5 times the UFC gave the title to more market fighters instead of worthy contenders

UFC chairperson White Dana can claim that his promotion is only aimed at creating the best battles between the best fighters. Honestly, that’s not always the case.

Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of examples of the UFC ignoring well-deserved fighters in favor of more market-priced fighters, especially when it comes to UFC title fights. While this approach certainly makes more money for the UFC, it can also throw the credibility of the ad into question, bringing it closer to WWE territory than White could have wished for.

Will the UFC pull back on this trick in the near future by ignoring Justin Gaethje’s claim of a UFC lightweight belt in favor? Conor McGregor? Only time will tell, but it wouldn’t be a shock if they did.

So what day do I play against Oliveira?

With that in mind, here are five times the UFC has given the title to more market fighters instead of worthy contenders.

#5. Georges St-Pierre vs Nick Diaz – UFC 158

UFC skips Johny Hendricks to give Nick Diaz his shot at Georges St-Pierre
UFC skips Johny Hendricks to give Nick Diaz his shot at Georges St-Pierre

When the UFC acquired competitive advertising Strikeforce in early 2011, the ad battle that fans wanted more than any other was the one between the heavyweights Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz.

The UFC seemed to have the idea and signed GSP to face Diaz at UFC 137. However, the fight fell apart when Diaz was dropped after failing to fulfill his media duties, forcing the UFC to replace him with Carlos Condit. GSP then injured his knee, leaving him sidelined.

When Diaz later defeated BJ Penn, a temporary title fight between him and Condit was set up. Condit beat Diaz in that match, and after his loss, the Stockton native will spend more than a year on the shelves.

During the interim period, Johnny Hendricks began climbing the UFC rankings with a series of impressive finishes, knocking out players like Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann.

When St-Pierre returns and defeats Condit, it looks like a fight with ‘Bigg Rigg’ is the only option for him. However, the UFC decided to go back to the well and instead concluded a fight between GSP and Diaz.

Dana on GSP vs. Diaz “This fight has been going on for a long time, this is the fight GSP wants, and I can’t say no to Georges.”

This seems very unfair to the Hendricks, who have won the championship twice during Diaz’s time on shelves. Basically, the UFC skipped ‘Bigg Rigg’ entirely because of Diaz’s enduring popularity.

As it turned out, GSP beat Diaz with ease in their game, while Hendricks beat Condit on the same card, setting up a title showdown against St-Pierre afterward.

Even so, the UFC’s casting of Hendricks in favor of Diaz remains one of the more egregious examples of advertising that comes with marketability rather than a worthy contender. 5 times the UFC gave the title to more market fighters instead of worthy contenders

Aila Slisco

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