UFC Fight Night 116 Preview

ufc-fn116The UFC has long been the premier promotion for Mixed Martial Arts as the best athletes in the world head to the UFC to be the best fighters in the world.

Despite the issues that the promotion has faced over the last few years it remains the place where the best talent resides.

That can become painfully obvious when hyped fighters enter the UFC and are brought down to earth when they begin facing the talent in the UFC.

Champions and prospects have all been exposed as just good fighters in the UFC and eventually, they find their way out of the UFC.

That doesn’t always happen as there are plenty of fighters that have come in and made a difference but for fighters making the jump, it can be a challenge.

At UFC Fight Night 116 the two main events fighters know all too well about the difference that the UFC provides in the MMA world.

Both Luke Rockhold and Dave Branch began their careers elsewhere and worked their way to the top of other promotions before making the move to the UFC.

Rockhold was always considered one of the best fighters in the world and as a member of Strikeforce, he proved to be that great fighter.

He moved his way up the middleweight division and won the Strikeforce championship defending it twice before he made the move.

It was widely thought that Rockhold was going to make a real difference in the UFC as he seemed to have all of the tools.

His first fight was a wake-up call though as Vitor Belfort knocked him out in the first round spoiling the debut.

Eventually, he found his way though as his second fight launched a five-fight win streak that brought him to the title challenge against Chris Weidman.

He took the win and earned the champion but the reality of the UFC came back in his first title defence when he didn’t take Michael Bisping seriously.

His lack of respect for the British challenger was his downfall as Rockhold took the loss and ended his reign as champion.

Rockhold has been off for more than a year after injuring his knee last year but he is ready to return.mma-sidebar.fw

He has hopefully learned the lessons that the first few fights provided as he cannot step into the octagon without respect for his opponent.

There are simply too many good fighters in the promotion as there is really nobody that is an easy fight if you don’t take them seriously.

Branch has yet to learn that as the former World Series of Fighting champion will enter his second UFC fight against Rockhold.

He has not lost since 2012, winning 11 straight fights including his FUC debut against Krzysztof Jotko.

That win was a split decision though and this is a step up in competition, even in the UFC, and this fight marks a very important point.

Branch will wither get the lessons that Rockhold has learned and realize that the UFC is a different level, or he will show that he is the real deal.

A twelfth straight win is a big one and against a former champion it will only be bigger as a win here could tell the entire division that Branch is ready to compete with the best.

The UFC is always looking for the best fighters in the world and the best fighters in the world will usually find their way to the UFC.

It is the place to compete with the best of the best and in order to be considered the best fighter in the world, they need to compete here.

Both Branch and Rockhold are attempting to do just that but the only way to get there is to go through each other.

The winner of the fight could be right in the title picture while the loser will need to see what they need to do in order to match the talent in the UFC.

Rockhold has seen what happens when the competition gets stepped up and he has paid the price for that step up.

Branch has yet to see that other side but very well might and if he doesn’t his stock will skyrocket as a real contender.

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