(Horrendous photoshop or future UFC poster? The answer may surprise you…)
By Jared Jones
Johny Hendricks has not fought since narrowly defeating Robbie Lawler to earn the welterweight title back at UFC 171. Chris Weidman has defended his middleweight title all of two times, via a broken leg TKO of Anderson Silva and a recent UD win over Lyoto Machida. That neither man has even come close to cleaning out their division has not deterred certain members of the MMA media, however, from proposing the idea of a “superfight” between the two at every possible opportunity.
To his credit, Dana White has rightfully shot down the notion of a Hendricks-Weidman superfight, stating on Inside MMA that ”[Hendricks is] in a very nasty division packed with talent from No. 1 to No. 13. You have a lot of housework to do before you clean out the division and talk about Chris Weidman.”
Yeah, but what about Hendricks vs. Norris?
Weidman has expressed a similar disinterest:
I don’t even think that I’d entertain that. Not that he’s not good or anything like that, but it just doesn’t make any sense to talk about it now. [Hendricks] hasn’t defended his belt yet, and I have more people to fight in my weight class. On top of that, I would never call out a guy who’s smaller than me. I’m a lot bigger than him, I think. I know he walks around heavy but I’d feel like I’d have a huge advantage in that fight, so I’m not calling him out.
And thank science for that. Now if only we can finish this interview without entertaining another ridiculously premature superfight question…
Jon Jones is different. He’s taller than me, he’s bigger than me, so that’s a different story. That would be more of a test than Johny Hendricks.
God damn it.
Look, MMA media, I know that you are content to recycle the same five or so base-level questions during these interviews (“How’s your camp going? Who would you like to fight next? How would you rate your performance? What’s your perfect Sunday like?”) until the end of time, but enough with these superfight questions already. If Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva taught us anything, it’s that the only matchups good enough to actually warrant the “superfight” moniker are never going to happen, whether due to contract issues, scheduling conflicts, or simply because one fighter doesn’t see the merit in moving up or down in weight for a non-title fight with few actual stakes on the line.
Other than Dana White’s coveted “Pound-for-Pound Greatest Fighter of the Day” award, that is.
And not only that, but repeatedly forcing a superfight narrative where none such exists is pretty much the closest thing you can do to placing a curse on one of the fighters being discussed. You’re all but asking one of them to lose their next fight. It happened with Anderson, it happened with Fedor, etc. It’s the TUF coaches rule of excessive fight hype: For every word spoken about a potential juggernaut MMA fight, the likelihood that one of the two fighters will go down with an injury increases 10%. You don’t actually think that Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez are going to thrown down at the end of TUF 20, do you? Bad Tater! Bad! (*hits you with stick*)
So please, MMA media, let’s wait until our current UFC champions at least get a few title defenses under their belt before we call for a superfight. Or better yet, let’s wait until our champions can string together two straight defenses without having to undergo a surgery that benches them for the majority of a year. I know, cautious optimism…