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UFC 194 shaping up to be so big that it's best not to talk about it

If there was such a thing as a guaranteed fight card, UFC 194 could flush the preliminaries out to sea and stand as it is with just three bouts. The wallets would open just the same and money would fly right on out, with or without five hours of additional filler. Two title fights and a middleweight dream eliminator between a reptilian man and right-wing Cuban mic-dropper who’s built like The Thing. Honestly, what could be better?

Fact is, though, UFC 194 on Dec. 12 in Las Vegas could be a mirage. To be frank, it’s the least "guaranteeable" card possible. To the point that it almost feels hypothetical. Just a bunch of wishful thinking. Nothing more than somebody’s flight of fancy.

Yoel Romero and Ronaldo Souza is a fantastic match-up with so many ridiculous technical variables that it feels almost too good to be true. And so far it has been. That fight has been booked twice before to high-fives and shouts only to fall apart both times. After an unprecedented World Tour, Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo was the fight of the summer until it wasn’t. Now it’s the fight of the winter, because Aldo hurt himself in training the first time through.

Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold is the only fight (so far) on UFC 194 that has never hitherto been attempted. Yet…not to roll in like a bank of dark clouds or anything…Weidman fights have a way of coming apart, too.

You can look it up.

What I’m trying to say is knock on some damn wood, people, because if UFC 194 comes off as it’s meant to, this already has the scaffolding to be the biggest UFC event ever. Bigger than UFC 100, when Dana White reneged on his promise to jump off the top of the Mandalay Bay if he got 1.5 million PPV buys (which he did). Bigger than UFC 129, when the gate got shattered in fight-starved Toronto. Bigger than Matt Freaking Brown. In some ways you hate to even talk about it for fear of personally pulling a loose string. In a game like this, so powerfully packed with superstitions and divination and neuroses, everybody is in collusion with the cosmos. As such, better to sneak up on Dec. 12 and not make too big of a fuss.

Still, here goes. What a card.

These three fights are the best possible fights available at just the right moment in time. There is not a bigger featherweight fight than McGregor-Aldo possible, and there never has been. There has not been a bigger fight this year than McGregor-Aldo. You could argue this is the biggest fight in UFC history, and not come across as either arrogant or myopic. McGregor fetches eyes and disposable income. He’s a star in the now (meaning, he hasn’t yet annoyed everyone into hating him yet -- though his coaching stint on TUF may change all that). Both he and Aldo are carrying belts, each accusing the other of being an impostor.

Oh, and Aldo is perhaps the best pound-for-pound fighter in the game.

Equally compelling, at least in hardcore circles, is that Chris Weidman has never faced somebody like Luke Rockhold. Rockhold, a casual Adonis from Santa Cruz, finishes everybody he faces. Or he gets finished by Vitor Belfort so violently that little asterisks flit around his head in a chirping circle. In five UFC fights, none have gone to the scorecards. And Weidman has not only never been defeated, he has rearranged the canon of greats. It was him who sent Anderson Silva spiraling into the twilight, and it was him who punished Vitor Belfort for his run during the The Year of Loose Standards (back in 2013, when he used TRT and destroyed all visitors to Brazil).

Weidman makes all men vincible. So does Rockhold.

Then there’s that third fight, which was announced on Monday. Jacare and Romero has made sense from the first time it was booked a year ago, and it makes even more sense now. Jacare has won eight in a row, seven by knockout or submission. His last loss was against Rockhold four years ago in Strikeforce. Romero, at 38, is 6-0 in the UFC and has knocked out five guys.

If all these fights share something in common, it’s this: Momentum. Rare, pure clashes of momentum. It’s unique for two truly great heads of momentum to collide in this sport at just the right time. It’s nearly impossible for three different sets of full-blown momentum to clash on the very same card.

And the drama on a card like this is that somebody in each scenario has got to lose. Three of the six fighters at the top of UFC 194 will be forced into the drastic thing they know least about. Losing. The novelty of figuring out which three is enough to make your head spin.

Then again, it’s better not to think too hard about it. Better to downplay the hell out of UFC 194, and pretend that it’s not just 113 days away (and counting).

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