Brock Lesnar has just come off his most impressive win to date. It was close to a lock that Cheick Kongo would be his next fight. Boy how things have flipped upside down since then.
Randy Couture, one of the best ever in the sport, seems to be securing a deal that would ultimately bring him back to the octagon. His first return fight in November from Portland will be against the new monster of MMA, Brock Lesnar.
Dana White and crew are smart when it comes to business and making the biggest fights. But, just like the matchup between B.J. Penn and Georges St. Pierre, why do this fight now?
I'm sure this will be the biggest money MMA fight to date. I know the Heavyweight division is weaker these days, but here are some options to consider rather than wasting this fight RIGHT now.
Brock Lesnar vs. Cheick Kongo
Lesnar has one win in the UFC. This fight would probably allow him to slaughter another foe on route to a storyline journey for the title. And people want Lesnar to be the MMA version of Mike Tyson. Kongo will never draw on his own.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir
Mir's resurgence in this division will continue to grow. This guy is an MMA encyclopedia and knows it all. With this fight already set for December it will shake things up tremendously when Mir wins. Nogueira won't be tarnished by the loss. He can fight anyone and have there be interest.
Cain Velasquez vs. Heath Herring
Other than Brock, Velasquez is probably the division's rising star. At 26 with a 4-0 record, a test with the Crazy Horse will either put him more prominently on the map or allow Heath to climb back up the ladder.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Randy Couture
Randy's return fight will draw a ridiculous audience regardless, so why not help out someone possibly deserving of a title shot whom not many people know or like? If Werdum were to win, he would be known to casual fans as "the guy who beat Randy...he's tough." Without Couture, Fabricio couldn't draw flies in a main event.
If Randy wins, Fabricio can go back to the mid-card where many feel he should stay. Then he can be forced to rematch Brandon Vera since that's probably the only fight I'd want to see him in.
I understand the fact that Couture is 45 years old and this new understanding with the UFC will probably be a two or three fight deal. So you have to move quickly on the money matches. I just think both fighters have so much to lose.
We all know Randy wants to fight Fedor, that's it. But if he gets destroyed by Lesnar, does that fight have as much appeal then?
Or let's say Randy humiliates Brock. Where does he go from there? I'd assume back to fight Kongo. Then Dana's "next big thing" would be 2-2 in his MMA career, 1-2 in the UFC.
Believe me, I'm not complaining about the great fights the UFC is trying to put together. Not at all. I'm just concerned when all these fights are done, then what?
I really can't get hyped for a Thiago Alves vs. Josh Koscheck or Sean Sherk vs. Tyson Griffin type bouts. I just can't do it. I fear all these great matches will result in other main event cards shaping on like the ones I just previously mentioned. That would be depressing.
The top draws in the UFC are Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, Georges St. Pierre, B.J. Penn, Forrest Griffin, Quinton Jackson, Anderson Silva, and Wanderlei Silva. Maybe in time Shogun will be on this list, but not yet. These are the guys casual and hardcore fans want to see and will pay to do so.
When you have them all battle each other, it doesn't help to build other young stars. People are going to want to see the top guys fight anyway, regardless of their opponent. That's what they pay for and who they pay to see.
So after these blockbuster bouts, the risk doesn't seem to outweigh the reward.
Certain things make sense, Liddell vs. Silva was brilliant. It allowed the Iceman to get back on track and made Wanderlei a fan favorite here in the States. A win-win situation regardless of who won.
The GSP vs. B.J. fight is Penn being bitter over a loss. If he were fighting in the Welterweight division I couldn't say a thing about it, but he's the champion at 155 and should defend his title a few times before something like this goes down. GSP and Penn are still young enough to wait on this one.
St. Pierre has had one title defense. I'm sure a lot of fans would love to see him take on some up and coming challengers to prove his dominance before fighting B.J.
The Lesnar vs. Couture fight will be one of the most anticipated ever. No doubt. I just hate the rush of all the big mega fights. It seems the UFC just wants as much money as possible now and doesn't think down the road.
I'm sure Dana thinks Lesnar is too much for Randy, and he's probably right. Brock is no awkward looking 6'8" guy like Tim Sylvia. He's an f'n monster. You can never count Randy out. He's the Rocky Balboa of MMA.
I wouldn't be surprised if Dana White runs down to the octagon screaming for Herb Dean to ring the bell as Lesnar has Couture in the sharpshooter.
You know Dana loves Lesnar to death. If Brock beats Randy, expect a title shot immediately after.
Randy will probably get Fedor at the end of '09 and Mr. White and Co. can profit from it while throwing Randy naturally into retirement.
Even though I feel some of the upcoming fights are a little rushed, I will be goosebump-ridden and marking out when Couture and Lesnar are face to face before the bell.