On Wednesday, UFC 170 took a huge hit when co-main eventer Rashad Evans injured his knee, throwing his bout against Daniel Cormier into the netherworld and making UFC 170 a show buoyed only by champ Ronda Rousey’s star power. But Cormier lobbied hard to stay on the card, saying he’d fight anyone and anything, and though it seemed at first as if he wasn’t going to get his wish, a fight did materialize. His opponent: Octagon newcomer Patrick Cummins, a credentialed wrestler with a whopping four fights to his name, but whose claim to fame is that he trained with Cormier when Cormier was an Olympian and allegedly “made him cry”.
To hear Deadspin tell it, this is the kind of matchmaking that would fit right in at the circus, the kind of sideshow attraction that comes after the sword-swallower and right before the dude who grapples with the bear. But that’s not quite accurate. Because sure, Cummins is no where near ready for the likes of Cormier, who won Strikeforce’s heavyweight grand prix swan song, and who’s beaten former heavyweight champs like they’re nothing. But a good portion of the fight game is the ability to sell a fight, and this one is getting sold nicely.
Is there actual beef there? Is Cormier truly heated over what’s coming out of Cummins mouth? Honestly, that only matters so much, because the story of Cummins toiling away at a coffee shop and getting fired because Dana White called taps into some Rocky/Cinderella Man vibe that makes fight fans want to tune in just on the off chance that the impossible might happen.
It is highly unlikely that Cummins is going to emerge from that Octagon victorious. But that’s not the point. The point is now we have a reason besides Rousey to watch UFC 170. Something interesting has been made out of nothing.