UFC President Dana White recently made news by stating that it is very likely we will be seeing Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez in the UFC. This throws Melendez’ scheduled fight with Jorge Masvidal into jeopardy, and that is a bad deal for Masvidal, but it would be great for MMA.
Because this weekend’s Frankie Edgar versus Gray Maynard title bout the UFC has scheduled has the potential to bore us all to death. I grant both are excellent fighters, but the talk and rhetoric between the two have done little to build up the fight. They are bland.
And Edgar was definitely impressive 3 fights ago in winning the UFC lightweight title. But he really hasn’t done anything different lately, and he has fought the full fifteen rounds in his last three fights.
It is likely that Melvin Guillard would bring out some different parts of Edgar’s game, but so would Melendez. And based on his resume, I would be OK with the UFC sending Melendez directly into a title shot against the winner of Edgar and Maynard.
Which brings me to my greater point in all this. The UFC is moving faster with Strikeforce’s talent than they did with the WEC’s fighters, but they are still not moving fast enough. There is a great deal of talent on the Strikeforce roster, and potential for a lot of great matches. The UFC is unchallenged, so why are they waiting?
Dan Henderson will be returning to the UFC. But why do we have to wait to see ‘King’ Mo Lawal? Could Lawal be the test for Jon Jones? Despite coming off a loss Roger Gracie has a lot of name recognition and value, and would give the UFC another asset to use in England where he resides. Could Gegard Mousasi be convinced to drop to 185 lbs again? Mousasi versus Anderson Silva is a fight I would love to see. If not, inject Mousasi into the lightheavyweight picture now. His record is 31-3-2 and he is 26 years old.
And at heavyweight? Antonio Silva is still very dangerous. It is unclear if the UFC will be able to work with Josh Barnett due to past differences, but Barnett is as talented as any heavyweight out there. Then there is the fast rising Daniel Cormier. I’m hearing from my sources that Cormier is dominating everyone at team AKA, including UFC champion Cain Velasquez. So why are we waiting to see him in the UFC?
Let me add to this the women’s divisions. The bottom line is that women MMA athletes have established themselves in the last ten years, and they do not deserve to be kept on the sidelines either. Let me plant the idea that the new reality series on FOX should feature at least one division of women.
It is hard to argue with the UFC’s success, and they follow their business model very well. But they stand alone with really no competition, the time for the cautious approach is over. In bringing in Melendez, Henderson, Nick Diaz and a few others the UFC has moved quicker than in the past, but it is time to take this completely over the top.