In a semi-controversial opinion, long time UFC commentator Joe Rogan feels that elite-level MMA talent is being wasted in smaller organizations outside the UFC.
It is not a shock to anyone that the UFC is the global leader in MMA, so obviously it is not a stretch to believe that to be considered the best in the world you need to compete in the highest level organization and face the top talent.
On the most recent edition of the Joe Rogan Experience: MMA Show, three-time NCAA Division I National Wrestling Champion, and current UFC Middleweight up and comer, Bo Nickal sat with Rogan to discuss the current state of the combat sports world. Nickal explained that the UFC was the only organization that he had his eye on when he was looking to get started in the sport. Rogan went on to express that he understood that mentality, and added that he feels that highly talented fighters often do not get the opportunity to prove themselves outside the UFC due to a lack of competitive opponents.
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“No disrespect to the other organizations, there’s very good fighters in the other organizations, but I often feel like they’re wasting their career,” Rogan told Nickal. “Because I see these elite fighters that are fighting in Bellator or PFL, and I’m like, ‘Hey guys, no one’s watching.’
“I mean, some people are watching. You’re getting a little bit of a fanbase. I don’t want to disrespect. But, there’s a reality. There’s the XFL and there’s the CFL, then there’s the f*cking NFL. And if you’re not in the f*cking NFL, are you really playing football?”
Rogan also shares the same thoughts as many when it comes to how a UFC champion is viewed versus a champion of another organization. If you are a titleholder in the UFC, it is possible for you to be viewed as literally the best in the world. But, if someone is a champion in Bellator or the PFL, all anyone talks about is how they would love to see that competitor prove themselves in the UFC.
“If you’re the UFC champ, you’re the f*cking man.” Rogan said. “If you’re the Bellator champ, I respect the sh*t out of those guys. I love them. Guys like Johnny Eblen. I really wish that guy would come to the UFC.”
Earlier this year, the PFL acquired Bellator in a deal that is sure to change the landscape of MMA in 2024. While this acquisition does establish PFL as the clear number one contender to the leading organization, there is still a gap in skill and the all around quality of the two products, making Rogan’s opinions on the subject completely valid.
“There’s this feeling of being in the UFC that everyone dreams of,” Rogan said. “You want Bruce Buffer right in front of you going, ‘It’s time!’ And you’re like, ‘Holy sh*t.’