UFC 209 Preview

ufc-209So far the UFC’s year has not had the greatest start as both of the biggest stars are out without much of a sign that they will be back and most of their cards being pretty forgettable.

There have been good fights so far but most of the cards are ones that fight purists love but that everyone else ignores.

The stars are lacking and the big fights have been as well but it all might be turning around with the announcement that one of the biggest stars ever, Georges St. Pierre is about the return.

It all seems to be kicking off with the first big card of the year with two title fights that mean a lot in what has become one of the biggest issues in the UFC right now.

That is the log jam that exists for more than one weight class as the UFC has seen a number of weight classes get stuck with champions taking time off or indecision in title fights.

It has been an issue because the best part of the UFC is that pursuit of championships yet these championship fights are coming less often and are involving a lot of the same people.

The heavyweight division has been waiting until Stipe Miocic finishes his time off that will end in May, while the Light Heavyweight division has dealt with the Jon Jones saga leaving only two contenders that will fight next month.

The Middleweight division hasn’t seen a championship fight since November and won’t until Michael Bisping and Georges St. Pierre fight later this year.

In the flyweight division, there is simply nobody left for Demetrious Johnson to beat while in women’s fighting the same can be said for Joanna Jędrzejczyk.

Only a few divisions have had meaningful activity but the welterweight, featherweight and lightweight divisions are not among them.

For the featherweight and lightweight titles, the issue has been the same and that issue is Conor McGregor.

McGregor took both titles in 2016 but never defended either, instead looking for the big fights and taking time off to be with his girlfriend as they prepare for the birth of their first child.

That time off and his inactivity have stalled both divisions leading the UFC to strip him of the featherweight title and give it to Jose Aldo who has yet to defend that title.

In the lightweight division the log jam is still there as the UFC awaits the return of McGregor but even then he may want to fight a big fight instead of defending his belt against a top contender.

The division is still in flux but at UFC 209 some clarity will be seen as the top two contenders in the division will face-off.

Khabib Nurmagomedov has been one of the best lightweight fighters in the UFC for years and yet he never seemed to get his shot, partially due to injuries that left his 2016 with fewer fights.

He will take on Tony Ferguson who enters the fight with a nine-fight win streak, one of the longest active streaks in the UFC, and has been demanding a title shot for a long time.

Both of these fighters could have likely been a lightweight champion but McGregor cut in line and held things up.mma-sidebar.fw

At UFC 209 they get their chance to take the interim title and earn a chance at the title, whether that is a fight with McGregor or being given the vacant title.

After the lightweight division is given some clarity the welterweight division will end their logjam as well.

This log jam is a little more entertaining though as it came with one of the top fights in 2016 when Stephen Thompson and Tyron Woodley fought to a draw.

In his first title defence Woodley tried to end the fight early but simply couldn’t get it done as Thompson kept coming forward.

When the fight was finished it was a majority draw leaving the belt around the waist of Woodley and yet no real winner.

They will get the chance to prove once and for all that they are the better fighter in a much-anticipated rematch.

It is an interesting striking match between a power striker looking for the knockout with one punch and a karate fighter looking to mix his strikes.

That itself was an interesting clash of styles but what was strange was that a NCAA Division-I wrestler gave up on wrestling early in the fight.

Woodley is clearly the better wrestler and at the start of the fight, he saw success in the wrestling game but then abandoned it after catching Thompson with a big right hand.

Woodley might want to wrestle more but might also fall in love with his power again leaving the fight as a bit of a mystery.

One way or another the title picture should get slightly clearer although a rematch isn’t out of the question no matter who wins.

The UFC will get going with their first really big card of the year and they will get some clarity in two divisions where the log jam has slowed things down.

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