Barao and McDonald are co-presidents of the Cool Belt Club. (Getty)The UFC brings a title fight -- kinda -- to Fuel TV on Saturday night. Though Comcast and Fox's networks did reach a deal to bring Fuel to its subscribers, the channel won't yet be available for this weekend's bouts and the interesting card in England. No matter who tunes in, here are the intriguing questions around this weekend's bouts.
Is welterweight a better UFC fit for Jorge Santiago? Despite a long and successful career in Sengoku and Strikeforce, his last stint with the UFC didn't go so well. Santiago lost to Demian Maia and Brian Stann. After a first-round knockout in the Titan Fighting Championships, Santiago is back as a welterweight. He'll take on undefeated phenom Gunnar Nelson.
Are Cub Swanson or Dustin Poirier ready for the title shot? Though the UFC's featherweight division is top-heavy and a fight is set between champion Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis, Swanson and Poirier's bout will show if there is another worthy contender. Swanson, who lost to Aldo in the WEC, wants to be part of the conversation:
“I just want people to mention me up there. I don’t care if I get in next. I’m just concentrating on this fight. But just mention my damn name when you mention the people who deserve it. That’s all I want.”
Poirier lost to Chan Sung Jung in May, then beat Jonathan Brookins in December. He took the fight with Swanson as a late replacement for Dennis Siver, and is hoping a win puts him closer to a title fight.
"The truth is, if I go out there and beat Cub Swanson, I'll be right there at the title if not maybe one more fight away," Poirier said.
Saturday's fight will show if one of these men belong in the discussion.
What is the value of an interim belt? Perhaps this question is a bit too philosophical for a fight preview, but it's worth asking as Renan Barao attempts to defend his interim bantamweight belt against Michael McDonald. Barao won the belt last summer because champion Dominick Cruz has been out for an extended time as his knee heals. But with Cruz waiting in the wings, does this belt have the same oomph as the one Cruz is holding? It feels like whoever wins this fight won't so much be the champion as the no. 1 contender for Cruz's return. Regardless of the accessory handed out at the end of the fight, the two should put on a fight worth watching.
Will you be tuning in? Don't forget these are daytime fights. The Facebook preliminaries are at 12:15 ET, and the main card on Fuel is at 3 p.m. ET.
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