You’d imagine with all of the hard work the UFC has done to repair their shitty heavyweight division over the past year, they’d have a better bout for #1 contender than Brandon Vera vs Tim Sylvia. However, the guys at MMAJunkie normally won’t give you their opinion on the fucking weather, but they ARE saying that’s what it looks like:
Current champ Couture will likely return to action Feb. 2 for a SuperBowl weekend card in Las Vegas. There’s been speculation that he would face Fedor Emelianenko, but the PRIDE heavyweight champion seems to be in no hurry to sign with the UFC. And, as of now, no Plan B has been mentioned.
Additionally, a bout between top contenders Cheick Kongo and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has been pushed back until early 2008, so the fight’s winner wouldn’t be ready for Couture in February.
As for other possible opponents, a rematch with Gabriel Gonzaga seems unlikely, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has lost two in a row (and reportedly isn’t returning phone calls from the UFC), Andrei Arlovski still hasn’t gotten a new deal (and would probably need a tune-up fight anyway), and Fabricio Werdum seems to have fallen off the face of the earth since a lackluster loss to Arlovski in April.
Okay, so lets ignore for the moment that I’m about two days behind on the news and that Couture has quit the UFC. It doesn’t really change the fact that all the dudes the UFC brought in to pad the weight class have fucked things up a la Three Stooges. Mirko’s had two chances to get himself into the title running, and the UFC is pacing Big Nog’s performances at glacial speed.
The UFC’s refusal to sign Josh Barnett, re-sign Andrei Arlovski, ignore Werdum, and of course land Fedor have added up to create quite the quagmire. I’m sure no one expected us to come full circle the way we have with no better contenders than ballroom dancer Tim Sylvia and overhyped Brandon Vera.