While Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title shot opportunities are far from guaranteed, company president Dana White today went out of his way to clarify the No. 1 Welterweight contender pecking order.
And mixed martial arts (MMA) fans can thank scintillating recent performances from Matt Brown and Robbie Lawler for the rare transparency.
Shortly after he announced that Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown would headline UFC on FOX 12 (read details here), which takes place at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on July 26, 2014, White offered "The Download" for the suddenly-overcrowded 170-pound division.
"We got Robbie Lawler who just came off a controversial loss to the champion, and number one (Lawler) is facing number five (Brown).... Robbie just beat the number five and number six guys in his wins, right? And he was in a controversial fight with the champ, so he deserves this fight. If Matt Brown beats Robbie Lawler then he just beat the number one contender and he gets the fight.... Two guys -- two nasty, mean, viscous, nasty guys who love to bang -- in their prime, number one and number five, banging it out for the chance to fight for the title. I love it. It's the best fight we could have made, and thank God Lawler is such a stud he'll turn around so fast and take this fight.... Those are the kind of guys I love to watch fight, and I know those are the kinds of guys fans love to watch fight. That's why everyone is so pumped about this fight because it's two guys with the same style, two guys with the same mentality, and two absolute total bad asses. I love it."
White also addressed the situations of fellow contenders Rory MacDonald, Tyron Woodley, Hector Lombard and Dong Hyun Kim, all of who are "in the mix," but a peg behind the Lawler vs. Brown winner. In fact, he outlined a scenario in which the winners of MacDonald vs. Woodley (UFC 174) and Lombard vs. Kim (UFC Fight Night: "Macau) would collide later this year to further thin the talented herd.
That's most likely not going to sit well with "Shango" nor "T-Wood;" however, the current reality is Lawler and Brown are red hot after their recent finishes of Jake Ellenberger (watch highlights here) and Erick Silva (watch highlights here), respectively.
And their penchant to "bang" is tailor-made to potentially reel-in more casual viewers thanks to the high-profile network television exposure.
Meanwhile, reigning division champion Johny Hendricks -- who is recovering from surgery to repair a torn biceps muscle -- can sit back and watch all his competition tear each other to shreds right along with us.