The UFC is going through an interesting time right now.
With the debate of sport matchmaking versus the big “money fights,” there is no doubt that the UFC is booking the more lucrative matchups when they feel it is worth it.
We have seen Conor McGregor get an immediate lightweight title shot without ever competing at 155. Ronda Rousey came back after over a year since getting knocked out in her title fight loss against Holly Holm to challenge Amanda Nunes for the title. Georges St-Pierre, who is coming off a three and a half year break from fighting will be challenging for the middleweight title against Michael Bisping all while the top contenders are left on the sidelines while the top draws do their thing in the Octagon.
Rising UFC welterweight star Alan Jouban recently spoke with BJPenn.com’s Chris Taylor on a recent Rapid Fire episode and says that it is just a part of the game.
“Yea I mean it is the nature of the beast though in any sport really,” said Jouban. “You look a the NFL and you see all of these players on the field and you don’t know who the hell they all are. But when you have a guy with “Manning” on the back of his jersey, or a super-star on the field like Tom Brady, it makes you intrigued to watch. You want to see what these guys can do. It is the same thing in fighting man. As good as these guys are going to be and work their way up the system, you still have to have those stars.”
Although Jouban understands the business side of it all, “Brahma” feels that there is a huge opportunity right now with the cards the UFC currently has in hand.
“I guess it is discouraging that the UFC has always put their money and their backing behind the superstars and never do it for a lot of the up and coming guys. But right now the UFC is kind of in a weird spot man. Their four big stars, the Conor, Sage, Paige and Ronda are either out of action or losing fights. So I feel this is an opportunistic time in the UFC where they are forced to kind of make new stars and build new names.”
With the cuts the UFC has been making to their roster and employment staff, Jouban feels he is climbing his way up at just the right time.
“Even when you look at the roster size. They had like 650 fighters a year or two ago and now they are at like 400 and something. They (the UFC) got rid of half their employment staff as well. There are less events now. So the opportunity is there. Especially with some of the big stars gone or losing fights, the promotion definitely needs new stars now. That is why they finally paid GSP what he wanted to come back. Because they are in desperate need of some star power. That is why I feel fortunate to be in the UFC at this time because there is a ton of opportunity. I get to fight in an International co-main event against a guy like Gunnar Nelson and so I plan on making the most of this opportunity by taking him out and building my star as much as possible. Hopefully the UFC gets behind it and helps build me up.”
Alan Jouban fights Gunnar Nelson in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 107 on March 18 at the 02 Arena in London, England.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/17/2017.