Bellator’s chance to tell everyone about it? I feel like in the past, Bellator has been far more respectful of the UFC than the UFC has been of them, and have listened to many cringeworthy gaffes over the last year on Bellator’s broadcasts (Jimmy Smith: “After unsuccessfully challenging for the UFC strawweight championship, Valerie LeTourneu is looking to reboot her career here in the Bellator cage) and now I finally think they can legitimately lay claim to having a real #1 fighter.
With several wins over well-known UFC luminaries like Nate Diaz, Demian Maia, and a dominating decision win over current champ Woodley (albeit 3+ years ago at this point), I feel that if one wishes to employ MMA math, it’s not out of the question to say that Rory has legit claim to being the true number 1. I personally feel that Bellator should refer to Woodley as a welterweight “titleholder”, and not shy away from reminding people about their new champion’s history in the sport.
This isn’t even really a matter of being overtly aggressive toward the UFC, but it is a (thus far) rare opportunity to stake legitimate claim in the industry that is backed by historical fact and something that could help bring some real credibility to Bellator’s portfolio. IMO, I think it’s something to consider. And who knows, if a war of words comes up, maybe Coker would offer UFC an invitation to send their best WW for a chance to challenge for the “real” 170 belt (which we know UFC would never go for). They’re bringing in a lot of good talent and perhaps it’s time that they get a little more insistent on drawing their line in the sand instead of just deferring to the UFC all the time.