UFCThe Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is a U.S.-based mixed martial arts organization, recognized as the largest MMA promotion in the world. The UFC is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada and is owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC. This promotion is responsible for solidifying the sport's postion in the history-books.
UFC is currently undergoing a remarkable surge in popularity, along with greater mainstream media coverage. UFC programming can now be seen on FOX, FX, and FUEL TV in the United States, as well as in 35 other countries worldwide.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida believes recent high-profile title losses by countrymen Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua could have a negative short-term impact on the growth of mixed martial arts in Brazil.
For Machida, it comes down to timing.
“It’s not good for our sport in Brazil,” Machida told Sherdog.com. “With the rise of Anderson [Silva] and how much he has appeared in the media, there are more sponsorships available. The UFC coming to Brazil for UFC ‘Rio’ will also contribute greatly to the sport in the country.”
Still, March was not the best month for Brazilian MMA. First, Cavalcante succumbed to strikes against Dan Henderson, surrendering the Strikeforce light heavyweight crown in a third-round technical knockout on March 5. Two weeks later, Rua coughed up his title in a one-sided shellacking at the hands of Jon Jones at UFC 128. Their setbacks reverberated.
“The loss of dominance in Brazil in the light heavyweight division isn’t good,” Machida said. “We lost the belts in two major promotions in my weight class, and that might hinder the growth of the sport in the country.”
Machida sees the changing of the guard as cyclical, especially in the 205-pound division. The Strikeforce light heavyweight championship, for instance, has not been retained in nearly three years. Machida does not necessarily foresee a long title reign for anyone, not even for someone as talented as Jones.
“I think it’s all a matter of time,” he said. “The cycle is always there. My weight class is heavily disputed and very crowded. There are great fighters, strong, fast and technical fighters, in my division, and that makes our profession even more exciting.”