While in Mexico City showing off its new heavyweight champion, the UFC got a taste of Latino talent.
Following a media tour, the promotion today held an informal scouting session that drew 115 fighters, an official today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
Standouts could provide competitors for "The Ultimate Fighter: Mexico."
The promotion hasn't committed to a date for the first season, but UFC President Dana White recently said talks with potential broadcast partners are ongoing.
Mexico remains one of the few major international markets the UFC hasn't cracked. A return to Puerto Rico, where one event was held in 1996 under the UFC's previous owners, is tentatively planned for 2014. The promotion is nevertheless gearing up early to cultivate talent. The scouting session primarily drew Mexican-born athletes, but some from Central America and South America were present as well, the official noted.
Velasquez, meanwhile, was in town to discuss his win at UFC 155 over Junior Dos Santos, which returned the UFC heavyweight belt to his waist after he lost it to the Brazilian 13 months prior at UFC on FOX.
The 30-year-old champion has long been touted as a centerpiece in the UFC's efforts to grow the Mexican and Latin American market for the promotion. But there are also emerging standouts, such as the Mexican-born bantamweight Erik "Goyito" Perez, who have also garnered attention for the promotion.
Perez, who sports a luchador mask to weigh-ins and on his most recent walk to the cage, boasts a three-fight win streak. His dream is to one day fight on home soil.
"I want to represent the country, and I want to represent all of Latin America and all of the Spanish-speaking guys," he told MMAjunkie.com in an earlier interivew. "I feel like I'm carrying a lot of weight on my back every time I go to the octagon, and I need to show what I'm doing as a Mexican."