This weekend’s edition of Octagon goodness takes place in Australia, so of course the UFC has their resident champ from Down Under on the card: Robert Whittaker. Which is fine – Whittaker is tough, he’s skilled, and he more than earned the belt. But his presence as a headliner, opposite TUF winner Kelvin Gastelum, is sort of a glaring reminder that the middleweight division… well… it used to be a lot more compelling.
Back in the day, we had Anderson Silva as champ, and he was straight-up ganking people.
Then we had Chris Weidman, Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping making each other’s lives miserable. Which was good entertainment! But sadly, that whole thread ran out when Georges St. Pierre emerged from retirement to wreck Bisping, before slinking back into the shadows again.
Don’t get me wrong. Whittaker is a decent champ. When not dealing with injuries, he’s active, and he wins.
But his wins are rarely awe-inspiring. In two go-arounds with Yoel Romero, Whittaker took two decisions – and the last one was a close split decision. That does not an exciting division make.
So yeah, UFC 234. Gastelum. Who didn’t get past Weidman, but did at least knock out an old Bisping and decision Jacare. Ho-humm.
When can we have excitement, again?