What Yves Edwards can teach the UFC about WMMA

We’ve already seen a great example of what arrested development can do to a division: the Yves Edwards-ruled UFC lightweight fold.  The UFC didn’t have the resources to resurrect their smallest weight class after BJ Penn and Caol Uno drew for the title in 2003 and things fizzled out after Yves became their uncrowned champion, only able to find meaningful work gatekeeping for Pride’s lightweight division.

Yves Edwards never won a UFC title but if they had one when he fought Josh Thomson, he would have.   Meanwhile, Pride’s 160-pound division was only really competitive for Gomi, Kawajiri, Sakurai and Joachim Hansen and all told, the title was only actually fought for twice.  It was only when the Kenny Florian moved down and Sean Sherk followed him that the UFC decided to give lightweight another try after a year and a half running on silent.

Today, lightweight is one of the fastest-moving divisions in the sport despite only a few fighters having been at 155 the whole time (Diaz, Stout, Danzig, Edwards, Thomson)  and weak title fights with Hermes Franca and Joe Stevenson are almost completely a thing of the past.

The lesson is that the UFC gave the little guys a chance, just how they have done for 145, 135 and now 125.  Lightweight wasn’t a terribly interesting division until Frankie Edgar held the title and it still has a lot of room to grow, but Henderson-Melendez is arguably the most interesting fight yet and it’s only going to keep growing with the sport with the UFC putting on 31 cards last year and 6 already this year.

Bellator and Invicta just don’t have the infrastructure to develop and promote female talent.  It might not be a terribly profitable enterprise, but the UFC already has a meager harem of ten ladies and even though Dana White himself has hesitantly branded he Rousey era as an “experiment,” the female side of the sport just isn’t going to bloom without at least equal treatment to the lighter men’s divisions.

The women’s division so far makes just as much sense as the cast of Real World on week one, but with the right attention paid to matchmaking and meaningful signings, worthwhile competition will emerge sooner than later.  There’s no question that a well-credentialed bitch hunter like Ronda Rousey is the best choice to carry the banner, now it’s up to the UFC to keep faith and make exciting fights.

  • CAP

    omg stmx wtf gtfo.

    LW didn’t get exciting til Edgar was champ?? No. More like it got drawn out and we got unnecessary 2 out of 3 title defense marathons stalling the whole division.

    This is soobo levels of stupidity, you should drink your own piss.

  • Trol

    I agree with CAP. When Edgar was champ, the LW division stalled. I think the LW division was much more exciting when BJ dropped back down and almost cleaned it out. BJ even went for two belts because he was demolishing everyone at LW. GSP broke his will then though and BJ has never been the same.

    I regret we won’t see Henderson Vs Pettis. That would have been probably one of the greatest LW championship fights in a long time.

  • stmx

    Penn moved up because there wasn’t another good fight for him at 155 until Florian beat Stevenson for a title shot. LW only froze up for a bit under Edgar because he AND Maynard were hurt at the same time, remember that? Pettis vs. Guida happened between the those fights and was a really interesting title eliminator whereas the guys who fought for Penn’s title only really had Huerta, Lauzon, Stevenson to get past

    I also think Aldo-Pettis is going to be a way better fight than Henderson-Pettis

  • glassjawsh

    thank you for letting everyone know right off the bat that you’re dumb and also don’t watch any women’s mma. it makes our job of making you feel terrible about yourself a lot easier.

    the 135 pound division is actually pretty freaking stacked. Alexis Davis is an intriguing matchup because of her skillset and overall work rate (and I’ve never seen her in a boring fight), Sara McMann vs anyone in the division will pique a lot of interest because of her background (you think Dana White isn’t chomping at the bit to promote a fight between two olympic madalists?) and even though she just lost, who wouldn’t want to see Ronda take on that fucking lunatic Shayna Baszler (she would have twisted Ronda’s face off like a soda cap if she was on her back like Carmouche was).

    Even a rematch with Tate would be huge if she looks impressive against Cat Zigano (who I’m not going to talk about because I haven’t watched her fight and unlike the author of this post don’t like talking about things I have no idea about).

    I’m not even going to get into how you somehow completely discounted the reign of the greatest (and most exciting) lightweight in the history of the sport. Are you also not interested in Anderson Silva because he’s too dominant and likes to fight above his weight class?

    At least when Clint posts there is some semblence of reason and logic once you slog through all the typos and racism…

  • Nachtfalter

    Lightweight wasn’t interesting before Frankie Edgar was champion? Seriously? Do you live in some alternate reality or are you just plain retarded?

    I stopped reading at that point and I damn sure won’t read another post if I see it’s written by stmx. What kind of name is that, btw? Ryan, dump this sucker. What you produce when you fall asleep on the keyboard is no doubt more coherent and entertaining than anything this clueless idiot has to offer.

  • frickshun

    Click bait?

  • iamphoenix

    fuck, I’m gone for a month and I come back to stmx incoherent bullshit…Ryan, I’m sure this wasn’t the only dude who responded to you. You just got more herpes for this site.

  • iamphoenix

    I rewrote this for you:

    We’ve already seen Arrested Development. It was a great TV show FOX cancelled way too early. Yves Edwards has nothing to do with this. BJ Penn left and so did the lightweight division. Yves Edwards was just there. Yves Edwards never won a UFC title no if and’s or but’s.

    Kenny Florian and Sean Sherk.

    The lesson is that the UFC gave the little guys a chance because little guys are just like little girls.

    The women’s division so far makes just as much sense as the cast of Real World on week one, as opposed to the STD fueled cast of Season 200.

    Ronda Rousey is a bitch hunter.

  • iamphoenix

    where the fuck are my comments? I rewrote this for you:

    We’ve already seen Arrested Development. It was a great TV show FOX cancelled way too early. Yves Edwards has nothing to do with this. BJ Penn left and so did the lightweight division. Yves Edwards was just there. Yves Edwards never won a UFC title no if and’s or but’s.

    Kenny Florian and Sean Sherk.

    The lesson is that the UFC gave the little guys a chance because little guys are just like little girls.

    The women’s division so far makes just as much sense as the cast of Real World on week one, as opposed to the STD fueled cast of Season 200.

    Ronda Rousey is a bitch hunter.

  • bosswell

    Ilovephoenix

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