The fight has been made “official” with the UFC’s formal announcement, we’ve had our first press conference, and the poster ink is still drying, fresh from the printer. I knew it was going to happen, but the UFC had stayed silent for so long, it was nice to hear them finally announce it.
As soon as the news was out, the oddsmakers went to work. Someone told me Bisping had opened as the favorite, but to be honest, I’ve never really paid attention to things like that. Did those guys give Mike a chance against Rockhold? Early odds, late odds and the odds and ends in between are just a lot of white noise. You learn to tune it all out as you go along.
Something that does warrant some extra attention, and it’s one of the only drawbacks to this fight, is how late it’s going to take place. It’s certainly not your normal fight time, and most people don’t want to be out at three or four in the morning to see a fight. Fans in the UK are probably kind of bummed about that, but that’s where the compromise comes into play. If you want the fight card, that’s when it goes down.
Mike will have the hometown crowd behind him, but not all the fans will be his. A pretty big group from my gym and my friends from around the world will be coming out to see the fight, and of course my family will be out there, too.
I saw that a lot of people were touting McGregor/Diaz as the rematch of all rematches, but this fight is carrying a lot of history behind it. That knockout has been following him around for years, and a lot of fans have made numerous memes and jokes with the highlight (my personal favorite is the meme with him as a redcoat), so I’m sure that he would like to get some revenge. There’s also a very real possibility I could put his lights out again. It’s certainly what I’m looking to do.
There’s a lot of different variables at play that make it interesting for fans. There was no belt on the line for Conor and Nate, but here, the middleweight title is up for grabs. They didn’t even get a chance to really build up the hype around their rematch. Just a few weeks of random promotional stuff there at the end was all they got, and most of that was done by Nate, since Conor decided to focus on camp rather than marketing. There’s been seven years of buildup around our fight.
I get that media obligations around big fights is a pain in the ass, but it kind of goes with the territory. You’re in the big boy league now, so you’ve got to figure out a way to make it work. If you want bigger fights, or you want to keep getting more of them, you’ve got to do certain things. Obviously, you don’t want to wear yourself out the way Conor did the first fight, but that was a special set of circumstances, since it was just 11 days’ notice.
The trick is, you’ve got to find a happy medium. It’s hard to keep everybody happy. You’ve got the media, the fans and the UFC to worry about, and sometimes it’s tough to keep everybody completely happy, so you just do your best. Your main focus should be on your fight, but if managed correctly, you can tend to media obligations and promo work, too.
I’m not saying they need to wait seven years, but I am saying that five months isn’t really going to do them or the fans any justice. Hopefully they get more time, and maybe a fight or two, in between the last fight and the next one.
The fact that this will be my last fight adds another facet to it, as well. Our fight is just as important as theirs was, and carries more historical significance, but in the words of the Dude, that’s just my opinion, man.