Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reflections of... Title announcements

I had an entire spiel planned regarding the exciting announcement that the bantamweight division would not be held to a standstill, but that was interrupted by another bantamweight announcement.

A women's bantamweight announcement.

I did like the Strikeforce belt's look, but this is CLASSIC.
In a ground-breaking moment for the UFC and MMA in general, the premier organization in the sport declared a women's champion.

With Strikeforce ending in January and no women scheduled on the card, Dana White has merged the company's women's 135-pound division into the A-brand. Just as he did with WEC's lower weight champions, current title holder Ronda Rousey stepped up to receive the UFC World Women's Bantamweight Championship.

Even more notable, however, is that Rousey's first defense in the UFC was announced. She will defend against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche.

Yes, you read that right. On a card that features Dan Henderson and Urijah Faber, the title fight WILL receive top billing, just as any of UFC's world titles would receive.

This is a huge step forward for women's MMA and I firmly hope that the fans latch onto this card. I'd certainly love to see the sport grow, and there are a lot of women at 125, 145, 115 and 105 who would like a shot at the big time one day.

Some were sad to hear that Cyborg Santos won't be the first fight, but honestly, I think the fight is coming. Cyborg will be able to make it down to 135. Just give her time.

Barao's pseudo-title will be defended in February.
Now, back to the title match I was going to talk about: Interim UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao will have the first title match in the United Kingdom for the UFC. He will defend against Michael McDonald at UFC on Fuel 7 in February.

Obviously, it's not the real title. It's very clear that Dana White threw the UK a bone since he had to get this title some traffic. But it is an OK gesture, and a title match on free TV won't draw my complaints.

Also, I'm just glad UFC is actually making an interim champion defend. I didn't like when the welterweight title was on lockdown for a year, so it's nice to hear Barao will keep the division moving along.

Speaking of welterweight titles, Georges St. Pierre apparently told White that he wanted to finish his business with Nick Diaz. As such, that fight will come before GSP-Silva.

I know some are upset that GSP had so much leverage, but this is the best thing that can happen here. This title needs defending, and I am grateful that GSP is willing to oblige and make some fights happen for his belt.

Granted, I think Johny Hendricks has more of a claim than Diaz, but rather than moan about the annoyance of the talker forcing his way into a fight, I'll simply be glad a Condit-Hendricks match now seems increasingly likely.

Heck, if Chael Sonnen can talk his way into a title match, I see no reason why Diaz can't too, especially if the champ also wants the match.

That's it for my title thoughts. Stay tuned for tomorrow's Bellator 83 preview and Saturday's UFC on Fox 5 preview.

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