UFC 209 was one of the most underwhelming events in recent memory and it has some fans questioning the sport’s future. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a fight with a name that’s really recognizable to casual fans and that’s exactly what the UFC needs if it’s going to be successful in the future. The old guard of MMA stars are rapidly aging (or retiring), with most in their mid-to-late thirties. If the sport wants to keep growing, it needs faces that can connect with the general public—and it needs them soon.
These days just about everyone is at least familiar with Conor McGregor, Brock Lesnar, and Ronda Rousey but casual audiences would likely struggle to name any additional fighters. UFC might have been hoping to elevate the likes of Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson into household names, but the product has failed to live up to the hype.