UFC 300: For One Night Only

ufc 300
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If UFC 300 was given a title as was the custom with the numbered events, the name “For One Night Only” feels appropriate. 

Also Read: UFC Results: All The Fight Results, Highlights From Historic UFC 300

The tradition of catchy slogans to capture an overall theme to a fight card fizzled out in the early 2010s. However, last night felt like a road trip in a Delorean to a time when the sport of mixed martial arts felt like fresh and exciting unchartered territory. 

The style of match making, the quality of names on the bout sheet, the relevancy of the fights: it all felt like a throwback to simpler times. 

For one night only, the world was treated to what the UFC used to be: a presentation of the very best that MMA has to offer. Instead of the endless conveyor belt of names with little attention paid outside of filling roster spots, the promotion put forth its best effort.

The results speak to that effort. The memorable knockouts, back and forth wars, skillful submissions, constant high stakes and the celebration of previously underappreciated talents made UFC 300 stand head and shoulders above most of what the company has delivered in its 31-year history.

With exception of Bo Nickal versus Cody Brundage, a showcase for a hot prospect intended to set up future stardom, every fight was built for either the most action potential or to clearly define the pecking order in highly competitive divisions. Through the perfect marriage of expert design and good old fashioned dumb luck, most of the 13 fights checked both boxes.

Putting a pair of hard-hitting former champions in the curtain jerker, for example, is the stark contrast to the line of Contender Series cast-offs that typically populate the prelims. Booking several classic style versus style type bouts, Bobby Green vs. Jim Miller and Diego Lopes vs. Sodiq Yusuff for instance, did most of the heavy lifting for the MMA Gods to provide the enthused anxiety of anticipation and the entertainment of execution. 

Despite the rushed feel in putting together the main event and the poster qualifying as the laziest piece of promo the UFC has ever done, the buildup to UFC 300 felt special. Having all of the fighters together on stage at the pre-fight press conference was a great reminder of how every single fight was important.

From Dana White, the media members in attendance, and the fans in the building, it didn’t feel like anyone was just going through the motions. Even the impromptu Performance Bonus increases added to an excitement that hasn’t been felt in a long time.

Life After UFC 300

ufc 300
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In the years since the UFC took over the world of combat sports, the frequency of events has increased rapidly. The number of fights per card has expanded and the roster has grown exponentially. 

Also Read: UFC 300: Alex Pereira Wants Quick Return, Possible Heavyweight Move

It has all led to the term “UFC caliber” meaning less and the overall product being watered down based on those metrics alone, nevermind the clear change in direction that has accompanied the ever-increasing record-setting profits under Endeavor’s ownership. But last night we had a glimpse of what was. 

Last night the empty glorified warehouse was replaced with a packed arena of fans eagerly awaiting the opening bout. Last night a pay per view card was “can’t miss” from top to bottom instead of being front loaded and supported by forgettable filler.

Maybe the UFC overplayed its hand, and we’ll in turn feel the ripple effects in the weeks to come. But the truth is, not every fight card can be this special, especially not in this era that prioritizes content over quality.

It’s very likely that when the glow of UFC 300 begins to dim when action in the Octagon resumes in 13 days, the thoughts will turn bittersweet as we’re dragged right back into the grind.

How the increased bonus amounts came to fruition highlights just how broken the pay structure is and just how easily the UFC could fix it. And the loud cheers of the crowd will only make the silence at the Apex Center seem even more awkward.

But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, let’s appreciate UFC 300 for what it was. For one night only, we got a refreshing reminder of what this sport that we have illogically attached ourselves to is on its best days.

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Ant Walker is a native of the Washington DC area that now lives in Los Angeles. He has been... More about Anthony Walker

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