Today, during my usual morning muse of various MMA news sites to keep myself updated in the sport, there was one subject that irritated me. That irritation grew as I saw it again… and again. Waiting on a title shot.
Nate Diaz is waiting on a title shot. Johny Hendricks is waiting on a title shot. Alan Belcher is waiting on a title shot. Honestly, I’m a bit surprised Lavar Johnson didn’t say that he was waiting on a title shot against the UFC Heavyweight Champion.
In this twitter, impatient society that we live in today, it’s asinine for a fighter to “wait”. In a 45 minute lecture, the average human will pay attention to roughly 15 minutes of it. In other words, humans have a short attention span.
Unless your a well-known fighter like Anderson Silva, George St. Pierre, or Jon Jones waiting a fight is basically cutting off one of your limbs from a business perspective. The momentum a fighter garnered from a huge win will be lost because people will forget about the fight and move on to the next guy on a big winning streak.
MMA is a sport where a fighter has to continue to compete on a consistent basis because there are plenty of other fighters that are fighting regularly that are trying to hop over somebody in the ladder of contenders.
So the question remains, what is a fighter’s motif for waiting on a potential title shot? Is it money? Exposure? the opportunity to become UFC champion? All of those things will come to a fighter that has champion level talent.
If anything waiting for a title shot showcases a lack of confidence in a fighter’s own ability. If these fighters are truly confident in there skills then why don’t they fight the best in the world at any given time under any circumstances? It’s not like they are going to be able to avoid the elite fighters as a champion (Looking at Tito Ortiz, never mind).
The only fighter that has some merit to wait on a title shot is Nate Diaz. The win over Jim Miller established himself as one of the top contenders if not the top contender for the lightweight championship after the Ben Henderson/Frankie Edgar fight takes place in August. The only problem is that the fight is in August and barring significant injuries suffered by the winner of that bout, Diaz’s next fight could easily be seven to eight months away.
If Nate is anything like his brother Nick then he probably values money. A win over another top contender on a big stage would increase the stock of Diaz and the potential money he could make in a championship fight.
Johny Hendricks is the first fighter that could potentially wait for a title shot that makes me scratch my head. Although Hendricks has asserted himself as a top five welterweight with fantastic wins over Koscheck and Fitch, he’s clearly behind Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz from a contender’s standpoint and waiting for a fight against the winner of Condit/GSP would put Hendricks out for at least a year.
Hendricks’ win over Koscheck was a bit controversial as indicated by fighter turned judge Ricardo Almeida who gave the fight to Josh Koscheck. Viewers of the fight probably wouldn’t give Hendricks that big of a chance to dethrone the welterweight champion. A significant win over another contender such as the winner of Kampmann/Ellenberger would put Hendricks as the clear no. 1 contender for the UFC welterweight championship.
If Johny Hendricks waiting on a title shot make me scratch my head then Alan Belcher waiting to face the potential champion of the 185 pound weight class makes me bang my head against a steel wall.
Don’t get me wrong Belcher’s win over Toquinho was impressive, but by no means is he in the running for a potential title shot. A victory over Palhares was a step in the right direction, but he is barely in the top ten right now at middleweight. A win or two over quality opponents would solidify him as a legitimate threat to compete for UFC gold.
The majority of MMA fighters have aspirations of becoming a UFC champion, but waiting on title shots is not the way to accomplish that dream. A fighter should continue to hone his craft and record quality wins until Joe Silva calls his name to fight for the golden standard in Mixed Martial Arts that is the UFC Championship.