Much has been made of the fact that there’s not a lot of hype going into this fight.
Typically, the UFC chooses coaches on the Ultimate Fighter to build up a main event title fight between two fighters at the conclusion of the show. In most cases, there’s a long-standing issue between the two coaches that plays out over the course of a season, thus building up the fight. Put simply, it’s classic pro-wrestling booking at its finest in that two men have an issue with each other, the issue comes to light and tensions rise, and then the two men finally meet in the ring to determine who the better man is. People pay to see this stuff.
This season of the Ultimate Fighter just felt different. There’s obviously no animosity between Forrest and Rampage. In fact, I’d wager that they’re probably very good friends. Despite Dana White’s attempts to magnify small issues between the two, it’s still apparent that there is absolutely no grudge between these two men. A lot of people are disappointed that there’s no Serra/Hughes or Ortiz/Shamrock-style feud here, and quite a few MMA journalists believe it will hurt the buyrate.
You know what? The hype doesn’t matter to me. I wanted to see this fight from the moment Forrest beat Shogun Rua last year. Shogun was considered the best light heavyweight fighter in the world, and Griffin dominated him for 3 rounds before submitting him. Rampage is the UFC title holder. It’s a natural fit.
I like to see fighters fight each other. It doesn’t matter one iota if there’s an issue between Forrest Griffin and Rampage Jackson, because they are two of the highest-ranked light heavyweight fighters in the world and they’re going to fight each other.
That’s all the reason I need to order this show.
I’ll be back later in the week with my preview and predictions for UFC 87.