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By Clinton Jones

Sports Editor


OPINION: South Africa has what it takes to host a UFC extravaganza

When will Africa - and especially South Africa - get the prestige of hosting a UFC event?


They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But in the case of what happened over the weekend, every South African who saw it will remember. The world of mixed martial arts (MMA) got another taste of what a powerhouse our little country is becoming as Dricus du Plessis and Cameron Saaiman made some massive noise at UFC285. Du Plessis - South Africa's pound-for-pound king - notched up another massive win when he beat UFC veteran Derek Brunson in emphatic style. ALSO READ: SA takes a major step towards becoming a force in UFC With this win he moved…

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They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

But in the case of what happened over the weekend, every South African who saw it will remember.

The world of mixed martial arts (MMA) got another taste of what a powerhouse our little country is becoming as Dricus du Plessis and Cameron Saaiman made some massive noise at UFC285.

Du Plessis – South Africa’s pound-for-pound king – notched up another massive win when he beat UFC veteran Derek Brunson in emphatic style.

ALSO READ: SA takes a major step towards becoming a force in UFC

With this win he moved into the top five middleweights in the world.

The 22-year-old bantamweight Saaiman – once quoted by UFC president Dana White as the future of the organisation – dominated American Mana Martinez to keep his unbeaten record in the sport intact.

UFC fighter Cameron Saaiman
Cameron Saaiman is showing how much quality and depth South Africa has in mixed martial arts. Picture: Getty Images

Now the question on everybody’s lips is when will Africa – and especially South Africa – get the prestige of hosting a UFC event?

This country has in the past shown that it has the infrastructure and the fans to host big world showpieces ranging from rugby and cricket to netball, and everything in between.

Even way back in 2001 – the last time we had the honour of hosting a major contact sporting event – American Hasim Rahman shocked the world when he knocked out heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis at Carnival City in Brakpan.

The venue will be key

However, not to be biased towards MMA, I think the 5,000-seater Big Top Arena is not nearly big enough to host a UFC event.

The recently completed UFC285 had almost 20,000 people in attendance and this is a common trend in the organisation since its inception 30 years ago.

Imagine Du Plessis or even Saaiman fighting for a UFC title in front of a packed crowd at FNB Stadium in Soweto.

Just the thought is giving me goosebumps.

And it really is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Boxing has been held in sold-out open air stadiums for years, so why not MMA?

Come on Dana White, give South Africa a chance.

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Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

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