Dana White answered a tweet after UFC 156, and another title fight with zero logic was created in Jose aldo vs. Anthony Pettis, officially slated for sometime in August. At first it was just something Dana shared with the media that night at the post fight presser. Pettis had simply texted the UFC President and asked for Aldo.
Ricardo Lamas tweeted after he heard Dana share the news, “What am I a mirage?!?!?! @ufc @danawhite #LamasNext.” And he would be right. Not only does he have only 5,000 followers on twitter as apposed to 80,000 of Pettis’s, but the UFC has apparently over looked him completely for a title shot against Aldo at the moment.
Unfortunately for Lamas, what the UFC has started to value is star power. Even more unfortunately for him, star power is top heavy in the sport of MMA, and the tipping point is between the featherweights and lightweights at the moment.
Simply put, a ton of stars reside at 155 and not many are hanging out at 145. Not only was Pettis capable of earning an immediate title shot at 145, but it’s safe to say Gray Maynard, Gilbert Milendez, or any other top dog among the lightweights at this point.
Just look at how many title shots Urijah Faber received after he lost his featherweight strap to Mike Brown at WEC 36 in 2008. Answer, 4.
Don’t stop this line of thinking with the little guys though. Middleweight fighter Chael Sonnen, of whom was hardly ranked among the top fighters in his weight class these days was given a light heavyweight shot at Jon Jones in April at UFC 159, upon the completion of their TUF 17 coaching stint together.
Ex-Strikeforce champ Daniel Cormier has the offer for an immediate title shot against light heavyweight champ Jones on the table, if he so chooses to drop down in weight. Up until his loss at UFC 156, long time light heavyweight contender Rashad Evans only had to win one more fight at his weight class to be granted an immediate title shot at the one below him against Anderson Silva.
Now the UFC may be going in a different direction with their match making strategy, and dare I say, it has the stench of boxing’s failed formula written all over it. But where boxing failed, the UFC may have begun to succeed.
Point in fact, they created an official rankings through a partnership with fightmetric.com. Of course this feels like a move to avoid casual fans from being confused when they see top level fighters outside of their promotion, ranked amongst the top competitors they have to offer.
At the end of the day, if Lamas wants a shot against Jose Aldo, he will have to win more fights and gain more followers. Boxing couldn’t handle the growth they had over the last sixty years, and the UFC will lose some respect by putting together non-number one contender bouts every time through the gate, but just cause number one contenders were almost the sole recipients of title shots back in the day, doesn’t mean the formula that worked then will work now.
Infact, as long as number one contenders exist, we won’t have to worry about watching MMA join boxing’s fate. It’s that simple. I’ll be there to watch Pettis fight Aldo, and also there when Lamas wins another bout (possibly against The Korean Zombie) and claims his undisputed claim as the number one contender among the featherweights, and so will the rapidly growing fan base of the sport.
Watch the video below where Dana White talks about the text he received from Pettis in a post fight presser.