Giving some more thought to the way things turned out at Saturday night's Ultimate Fighter Finale
, I have to think that UFC President Dana White
is laughing all the way to the bank about the way things played out.
Specifically, White has to think that he has three new lightweight stars under the age of 25: This year's lightweight Ultimate Fighter, Efrain Escudero
, and the guys Escudero beat in the semifinals and finals, Junie Browning
and Phillipe Nover
The Escudero-Nover fight in the Finale was outstanding, and it was close to even. Check out the stats at CompuStrike.com
: Escudero and Nover landed almost the exact same number of strikes, with Escudero doing enough in the first two rounds to earn the unanimous decision despite a great third round from Nover.
I'm not comparing Escudero vs. Nover to Forrest Griffin
vs. Stephan Bonnar
, but I have no doubt that White looks forward to seeing Escudero and Nover each win a couple more fights and then fight each other again, just as Griffin and Bonnar had a rematch 16 months after their classic fight at the first Ultimate Fighter Finale
And then there's Browning, who, no matter what you think of him, emerges from Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter
as a fighter people want to watch. White would love to bring Browning along in the lightweight division and set up fights between him and Escudero or Nover.
Escudero is 22 years old, and Nover and Browning are both 24. These guys are going to be around for a long time, and the UFC has to love their potential for being a big part of the lightweight division for years to come.