Jaime C. Feal
Dana White won’t admit it. No, he’ll have you believe the UFC Heavyweight division is as deep as it’s ever been, full of rising prospects and established stars. The truth is he misses Brock Lesnar. Yes, Dana White misses Brock Lesnar every day of his life. He won’t admit it, but his biggest cash cow is now drawing viewers for the WWE again, while Dana gets left with Junior Dos Santos and not much else. In fact, the man who smashed Lesnar into retirement from MMA, Alistair Overeem, recently had his future clouded after testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone. This puts the title fight between Dos Santos and Overeem in serious jeopardy.
What’s more, Brock Lesnar retired after an apparent humbling defeat, which now appears artificial after Overeem’s positive test. Unfortunately for the UFC, there’s no going back when a superstar bails on you for the entertainment industry. One needs to look no further than when Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos destroyed Gina Carano in one of the biggest fights in women’s MMA history. After Cyborg’s recent positive test for steroids and her subsequent suspension, it begs the question whether Carano lost to a juiced fighter. Again, there is no going back, and as much as Showtime would love to have Gina back fighting, the ‘Haywire’ star has moved on to bigger pay days in the entertainment industry.
So we know Brock isn’t making a return to the UFC, despite the fact his final loss may not have been valid. Where does this leave the UFC heavyweight division? In terms of both marketing and competition, it’s in shambles. Dos Santos is a stud at the top of the heap, but he destroyed a supposed upper echelon heavyweight on national TV in just over a minute flat. Overeem appeared to be the only man under contact with the UFC who was on the same level as Dos Santos, and now Overeem will most likely be suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. UFC announcer Joe Rogan said the other day that Josh Barnett, a current Striekforce fighter, may be the #1 heavyweight in the world. Barnett’s opponent in the heavyweight grand prix final, Daniel Cormier, is no slouch either.
The lightweight division in the UFC is easily the deepest and most explosive of all the weight classes. This is due to the UFC acquiring the WEC and merging all the fighters into the UFC Roster. The current UFC lightweight champion, Ben “Smooth” Henderson, was once a WEC standout. Now one of the top contenders for Henderson’s lightweight strap, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis is also a former WEC star. The UFC needs to just incorporate all the Strikeforce fighters as they did with the WEC, and they must do so quickly. After losing their biggest draw in Brock Lesnar, and with Alistair Overeem sidelined indefinitely, Dana White needs an infusion of talent and name-recognition in his heavyweight division more than ever. He just won’t admit it.