With lack of pay-per-view bankers, Dana White announces his "next big star"
The UFC is in dire need of another superstar.
Conor McGregor hasn't competed in the Octagon for almost a year, Ronda Rousey's time as a UFC fighter looks to be over and Jon Jones simply can't stop screwing up.
And given the $4 billion that WME-IMG shelled out to acquire the world's pre-eminent mixed martial arts institution last year, they could do with some guaranteed draws if they are to build up the brand's popularity.
When you look at the various champions in the UFC, few stand out as legitimate superstars who would convince the casual fan to splash out on a pay-per-view.
But according to the organisation's president, Dana White, there is one reigning champ who has the potential to become the biggest name in the UFC.
"Our most bankable (future) star?" White said on Friday’s episode of the Dan Le Batard Show on ESPN (via MMA Fighting), "November 4 at Madison Square Garden, this kid who’s the world champion, he’s gonna fight.
"His name is Cody 'No Love'. Very marketable guy. I think Cody 'No Love' could be the next big star."
While undefeated records tend to matter significantly less in MMA than they do in the sport of boxing, Garbrandt's spotless 11-0 career will do his drawing power no harm whatsoever. The 26-year-old is one of only two current UFC champions, along with Joanna Jędrzejczyk, to have never tasted defeat.
Garbrandt claimed the UFC bantamweight championship by defeating arguably the division's greatest ever fighter, Dominick Cruz, by unanimous decision last December and he will defend his belt for the first time against former training partner TJ Dillashaw next month.
'No Love' is young, talented, good looking, speaks well on the microphone, stays out of trouble and has the potential to dominate his weight class for several years.
And while White expects great things of the Team Alpha Male product, he couldn't help but ponder on what could have been for Jon Jones if not for the light heavyweight fighter's repeated indiscretions.
"He’d also go down in history as probably the greatest ever and if nothing ever happened he’d probably be fighting at heavyweight right now and who knows what could have happened? I’m in a business where when the fame happens and the money — you have to understand the crazy type of money that comes into the fight business instantly," White said.
"Even in the NFL, they come in at a certain level and if they become great, they have the opportunity to make millions.
"Jon Jones came in and just started making millions of dollars immediately and he was, like, 24 years old. And you can go back to interviews of me saying, ‘That’s great, he’s talented enough to win the belt. Can he handle the pressure and all the stuff that goes along with being a world champion? With being famous? With being rich?’ And that question got answered."