Photo by Esther Lin for MMAFighting.com
The good news is UFC has a made-to-order, incredibly marketable Heavyweight trilogy match on the backburner for 2013. The bad news is it will apparently not get the opportunity to market perhaps its most prized acquisition in the New Year as it would have liked thanks to the UFC 155 main event outcome.
Leave it up to American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) to ruin a potentially great heavyweight fight.
With 170-pound standouts Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck and Mike Swick all circling the same division for years now, it appeared that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White would eventually have to lay down the gauntlet and compel friends to fight friends.
However, the hands of the aforementioned mixed martial arts (MMA) veterans never had to be forced for various reasons, namely they never won a championship nor were simultaneously top contenders, meaning that the tender teammate beehive never had to be disturbed.
That all somehow changed tonight (Dec. 29, 2012), however, and it had nothing to do with them and everything to do with Cain Velasquez.
"Brown Pride" -- who weighs 70 pounds more than each Welterweight on fight night -- shined the brightest spotlight on the tight-knit AKA training partner bond ... and all others for that matter. With his destruction of Junior dos Santos in the UFC 155 main event, Velasquez set up a potential showdown with incoming Strikeforce star, Daniel Cormier.
Not going to happen.
That's because Velasquez and Cormier are great friends and training partners. In fact, Cormier was in Velasquez's corner this evening in the biggest fight of his life, coaching, motivating and inspring him to victory. And during the post-fight show on FUEL TV, the two stars were reunited and could barely contain their giddy enthusiasm on set.
More important, the pair wasted little time squashing the possibility of a potential real fight.
"I wouldn't, you know," Velasquez said. "[Cormier] is my friend, this is my teammate, this is my coach. If you want to see this fight, go to AKA three times a week ... for free!"
Cormier -- who has one fight remaining on his current deal with Strikeforce (Dion Staring on Jan. 12, 2013) and has already inked a new one with UFC -- backed up his boy immediately, saying that he is more than willing to do what most MMA fans -- and even White -- have encouraged him to do before this pickle even had a chance to get ripe:
Start a diet.
"We spar three days a week -- we work hard," countered Cormier." Cain Velasquez is going to force me to do something I have not wanted to do for awhile, which is cut weight. But, they got a lot of guys for me there to fight. I'm just happy my man right here is the champion."
Velasquez and Cormier were then encouraged to do, again, on the FUEL TV set what it seemed liked they wanted to do (and probably did in excess inside the Octagon) the entire time while they were sitting elbow-to-elbow, which is to hug and celebrate.
And, for now, that seems like a cool, raw thing. Even if White and Co. don't, and will never, agree.