Looking for Stardom in Anaheim

ufc-214Nobody really knows what makes a star in the sports world as there always seems to be a perfect formula until the next star comes along.

The UFC is not immune to this and in fact, they fall further into the trap of trying to make stars because they need them.

In the MMA world, there are no teams to follow, fight fans follow their favourite fighters and so the UFC needs stars for fans to follow.

The problem with that is that no matter what the UFC does they will never be able to create a star because stars just happen.

Look at the biggest star in the sport right now, an Irishman who is one of the greatest trash talkers in the business.

Conor McGregor is an in your face personality who brags about his money and claims to be the greatest MMA fighter of all time.

So many times, fans have hated that combination but for some reason, McGregor remains the biggest name in the sport.

As the UFC continues to search for other stars the fans are making up their minds already about fighters that they choose to follow.

At UFC 214 three title fights featured perfect lessons in what makes a star or what just seems to fall flat.

The UFC Women’s Featherweight title was on the line first and the woman known as the greatest female fighter in the history of MMA was set to achieve her ultimate goal.

Yet despite the fact that Cristiane Justino, better known as Cyborg, is the greatest female fighter ever she struggles to get the fans that other fighters have.ufc-214ii

She has a big following but in North America, the following is far less than a fighter like Gina Carano or Ronda Rousey.

Unfortunately for Cyborg, the North American market tends to put more emphasis on the looks rather than the talent when it comes to women.

Cyborg does not have the model looks like Rousey or Carano have but she sure has the talent to trump both of those fighters.

It also didn’t help that she had failed a PED test earlier in her career and that she finds it tough to get in the octagon with very few women wanting to fight her.

She struggled to get any kind of attention but as she entered UFC 214 she was hoping that showcasing her talent at her natural weight class for a title would change things.

The fight was a bit surprising as Tonya Evinger proved to be one of her toughest opponents ever.

She stood in there for three rounds but eventually, the pressure and the power of Cyborg was too much as the Featherweight division got the queen that was always supposed to reign over the division.

Now she hopes that the title will give her more recognition and a bigger following in North America although the toughest thing now might be finding other women willing to fight her.

After Cyborg took home her belt, two more fighters that have struggled to be household names faced off for the welterweight title.

Tyron Woodley seems like he could easily be a star as a good-looking and confident but not too confident man that has great stand-up and is a champion.

Meanwhile, Demian Maia is that humble martial artist and simply one of the most dominant BJJ practitioners in the promotion.

Yet despite how that has worked out for people like Georges St. Pierre Maia has remained a relative unknown even after a seven-fight win streak.

Neither has been able to get the attention that would make them a star but putting together an impressive performance at UFC 214 could change things for either of them.

Neither got that impressive win although Woodley did retain his belt against Maia in a five round fight.

Maia was looking to take the fight to the ground but the takedown defence of Woodley was just too much as Woodley stayed standing and did just enough to win.

mma-sidebar.fwThen there was the biggest mystery in the sport when Daniel Cormier defended his belt against Jon Jones.

It has been a question asked by everyone “Why do fans seem unable to get behind Cormier?”

Nobody has the answer as he is a well-spoken fighter with a side gig on FOX and was a former American Olympian.

Yet everyone hates him and they tend to love his biggest rival in Jones who was one of the biggest stars in the UFC until he threw it all away.

After a hit and run that involved a pregnant woman that then lead to the exposure of a drug problem, everyone loves Jones.

He has done everything that would turn everyone off and yet he remains massive while Cormier struggles to get any fans on his side.

As they finally got to face-off after years of waiting, Cormier was hoping that a win against the only man to beat him would finally end the struggle to be a fan favourite.

He never got the chance though as Jones looked good in his return to the octagon and took home the belt that he had never truly lost in a fight.

After both fighters exchanged plenty throughout the first two rounds Jones landed a massive head kick in the third that sent Cormier to the mat and kept him there.

Jones remains the only fighter to beat Cormier and potentially the final fighter he may ever see as many have wondered how long Cormier will continue.

For Jones, it was a big return that gave him his title back as the reign of “Bones” will continue after a brief hiatus.

The creation of a star is a mystery for so many but three fighters entered UFC 214 with the hopes that they could find that secret.

Some did everything they could to get that and could see stardom coming while some may never see it after they couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity.

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