Dana White has said today that he and the UFC are trying to make a huge welterweight clash between Hector Lombard and Tyron Woodley happen - this on the back of Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson calling out Alexander Gustafsson at light heavyweight.
Speaking to UFC.com today, White revealed that they've been trying to make the clash between Lombard and Woodley happen since Woodley knocked out Dong Hyun Kim in Macau at Fight Night 48.
It was 'Rumble' who fired the shots, somewhat tamely by the way, at Gustafsson, asking him to give the fans 'what they want' in a Facebook post aimed at the Swede.
Lombard and Woodley
After defeating Hyun Kim at Fight Night 48, Woodley called out fellow top 5 fighter, Matt Brown - but that's a fight that White doesn't want to make and admitted that it's the #6 Lombard that the UFC is aiming for.
“What’s weird about that is that Woodley calls out Matt Brown, but he’s ranked higher than Matt Brown but we want to do Tyron Woodley vs. Hector Lombard – that’s the fight we want to do. Hector said yes, we’re just waiting to hear from Woodley. Lombard said he would fight him, no problem.”
It makes sense as Woodley needs another win or two to become a leading contender again - after he failed to turn up against Rory MacDonald back at UFC 174.
That loss affected his stature in the division massively and while he managed a sensational first round KO over Hyun Kim - Lombard would present a different set of problems for the welterweight.
Of interest also was that the reason Matt Brown isn't being considered to fight Woodley, is that the UFC want him to Carlos Condit - once Condit returns from his injury layoff.
Gustafsson and Rumble
Living up to the nickname of 'Humble Rumble', Anthony Johnson called out Alexander Gustafsson over Facebook, saying the two should fight because it's in the best interests of everyone.
"@AlexTheMauler I respect you as a fighter but this is business," Johnson wrote. "@danawhite said our fight makes sense. There's nobody left for us to fight plus the fans are begging for us to fight so let's give the fans what they wanna see!"
While it is true for Johnson, the UFC, the fans and most likely the division to finalise a number one contender post-UFC 182, where champ Jon Jones faces off against Daniel Cormier - it isn't in the best interest of Gustafsson.
The Swedish was initially pencilled in for a rematch with Jones at UFC 178, but due to an injury suffered in training, he was replaced by Cormier.
After the now infamous brawl between Cormier and Jones at a press event gained that fight a lot more hype than before and even after Jones had to pull out of the bout due to injury, the UFC opted to give Cormier the shot over Gustafsson - who still is the number one contender.
Gustafsson has said that he's happy to wait and while that'll see him on the sidelines for over a year, he's right to say that he doesn't want to risk the position that he was promised and had earned.
A fight with 'Rumble', especially if 'Rumble' looks as good as he has in his recent fights would present Gustafsson with a matchup issue, that would put him at a serious disadvantage, so the risk isn't worth the reward it seems.
Knowing the UFC, a deal will likely get at some point in the upcoming weeks and if not, it's like they'll move on and have 'Rumble' face another opponent, like Ryan Bader and maybe then we'll see Gustafsson's position on the rankings shift.
They could even give him the Nate Diaz treatment and remove him from the rankings for 'refusing to compete' and one can only imagine the fall out from a decision like that.