UFC 157: Top Storylines to Watch During Historic PPV
Saying that you are going to make history and actually making history are two very different things. UFC 157 is going to join the latter group on Saturday night, when Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche become the first women to battle in the Octagon, in the main event, no less.
Just because Rousey and Carmouche are fighting at the top of the card doesn't mean there aren't plenty of other great storylines to pay close attention to during the pay-per-view.
UFC has pulled out all the stops to load this card and make sure that as many eyeballs are on it as possible. Rousey vs. Carmouche is the main attraction and certainly it's got so many storylines you could write a book about it.
Here are the top storylines that you need to watch during UFC 157.
Will Ronda Rousey live up to the hype?
It is very rare that a fighter makes a UFC debut in the main event of a pay-per-view. It is even more rare when that fighter brings the kind of pre-show hype that Rousey has. This might be the most high-profile UFC debut since Brock Lesnar in 2008, that's how big Rousey has gotten in the sport.
That's not to say that Rousey will draw the kind of numbers on pay-per-view Lesnar did, because no one in the sport has ever done that.
But from a marketing and hype standpoint, Rousey is at the top of the world right now. That also means she has very little margin for error. If she completely bombs in her debut—which I don't see happening—it will be very hard for the women's division to succeed in UFC.
Rousey has to carry the torch, at least for a little while, for all the women getting ready to make the jump to UFC. She has the charisma and talent to be that kind of star. It is on her to execute in the Octagon the way she did in Strikeforce to match the hype.
Winning is not going to be enough for Rousey. She has to create a stir, like she did when she destroyed Miesha Tate's arm to win the Strikeforce women's bantamweight championship.
Is redemption in store for Dan Henderson?
Last September, when Dana White was forced to cancel UFC 151, all of the blame went on Jon Jones because he didn't want to take a last-second fight against Chael Sonnen.
But it is important to remember that Dan Henderson, who was Jones' original opponent for the light heavyweight title, injured his knee during training and didn't give UFC officials proper notice to explore a potential replacement.
Henderson worked to get himself ready for a title fight again, but Chael Sonnen was put in his spot at the upcoming UFC 159 show in April.
Now Henderson is being asked to win one more fight against Lyoto Machida, one of the most dangerous light-heavyweight fighters in the world, before getting the title shot he has already earned.
At 42 years old, Henderson doesn't have a lot of time left. The bout against Jones, if he were to lose, would probably be the last big-time fight in his career. But he is at least six months from getting that fight, assuming he defeats Machida on Saturday night.
What does Urijah Faber have left?
Despite being one of the most popular fighters in the sport, Faber has largely been given a hall pass for his recent performance in big-match situations.
Dating back to his time in WEC, Faber has lost his last five championship fights. The people looking at the glass half full will say that, even though he is losing, he is doing so against the best fighters in the division (Dominick Cruz, Jose Aldo, Renan Barao).
But the more realistic perspective on Faber's career at this point is, he is still a very good fighter but no longer at an elite level.
All of that leads us to Faber's fight with Ivan Menjivar. This is the kind of fight that Faber should win. Menjivar is a solid bantamweight fighter, but he is hardly someone you notice when he is in the cage.
If Faber wants to remain in that territory where he can still get title fights because people recognize his name, he has to win this bout and do so in impressive fashion. At 33 years old, competing in a division where speed is everything, Faber is at a point where his skills are going to decline. He just has to delay the process as long as he can.