While most believe Octagon brass were bashing their collective heads against the Honda Center walls after Brock Lesnar lost his heavyweight title – and more importantly, his aura of invincibility – to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121, the former WWE superstar’s exile from The Land of the Untouchables isn’t the worst thing that could have happened to the world’s premier mixed martial arts show.
Win, lose or draw, Lesnar would still headline every future UFC event he appears in. Despite his impressive overall skills and resume, Velasquez would likely have had to work his way back up to main eventing a pay-per-view had he received his first professional blemish.
Thankfully for fight fanatics, Cain rained on Lesnar’s parade and injected more depth into a division that was on life support not too many moons ago.
With Velasquez spearheading the charge, Junior dos Santos coming in at numero dos, Lesnar, former interim champ Shane Carwin and prior title holders Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira all in the mix, there are a bevy of box office brawls available to the UFC’s shot callers.
Considering Velasquez is only 28-years-young, parlayed with the fact former light heavyweight king Tito Ortiz has seen better days, and the company recently cut ties with former “The Ultimate Fighter 8” winner and Mexican-born Efrain Escudero, an invasion south of the border shouldn’t be their top priority.
However, there’s a reason why the Octagon has a stranglehold on the sport. They set themselves up perfectly by pushing Velasquez’s plight to becoming the first Mexican-American heavyweight champ in history – just in case the Gambling Gods were wrong. Now Mexico has a charismatic figure to rally behind, which only bolsters the UFC’s pursuit of achieving global dominance.
At the end of the day, the fans win. Long gone are the mundane days of Tim Sylvia vs. Andrei Arlovski headlining every other heavyweight title fight. Add a few notable 265-pounders from rival Strikeforce and the UFC’s biggest division would unquestionably be it’s most blockbuster.