With all the talk of "The Spider" wanting to fight everyone outside the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, including his clone and Strikeforce's Luke Rockhold, as well as a cloudy -- albeit rich -- 185-pound contender picture, his next opponent seems like anyone's guess.
Chris Weidman, Vitor Belfort, Michael Bisping, Brian Stann, Alan Belcher, Tim Boetsch and promotional newcomer Hector Lombard are all seemingly in the dreaded "mix." No one fighter truly stands out from the sea of competition at the moment; however, the situation could gain some clarity if meaningful match ups are made.
Well, based on recent remarks from White at the UFC 149 pre-fight press conference (via MMAFighting.com), it appears that a plan is indeed being cooked up to take all the guesswork out of the equation and deliver the Brazilian a bonafide, clear-cut number one contender by the end of the 2012 fight season.
Check it out:
"We're working on so much crazy shit right now -- you know how I get. I get all nutty and start telling you shit I'm not supposed to be telling you. We're working on really, really exciting stuff that we're just going to kill it at the end of this year. Some really fun stuff.... I am very excited about the 185-pound division -- it's all I've been talking about for the last four days. I was on the road, in Australia, on the phone every day talking about the 185-pound division. It's never been more exciting. I will let the cat out of the bag on Saturday about what we are going to do. Whoever wins on Saturday [between Hector Lombard vs. Tim Boetsch], I will have answers for you at the press conference."
Middleweight tournament time, Maniacs.
Sure, I'm reading between the lines and jumping to wild, irresponsible conclusions. But, even before White's recent tease, it was rather clear that something had to be done to not only inject some excitement back into the second-half of the promotional calendar, but also not have to fork over more millions to convince Silva to fight a guy who he feels is undeserving.
Indeed, with Chael Sonnen already a distant memory after Silva thrashed him at UFC 148 and only a handful of fights remaining before he calls it a career, making everyone fight for the right to challenge the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) only seems fitting, especially with the current talent-laden division.
So what can we (maybe) expect? Who knows, but while we wait for official confirmation, here is my fantasy bracket:
- Lombard/Boetsch winner vs. Weidman
- Bisping/Stann winner vs. Belfort/Belcher (dream match up, completely unofficial) winner
Whichever two fighters advance through the gauntlet meet in the center of the Octagon, co-headlining the New Year's Eve weekend pay-per-view (PPV) event with a title shot on the line.
Got a better idea?