August 4, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Joe Lauzon brings Jamie Varner to the ground during the lightweight match at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
I was ready to live the rest of my life with this perception of "C-4," but to quote the wise Harry Dunne, "you go and do something like this ... and totally redeem yourself!"
His fight with Joe Lauzon last night was one of the most thrilling back and forth wars I've ever seen and exactly the kind of fight the promotion would want for a Fox telecast.
Now imagine if Varner actually had a full camp under his belt.
The former WEC champ returned to the Octagon less than three months ago at UFC 146 when he replaced Evan Dunham in a bout against Edson Barboza. The Brazilian had been impressive throughout his Octagon career, sporting a spotless record and coming off one of the most insane knockouts in the sport's history.
It seemed the UFC just needed a warm body inside the cage to keep the Barboza train moving.
Three minutes and 23 seconds later, a derailment of "Unbreakable" proportions occurred and the Brazilian's prone and dazed body lay on the Octagon floor while Varner turned to the Las Vegas crowd and mouthed, "I'm back."
I love a good underdog story and that was almost as good as one can get.
This, no doubt, improved his stock with UFC brass, but coming off one short notice fight to take on a second short notice fight is exactly the reason Varner was breathing heavily midway through the first round and striking sluggishly in the second.
This is nothing to take away from his performance. As I wrote earlier, the fight was amazing and will be added to the shortlist of fights shown to non-fans to convert into believers.
I just wonder how much better the fight would have been -- especially in terms of Varner's chances of winning -- had "C-4" had proper notice and gone through a full training camp.
These quick turnarounds because of injuries help the promotion out of a jam, but do very little for the fighters. And once again, the culprit is too many events. The UFC is simply putting on too many shows so when one begins to crack, they don't have depth of its bench to avoid problems such as last night's.
So now it's time for the UFC to let Varner rest up, let him heal. Give him a prime spot on the big year-end card with proper notice so he can actually train to ensure peak performance.
He's earned it.