The UFC is missing out on a great opportunity with Renan Barao being forced out of his fight with Eddie Wineland at UFC 161. Why is that? Because we could have had an interim interim featherweight champion!
You see, Barao won the interim title after Dominick Cruz tore his ACL in preparation for his fight with Urijah Faber in late 2011. Now Barao is out with injured tendons in his foot, scrapping the main event for Winnipeg’s first UFC show.
But why couldn’t we just have seen Wineland take on Faber, who is the next highest-ranked featherweight and was willing to give it a go? That would have been a great fight.
At the very least it would have been better than the new main event for UFC 161: Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson. Those two guys are both coming off losses – Evans is on a two-fight skid – and are past their prime. I sure as hell don’t want to watch them go at it for $60.
Think of the possibilities of having three featherweight champions. You’d have three guys walking around with belts who rightfully can say they’re champs. The storylines would be delicious. Who would fight whom first? Would you unify the interim titles, or have Cruz fight Barao? Could it be the third champ vs. Cruz? Who knows?
Of course – and this is just the WWE fan side of me talking – what if we got a three-way brawl to decide it all? How many PPV buys would that get? It is highly unrealistic and dangerous, but talk about excitement! Just thinking about Cruz vs. Barao vs. Wineland gets my mouth watering.
At least it could have played out in a tournament between the three champs and the No. 1 contender. Maybe even fought all on the same night, the way that UFC used to be back in the day.
But, instead, Winnipeg and anyone that pre-ordered UFC 161 gets the shaft. Enjoy watching two guys who collectively haven’t won since January 2012.
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