(Dana White runs down some current events with Ariel Helwani following the press conference. Props: MMAFighting)
The UFC hosted a press conference in Vancouver yesterday in advance of UFC 131, but the most interesting announcements had nothing to do with Saturday’s “Dos Santos vs. Carwin” event. Here’s a recap…
Five-round non-title fights: UFC president Dana White announced that the UFC will make non-title main event fights five rounds from now on; previously, only title fights were worthy of the five-round distinction. The rule doesn’t apply to non-title main events that are already booked — Dos Santos vs. Carwin, or Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis at UFC 133, for example — but it will apply to every non-title main event signed in the future, even for UFC Fight Night and UFC Live events.
Flyweight division in the works: According to White, the UFC will be adding a 125-pound division “really soon,” possibly by the end of 2011. He expected that some of the UFC’s current bantamweights would make the drop.
Nick Diaz to vacate Strikeforce welterweight title: When Diaz returns to the UFC to challenge Georges St. Pierre for GSP’s welterweight title in October, he’ll be leaving his own belt behind. Said DW: ”[Diaz] will give up his Strikeforce title. He will come in and fight Georges St-Pierre, two guys will fight for the vacant belt in Strikeforce and we’ll go from there.”
Jon Jones vs. Quinton Jackson slated for September: The rumored light-heavyweight title scrap between Bones and Rampage will take place at UFC 135 (September 24, Denver), pending medical clearance for Jones’s hand. Diego Sanchez vs. Matt Hughes is also expected for that event.
UFC still looking at China, Sweden for future events: Though the U.K. is getting shut out this year, Dana White announced that he hopes to bring the promotion to China “within the next 18 months.” The UFC also has plans for an event in Sweden sometime after 2011.
TUF 14 hype-up of the day: “The fights to get into the house happened Tuesday,” White said. “I’m going to figure out a way to make sure every one of those fights airs on TV. The best fights ever in the history of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’…There’s some nasty guys on this season. Just the show open is better than the entire last season’s fights.”