It's been talked about for a while now, but finally it appears the wheels are in in motion--the UFC is going to Russia in 2017.
Speaking on ESPN's Sports Center yesterday evening, UFC President Dana White was asked what new territory the UFC would be entering this year. The UFC President didn't need to pause to contemplate his answer and said it was about time the promotion started reaping the benefits of the UFC starved fans in Russia.
"Russia, Russia" White said without needing to think about it. "We're are going to Russia and there are so many UFC fans in Russia it's crazy.
"We've been trying to figure this thing out--how to get in there the right way and put on an event and start grooming some of this Russian talent."
Holm vs da Randamie
White was speaking ahead of UFC 208 this evening which goes down in Brooklyn, New York. In the main event, the inaugural UFC women's featherweight title fight sees Holly Holm taking on Dutch fighter, Germain da Randamie. White said he's expecting a great spectacle from the two highly decorated female fighters.
"If you look at Germain da Randamie, she's 46-0 as a Muay Thai fighter and is a ten time Muay Thai world champion," White said. "Holly Holm, obviously a former UFC champion, of course beat Ronda Rousey, and she's also an eighteen time world boxing champion. So, two of the most decorated female strikers in the UFC."
Silva is back
The other big name attraction this week is the former UFC middleweight champion, Anderson Silva. White reflected on the Brazilian's crazy 2016 and said that Silva still has more than enough gas left in the tank to give Brunson a lot of problems this weekend.
"Well if you look at the Michael Bisping fight, Anderson Silva knocks Michael Bisping out at the bell and many people think he should've won that fight, but [Bisping] was saved by the bell," White said. "Then he steps in and saves UFC 200 and goes up to 205 to fight Daniel Cormier. He hurts Cormier bad with a body shot and people say 'God, imagine if that had been a five-round fight'.
"Believe me, the Anderson Silva we all know, the G.O.A.T, the greatest of all time, he's still showing flashes of it in there. He's going against Derek Brunson who is a very tough--I always say this-- 'fighting is a young man's game'. Derek young, he's is in his prime and he has knockout power in both hands. It's going to be a lot of fun to see what Anderson still has against a guy like Brunson."