Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and its team of all-star matchmakers are known for putting on the most competitive and thrilling mixed martial arts (MMA) fights in the entire industry.
Just ask them, they’ll tell you.
Sure, you might have someone throw a “bitch fit” every now and then to avoid a dangerous bout, or maybe you get one of your top stars doing whatever the hell he pleases, but for the most part, UFC puts competition before attraction.
“Competitive matchmaking is one of the hallmarks of the UFC,” chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein told ESPN. “Yeah, you might do a Mayweather-McGregor fight here or there, or something the fans are dying to see, but at the end of the day, competitive matchmaking is what we do. I think it’s a bit of a misnomer to say we’ve gotten away from that. In boxing, you’ve got to be 20-0 before you become somebody, and yet you haven’t fought anybody. That’s not our model.”
Unless you’re this guy.
The absence of reigning lightweight champion Conor McGregor has cast a long shadow over the ranks of UFC (get a glimpse here). But there are also a handful of exciting showdowns just over the horizon.
Like this one.
In addition, pairings that often seem like “gimme” fights or squash matches can sometimes upset the apple cart. Just ask Rose Namajunas and Nate Diaz, who know a thing or two about playing spoiler.
So ... what “competitive” match are you most looking forward to in 2018?