Dana White Addresses Brock Lesnar Return, Anderson Silva Injury, and a Superfight
NEWARK — What UFC 169 lacked in action, it made up for in news. The promotion’s Prudential Center card appeared on paper stacked. But in practice it just lacked.
“We broke a record tonight that I’m not very proud of,” Dana White reported at UFC 169’s post-fight press conference, “the most decisions in UFC history.” Of the twelve fights scheduled, ten went to the judges. If the lack of submissions and stoppages were not dispiriting enough, one of the two actual knockouts on the card came under questionable circumstances. The Super Bowl-eve crowd of more than 14,000 showed their displeasure loudly and frequently throughout the night.
In the main event, featherweight champion Renan Barao defeated Uriah Faber on a series of unanswered hammerfists that came after the champion twice dazed and downed the California Kid. “He rarely ever makes mistakes but he made a mistake tonight,” Dana White opined of referee Herb Dean. “He’s the best in the business as far as I’m concerned.” Barao’s victory brought his undefeated streak to 33 fights. The champion expressed a desire to remain in his weight class. “No,” he responded to a question about challenging for another belt. “I still have long way to go at this weight division.” Though the Newark crowd resoundingly booed the Brazilian, the boss backed him. “The kid is unbelievable,” White commented. “He keeps looking better and better. He’s a finisher”
The co-main event saw bantamweight champion Jose Aldo best Chicagoan Ricardo Lamas by a unanimous 49-46 decision. The Brazilian dominated the first 23 minutes of the fight only to fend off a ground-and-pound rally by the challenger. What’s next appears a lot more interesting than what’s last. “I want the fight,” Aldo said of a proposed match with lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, one of the most exciting athletes in the sport. “The fans want the fight. So why not?” A few minutes later, White surprised Aldo. “Anthony Pettis just called,” he informed. “He said he absolutely wants that fight.”
Abel Trujillo shared “Fight of Night” honors with Jamie Varner. Their lightweight scrap witnessed wild, back-and-forth exchanges that left Trujillo precariously on the verge of unconsciousness. In amazing fashion, Trujillo rebounded from near defeat to achieve knockout victory in mere seconds. His heavy hands also earned him “Knockout of the Night” recognition, bringing his total bonus money to $125,000. Trujillo called out Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Nick Diaz as possible future opponents after his triumph.
In battle of former heavyweight champions, one-time Strikeforce titlist Alistair Overeem dominated two-time UFC titlist Frank Mir to win a three-round decision scored 30-27 on all official cards. Breitbart Sports scored it 30-25 from the second row from the Octagon. Overeem knocked Mir down several times, leaving the veteran’s face bloodied after pounding him on the feet and on the mat. The victor agreed with the referee’s decision not to intervene, a possibility that seemed likely at several points during the fight. “He survived it, right?” Overeem observed of his foe. “He didn’t go to sleep. He didn’t tap.”
The Dutchman called out former foe Brock Lesnar after the fight, which set off speculation regarding the professional wrestler’s return to mixed-martial arts. “I heard there was talk of him coming back,” Overeem reasoned for the challenge. “That’s all.” Dana White squashed the idea of the retired MMA box-office draw ending his retirement. The UFC president noted that Lesnar had regrets about not competing at his healthiest, but denied that the parties had a contract or even plans for a return.
Dana White also reported on the progress of Anderson Silva, who horrifically broke his leg in a loss to middleweight champion Chris Weidman in late December. “He is one hundred percent confident that he’s coming back,” White reported, noting that the former middleweight champion would probably fight again at end of the year.