 107 cannot fail and cannot disappoint. The odds of that happening are smaller than the odds of it actually blowing the MMA community out of the water. The fighters are just too good, the match ups are too perfect, and the stakes are that high.
It has been long overdue but is finally here. Enjoy it, fights fans, because after it is over you will have to go back to convincing yourself that 50 bucks really isn't that much to spend on another halfway decent card.
This is the stuff history will remember for years to come. This is the stuff they will Youtube tomorrow.