The UFC of Today – The Era of the Rematch
By Christopher Jester
This has been a good year for championships. Some close, some pure domination. But those that have been close have been given rematches. One in particular is undeserved; i.e. TJ Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao II. Does it not seem that rematches for championships are becoming a bit redundant? When they are worth it, it means a lot and could be a major draw for the UFC. But with another rematch on the way, rematches are beginning to lose their fervor.
This has become the era of rematches and are all of these fights really anticipated rematches. It started with the upset of Anderson Silva. Chris Weidman did the unthinkable by knocking out Silva. To our ignorance, we did not think Weidman was that good. Little did we know how talented the guy was and when he defeated Anderson again, we were left with more answers and more questions; all at the same time.
As Robbie Lawler moves towards his second title shot against UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks, it makes us question if rematches are the best thing for the UFC. Most are warranted, some are not. The first Hendricks-Lawler fight was close and came down to one round. Jon Jones versus Alexander Gustafsson part one was close for different reasons, but enough to make fans want to garner for more. While this match was on the books, an injury to Gustafsson has replaced that rematch with one that is just as good with Daniel Cormier stepping in to fight the long-reigning champion.
The problem is that this derails the momentum of other fighters and the division they are in. Divisions are stacked with worthy contenders but it seem juxtaposed to the fact that rematches seem more valuable now than giving top contenders their due. When you look at Dillashaw versus Barao, it almost seems laughable. Not only did Dillashaw dominate Barao, he finished him. Why not match him up against the likes of an Raphael Assuncao or Takeya Mizugaki? Dillashaw has earned the right to move on from the guy that once ruled the bantamweight division.
Although, Lawler versus Hendricks part two will be a blast of a fight. Lawler has shown that he will always show up to fight, no matter the circumstances. But all of these rematches seem to diminish the purpose of why these guys fight so hard to be the best in the world. If you are not a major draw, are you skipped over? It comes to a point where you cannot blame fighters like Dustin Poirier who wants to fight Conor McGregor. Because if the roles were reversed and McGregor defeats Poirier, he’d be in line for a title shot. Why not knock off the guy who is the sure thing?
The wealth of challengers in all of these divisions beg to question why the UFC would put on rematches so quickly. Let a former challenger fight multiple guys before getting back to a title shot. Even recent losers like Barao should get such a treatment after the shellacking he took. The concern is that rematches will leave the divisions on hold more so than active and not so full of entertainment.
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