The UFC, in its ever-increasing attempts at expanding its brand around the globe, is running a lot of shows.
This is an unarguable point. Whether or not you believe it is running too many events comes down to your own personal preference. Some of you can't get enough mixed martial arts, and you'll gladly watch two events in one day (like the UFC has planned for this Saturday). For some of you, two events in a single day—and four events in the span of eight days—is simply too much of a good thing.
The massive amount of fight cards the UFC is pushing results in a watered-down product. On Saturday, Nate Marquardt and James Te Huna headline an event from New Zealand that will air exclusively on Fight Pass. Marquardt and Te Huna are a combined 0-5 in their last five bouts. Sure, there are some decent fights on the New Zealand card, but there are a lot of fights filled with competitors most of us have never heard of.
The same goes for the Fox Sports 1 card from San Antonio later in the day. Cub Swanson vs. Jeremy Stephens is a stellar television main event, and there are other intriguing bouts on the card. But there is plenty of filler, too.
Just for fun, I thought it would be interesting to pretend like we've gone back in time a few years, to a time when the UFC ran one pay-per-view and perhaps one television show each month. What would those pay-per-view cards look like if we got rid of the fluff and kept the good fights? How stacked would they be?
It's an interesting idea, and it is one I'll be exploring on a monthly basis here at Bleacher Report.
Each month, we'll pretend as though the UFC is running one pay-per-view and one free television event. We'll combine the rest of the events, keeping the best fights for the pay-per-view cards and tossing the rest on the junk pile.
For this month, our focus is UFC 175. We'll take the best fights from this weekend's two events and create our own fantasy version of the pay-per-view. At the end, I'll give you the opportunity to vote on which card you'd rather see: the real UFC 175, or the fantasy one we've constructed from the ashes of three events.
Let's get started.
Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida (Middleweight title)
Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis (Women's bantamweight title)
Stefan Struve vs. Matt Mitrione
Urijah Faber vs. Alex Caceres
Cub Swanson vs. Jeremy Stephens
I've kept three of the original UFC 175 pay-per-view fights: Weidman vs. Machida, Rousey vs. Davis and Struve vs. Mitrione. The two title fights are obvious choices, and Struve vs. Mitrione is interesting because of Struve's recent medical issues.
Swanson vs. Stephens moves to the opening fight on the pay-per-view. It's impossible to imagine it being anything less than thrilling, and the UFC likes to open pay-per-view events with exciting fights. Swanson vs. Stephens fits that bill, and it has some importance because of the title implications involved.
I've also moved Urijah Faber vs. Alex Caceres from the Fox Sports 1 card to the pay-per-view. Faber has never appeared on a preliminary card in his WEC or UFC career, and there's no reason to put him there now.
FOX SPORTS 1
Hatsu Hioki vs. Charles Oliveira
Uriah Hall vs. Thiago Santos
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nicholas Musoke
Ricardo Lamas vs. Hacran Dias
Hioki vs. Oliveira is an interesting featherweight fight, so I've moved it from the New Zealand card to the headlining spot on the preliminary card. Hall vs. Santos drops from the pay-per-view to Fox Sports 1, and Gastelum vs. Musoke moves from Fight Night 44.
Nate Marquardt vs. James Te Huna
Andrew Craig vs. Cezar Ferreira
Marcus Brimage vs. Russell Doane
Marquardt vs. Te Huna moves to the Fight Pass prelims instead of headlining Fight Night 43. It's a spot much more fitting for two fighters who are 0-5 in their last five fights. Joining them is Craig vs. Ferreira and Brimage vs. Doane.
So, what do you think? Do you want to watch three UFC events, or would you rather take the cream of the crop and combine them into one pay-per-view? Would you rather see the original UFC 175 pay-per-view, or my fantasy version? Let me know by voting in the poll over on the right, and I'll see you next month for our fantasy version of UFC 176.