UFC 208 Preview

ufc-208Over the past few months, the UFC has entered a strange place as they have gone from the fastest growing sport in the world to being unable to break into that next level.

Last year they seemed to reach an impasse in that goal to join the big five leagues in North America and there are plenty of theories for that.

Many believe that it is as simple as the lack of superstars in the promotion but it is a likely a more complex issue.

Most of it has to do with the switch that the UFC made, especially through the last year as they prepared to sell the company, from the brand to the individual.

They moved from being the UFC to being the home of Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, which is a risky move.

That worked well before their sale but since then it turned out to be the wrong decision as Rousey is likely never going to fight again and McGregor is using his power to get a bigger piece of the pie.

As McGregor sits on the sidelines awaiting the birth of his son and a fight that will likely break his own record for being the highest paid MMA fighter in the world, the UFC is without a star.

There is nobody else that can sell a card all on their own but that hasn’t stopped the UFC from looking to create stars or bring stars into the promotion.

That can be a challenge as a loss ends the rise of a star pretty quickly but it hasn’t stopped the UFC from attempting to get those stars.

Their latest attempt has not worked out the way they have wanted as the UFC created an entire division to welcome in an MMA superstar only to see that superstar take a backseat.

That division is the women’s featherweight division which was created to bring Cris Cyborg into the UFC on a full-time basis.

Aside from Rousey the biggest female fight star has been Cyborg who many thought has always been the best female fighter in the world.

The problem for the UFC was that Cyborg was a heavier female fighter who didn’t really fit into the 115 lbs strawweight or the 135 lbs bantamweight division.

With a need of stars, the UFC began bringing Cyborg into the promotion from Invicta, the all-female promotion owned by the UFC, giving her two fights at a 140 lbs catchweight.

Those two fights showed the UFC that there was a demand for the Brazilian fighter as a regular in the UFC.

She couldn’t fight at 135 lbs though and so the UFC eventually bent to the pressure from the fans and created a 145 lbs featherweight division.

It was pretty clear that the division was built to see Cyborg as a UFC champion before her time in the game was up.

The problem with that plan was that Cyborg claimed she couldn’t get down to 145 lbs and do it in a healthy way.

Then she got caught by USADA for using a banned diuretic, which helped her cut to 140 lbs for the catchweight fights, and is facing a 1-year ban.

It left the UFC with a new division and no big name to drive it but that didn’t stop them from putting on the first female featherweight fight.

Presumably, Cyborg is still the fighter they want to be at the top of the division but they might have to wait for that chance.mma-sidebar.fw

Instead, they will put two fighters with less star power but plenty of talent to become the champion and remain the champion.

There is the former bantamweight champion who earned a name for becoming the first person to beat Rousey with a vicious head kick.

Holly Holm is not necessarily a no-name after that fight and for bigger fight fans she is one of the most successful fighters in the entire UFC.

She was an 18-time boxing champion and left the sport with a 33-2-1 record before going into a successful kickboxing career and eventually into MMA.

Heading into her fight against Rousey she had yet to lose an MMA fight but since that win, she has dropped two in a row and is now looking for another belt by getting back on the winning track.

Her opponent is successful in her own right as Germaine de Randamie held a number of kickboxing and Muay Thai championships.

Since entering the UFC she has shown that striking game, winning both of her last two fights via knockout.

Now she attempts to add another championship to her resume and bring the third title to Europe and the first ever UFC title to the Netherlands.

The fight itself may not have the superstar that everyone wanted but with two of the top strikers in the UFC’s women’s roster, it could be a great fight.

The UFC will continue to try to develop their stars but depending on how this turns out they may have one in the new women’s featherweight title.

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