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Fighter's Corner


September 1, 2009 9:39 PM

UFC should ignore thoughts of middleweight No. 1 contender eliminator match


Every now and then in life things will break easy, making one's decision a whole lot simpler. Do I date the beautiful girl with no personality or the beautiful girl with the personality? Gee, let me think.. Or how about joining the gym that charges $30 a month with every amenity you need plus modern equipment or the gym that charges $40 a month that's really just a weight room with no pool, sauna, aerobics, etc. and run down? Another no brainer.

Every now and then.

But sadly, every now and then happens perhaps every 100 decisions you're faced with which is why you should never make decisions harder than they have to be.

Which brings me to the current middleweight No. 1 contender dilemma facing Joe Silva, Dana White and the UFC. They have a very positive situation: two very good fighters in line for a shot at perhaps the best fighter to walk the face of this planet.

They can do one of two things: 1) have Anderson Silva face Dan Henderson in October or November and then have the winner fight Nate Marquardt or 2) have Henderson and Marquardt fight each other in November or December with the winner facing Silva sometime in early 2010 while Silva waits idly.

Let's take a closer look at these scenarios.

If the UFC does scenario uno, Silva will fight as soon as possible, perhaps even in October at UFC 104 which needs a solid No. 2 fight now that the Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez fight has been disbanded and the two title fights would certainly give it that. Also, the UFC allows each contender -- both Henderson and Marquardt -- the opportunity to fight for the belt within the next six months.

So the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter keeps busy, both No. 1 middleweight contenders get to fight for the belt and the UFC sells two legit middleweight title fights in the span of six months if not less.

I think it's clear that this scenario pretty good for all parties involved -- the fighters, the fans and the promotion as a whole.

Now let's analyze scenario dos. Here the UFC puts on a No. 1 contender fight for Silva's belt sometime at the end of the year. With Marquardt just removed from a quick dismantling of Damien Maia on Saturday at UFC 102, his most likely return date would be sometime in December, hypothetically.

The UFC would probably be able to market the Henderson/Marquardt showdown alongside a main event like Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Rashad Evans at UFC 107 and call it "The No. 1 contender special" or something similarly catchy.

In the meantime, Silva gets to work on his tan down in Brazil. As nice as that vacation would be, I don't think Silva really needs it nor would want it over a chance to get to do what he does best -- fight.

If all things went according to plan in this scenario, a winner would emerge triumphantly and unscathed by injuries ready for a title shot against the pound-for-pound king sometime around March of 2010. If, however, there is any sort of hiccup as there is known to be on occasion in MMA, this neat and tidy option could see a title fight pushed even farther back or both contenders fall depressingly on their faces due to poor performances.

This scenario could still be good for one fighter (the one who wins the eliminator match), some fans (the ones who believe their favorite fighter -- either Marquardt or Henderson -- will still get a title shot) and ok for the promotion since they are selling a nice No. 1 contender match as a co-main event.

Clearly, not the same win-win as scenario one is though.

Sometimes it's nice to make things neat and clean. But it's also nice to walk away when you're ahead instead of losing your bankroll by continuing to play.

Memo to Dana White and Joe Silva: Don't mess with something good. Two title fights are better than one.

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