Obviously, every belt eventually has to be defended, however, hear me out. Let’s talk about fighters who become champions after dethroning their opponent.
Ever since the UFC reached mainstream status, champions are becoming more about the money fights, and less about the fights that will solidy their reign. It’s either that or wanting to make history, somehow. If you think about it, McGregor opened the doors to the era of self-entitlement in the UFC. In this particular situation, I’m talking the Cody Garbrandts, Tyron Woodleys, and hell, I guess you can even toss the Conor McGregors of the game in the mix, although he’s always the exception.
I don’t think you’re allowed to choose your next title defense until you’ve successfully defend the belt.
Now, Tyron Woodley is one hell of an athlete. However, I don’t agree with the constant complaining about his opponents in the octagon and his treatment as a champion in the UFC. I get that you feel you won after watching the footage; but the truth of the matter is, to the judges, you were equally as good in the fight against Stephen Thompson. With that, there’s no argument. But of course; after the fight, he started tweeting on social media talking about a potential fight with Michael Bisping.
On video, Woodley and Bisping shake on a super-fight where no belts are on the line. Once they separated, Woodley went to Twitter saying that he had changed his mind. He wanted to fight Bisping for the undisputed middleweight championship. All I ask, is that champions defend their belt before trying to call the shots. Prove you’re worthy of the big fights and the main event status. What happened to working hard for what you think you deserve? At UFC 209, he [Woodley] has his chance to make a statement.
Garbrandt was starting to show some similar signs, but his next fight with TJ Dillashaw was the right call. If Garbrandt beats Dillashaw convincingly, I think he’ll become an even bigger star in the division. Maybe then he can really go after the names on his hit-list: Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor.
As for the new-age bantamweight Queen, her tweet about wanting two belts was well received. I think that she can call whatever shots she wants now, after taking out two legends, in Drake fashion – back-to-back. However, I don’t want her to move up in weight to fight for the 145-pound belt. It’s too early.
McGregor defend his belt should also be on the horizon. If you’re not defending your belt, then can you truly call yourself a champion? I just wish that we stop worrying so much about wanting to make history and not taking fights because of money and that fighters would stop ducking the matches that are supposed to happen, instead of gunning for the money fights.
I miss the reining, defending days that died when the UFC hit its mainstream status. I even miss the days that interim belts weren’t handed away like candy. Money never used to drive fights. But I guess that’s what happens when the sport evolves.