UFC to air Cruz versus Johnson on Versus
July 25, 2011
Late last week NBC Sports reported that the UFC will hold its first title fight since 2007 on cable television October 1st when Dominick Cruz defends his title against Demetrious Johnson. The title fight is a good way to showcase the smaller fighters and attract more viewers to Versus.
Coming off his first title defense with a victory over Urijah Faber, Cruz will have the chance to showcase his skills before a bigger audience than the regular PPV crowd. Although he’s fought in the WEC on Versus, this is different. Johnson has had some successful fights in the UFC and its nice to see him get a shot.
It would be the hope of the UFC that the Cruz-Johnson fight is an action packed five round affair that will promote the lighter weight classes. While Cruz-Faber was an exciting match, the PPV numbers were less than impressive with preliminary buy numbers between 350K-375K buys (via Metzler). Hopefully for fighters 155 and under, the additional exposure on cable television will get fans to buy the PPVs. The October UFC cards set up nicely to showcase the lighter weight classes as Cruz-Johnson will lead into the big card in Houston later in October with Aldo-Florian and Edgar-Maynard III.
The title fight should bolster Versus ratings of the UFC as the UFC on Versus 4 lost out to reruns of the UFC on Spike TV. Certainly, if Versus ends up as a landing place for the UFC next year, it would want to make sure it hits the ground running on the channel.