UFC ON FOX: You’re Doing It Right

Jake Cochran

More often than not people will complain that they feel like the free fight cards feel just like that, fights they couldn’t charge people to buy.

But with the upcoming UFC on FOX 5 card in December and not to mention UFC on FOX 6 card coming up in January, the fans will be getting something for nothing, something that most fans would actually pay for.

The UFC on FOX 5 will feature a free title fight and two fights with possible title implications, and the fourth fight is set to be an incredible barn-burner. The free title fight will feature the lightweights, defending champion Benson Henderson and former Ultimate Fighter Season 4 winner, Nate Diaz.

The lightweight bout came to fruitarian after Henderson defeated former champ Frankie Edgar for the second consecutive time at UFC 155. The challenger, Diaz stamped his ticket for the fight after defeating Jim Miller at UFC on FOX 3.

After a somewhat unsuccessful run at welterweight ending in a two fight losing streak, Diaz is now back down to 155, a weight he feels much more comfortable at and is currently on a three fight winnings streak with two of the three wins coming by stoppage in the first and second rounds, respectively.

Henderson is on a five fight winning streak since merging over to the UFC after losing his title at WEC 53, the final event in the promotions history. In the loss to Anthony Pettis, Henderson made history as “the guy who got kicked in the face by the dude that jumped off the cage.”

Smooth made it a point to not let that be the moment that would define his career and has put on incredibly entertaining and dominant performance each time out since then. With all of his wins coming by the way of decision Henderson has his ability to finish a fight called into question.

However of his last five opponents, not taking into account their fights after him, and counting Edgar twice of Mark Bocek (9-4), Jim Miller (20-3), Clay Guida (29-12) and Frankie Edgar (14-2-1 and 14-3-1) with 112 total fights between the group, they have accumulated a record of 86-24-2. While that statistic itself may not be incredibly astounding of the 24 losses only eight have come by the way of stoppage with one of those stoppages belonging to Frankie Edgar over Mark Bocek. So Henderson has not exactly been fighting people that are easily finish.

The reason this fight is on free TV though is because while Henderson and Diaz certainly have the skill sets to make this fight an incredibly entertaining fight for hardcore and casual fans alike. They don’t have the name recognition to push  pay-per-view sales, and typically the lightweight belt, even though the title fights are often fight of the year caliber fights never really did big pay-per-view numbers even with the animosity that Edgar-Maynard created, or even when it was Penn-Edgar, the fight often needed a strong co-main event and even was pushed to co-main event itself.

So the UFC on FOX is the perfect venue for this fight, especially with the strong name backing of the next few fights. Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and 2005 Pride FC Grand Prix Champion Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua is facing off against up-and-comer Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson. Then B.J. Penn will be doing his best Brett Favre impersonation by going back upon his retirement decision after UFC 137 to face off against another quickly rising prospect in Rory MacDonald. Finally rounding out the card will be a surefire welterweight war of Mike ‘Quick’ Swick and Matt ‘The Immortal’ Brown.

‘Shogun’ is making his return off of a one-sided thrashing over a very outmatched Brandon Vera at UFC on FOX 4. Rua is looking to finish this fight and put himself right back into line for a title shot at 205, while Gustafsson is looking to keep his win streak going and get some more recognition with possibly getting his first shot at the 12 pounds of gold.

The Penn-MacDonald fight is the classic new breed versus old guard fight. BJ Penn has held the belt in two division in the UFC and is a shoe-in for the hall of fame when they decide to call his number, but that won’t stop ‘The Prodigy’ from making one last shot at the title.

‘Ares’ however is looking to get one step closer to the title and put a win over Penn on his resume. MacDonald is a training partner of the current welterweight kingpin, Georges St. Pierre and lost a close battle late to the interim champ Carlos Condit, so he clearly has the pedigree to get near the belt but when the cage locks behind him in December he will get to make his case as to how close he is to wearing that belt.

The final fight on the main card between Mike Swick and Matt Brown is a matchup between two veteran warriors. They have a collective 26 UFC fights between them, so these guys have been around the block for a while and Swick has flirted with title contention for a few years before getting set back by more than just a few injuries.

Both warriors come into this fight on a win streak and a win over the other would put either fighter back into the top ten of an extremely packed welterweight division, regardless of who wins this fight don’t count on it going the distance as they have accumulated 24 wins by stoppage.