Hours before one of the most anticipated UFC bouts in recent memory, Dana White has to be grinning from ear to ear knowing he may have found what could take the organization (and the whole sport for that matter) to new levels. One of the knocks that people have said about the UFC is that it too often feels like two random fighters are thrown into the octagon and told “Lets get it On!”. Rarely is there a story behind why the two guys are fighting besides to move up in the contender ladder. That leaves fans uninvolved emotionally and just hoping for a knockout to make the match worth watching. With Jones/Evans, we have seen a feud develop from beginning to end. From training partners who debated one switching weight classes so there would be no conflict, to Evans fall from the Light Heavyweight pinnacle and Jones ascension, to today where we have two heated rivals meeting tonight to finally settle the question of which of the two is actually best. The fact that it is for the title does not make it special, it is the fact that there is a honest dislike between the fighters. That is what makes this fight so popular and a box office attraction across the world.
One example of a rivalry enhancing the perception of a bout is Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen. When they met the first time people looked at it as just another victim to “The Spider”, but after a highly entertaining bout, mixed with what has ensued afterwards, people can’t wait for them two to step back into the octagon. I anticipate that the Silva/Sonnenrematch will be one of the top Pay Per Views in UFC history. If the UFC is smart, they will try to build more rivalries like what they have with Jones/Evans and Silva/Sonnen because lets face it, people like fighting but more importantly, people like to know WHY they are fighting.