With titles switching hands so fast in the UFC it’s hard to answer the question of whether a reigning champion deserves an immediate rematch. Sometimes it seems that belts switch hands as fast as fighters switch wraps. In these days of the sport, MMA is growing at such a fast pace, and there are so many up and comers hungry and ready for a shot the question remains, when a champ loses his or her belt, does he or she deserve a rematch before, the new champ has had a chance to defend the belt?
Immediate Re-Matches in UFC
Back in July, I remember being at the Grand Garden Arena at MGM in Las Vegas for Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes, and then back again for McGregor vs. Aldo. The excitement leading up to the Jose Aldo fight was over the top and the level of anticipation was at an all time high…..and then, everything changed in 13 seconds. I remember being totally stunned as a blank look fell over everyone’s face. A pin drop silence was deafening though out the entire arena when Aldo fell to the mat. That split second thud, felt like time stopped. Not until watching the replay did I realize how fast everything actually happened, raising an the question of what’s next? Before the sun even came up the next morning the entire resort was talking about one thing. Everywhere you looked, every bar, every club, and what seemed every table someone was talking about was whats next for the 145 champ and former champ in Aldo.
The Women’s Bantamweight Title
Fast forward, Holly Holm vs. Rhonda Rousey. Everyone knows “the kick heard around the world”. Upon her loss, Rousey fell off the map. weeks went by before anything was heard from former champ. Business as usual for new champ, Holm. So much in fact, she lost title her first outing and defense to Miesha Tate. Then we seen the next champ Miesha Tate gets one upped by current champ Amanda Nunes at UFC 200. Seems like a lot going on, but wait, there’s more….Next event UFC 201, Tyron Woodley upset slightly favored welterweight champ “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler.
Three weight classes, one organization. There are numerous belts changing hands in different weight classes and organizations, but for sake or story lets just focus on these scenarios.
First lets talk about Jose Aldo. The guy argued to be the best pound for pound fighter in the world previous to his loss to the superstar and trash talking Irishman McGregor and that vicious left hand. Aldo, his fans, and the entire country of Brazil felt the win was a fluke and demanded an immediate rematch, but to no avail.
After her loss to Holly Holm, Rousey went recluse and with no word of wanting a rematch, she left the door wide open for the “Preachers Daughter” to look for a fight elsewhere. Enter Miesha Tate. Ironically the same night Nate Diaz choked Conor McGregor out,”Cupcake” won the woman’s bantamweight title via rear-naked-choke from Holly Holm. Miesha Tate’s first title defense was also a title change once again. UFC 200 was headlined by Tate vs Nunes, in witch Amanda Nunes not only took home the gold, she did so in emphatic fashion with a first round knock out.
This latest title change came at UFC 201, when Tyron Woodley took knocked out Robbie Lawler in the first round. Lawler has had numerous title defenses, and back to back Fight Of The Year awards. He’s decorated and proven himself on multiple occasions that he is definitely a competitor worthy of the gold. Seems like after a title reign of a champ like Lawler, the obvious choice for match-makers would be a rematch, but no mention of interest from Woodley or the UFC?
What do we take away from all this? Well a great confusion. It seems like the ranking systems are out the window. Just like the sport of MMA is ever growing and faces and belts are changing, so are traditions. Good or bad for sport? Who knows? Fight fans are seeing matches they want. Fighters are getting fights they want. And promoters are getting ticket sales and Pay-Per View sales they want.