Rob Font puts 'The Cartel' in Prime Position for Takeover
Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"
On December 19th at the UFC's Apex in Las Vegas, Woburn. Massachusetts' Rob Font (18-4) cleared the final hurdle in his year long comeback from a knee injury suffered in his December 7th 2019 Unanimous Decision victory over Ricky Simon at UFC on ESPN 7. Font, looked to waste little time putting the UFC's Bantamweight division on notice, drawing the divisions third ranked contender and former Title Challenger; Marlon Moraes (23-8-1). It was clear, early that Font had done a lot more than just rehab that knee over the last year, but he had improved upon what was already some high level striking, as well as adding some power to his notoriously stiff jab. Font looked the best we have ever seen him in the 3:47 it took for him to absolutely dismantle the former title challenger, leaving everyone wondering what is next for Rob Font?
When the UFC announced their new Bantamweight rankings following the fight, we got a much clearer picture on where Font stands amongst the World's best 135'ers, as Rob jumped six spots in the rankings following his destruction of Moraes, leaving Font as the #5 contender to current UFC Champion Petr Yan's (15-1) Bantamweight belt.
With the other half of New England's UFC Cartel; Featherweight Calvin Kattar (22-4) currently set to kick off 2021 as the years very first headliner against former Featherweight Champion Max Holloway (21-6, UFC's #1 ranked contender at Featherweight) at UFC Fight Night on January 16th from UFC Fight Island. Top Game Management's Tyson Chartier, head coach and manager to both Calvin and Rob, has The New England Cartel in position to take over both the UFC's Bantamweight, and Featherweight divisions in 2021. With Kattar booked, and the calendar due to turn here is what I would like to see from Font in early 2021:...
Former UFC Bantamweight Champion, and perhaps one of the most polarizing UFC Champions in recent memory; TJ Dillashaw (16-4) relinquished his UFC Bantamweight belt in 2019 after he was flagged by USADA for a sample provided prior to his Flyweight Title fight against Henry Cejudo in January of 2019. Dillashaw having never really lost the belt, inside the UFC's Octagon, has been clamoring for an immediate title shot once he returns from his suspension, which is set to be lifted on January 18th, 2021. However, Aljamain Sterling (19-3) is currently in line for the next shot at Yan's Bantamweight title, after their bout at UFC 256 was postponed and is due to be rescheduled for early 2021. So if Dillashaw plans on being active soon after his suspension fizzles, he will likely have to return against someone else inside the top-5, before he gets the title shot he feels like he deserves.
With the number five newly minted aside the name of Rob Font, and four of the five fighters ahead of him already with confirmed bouts in early 2021; Yan v. Sterling and Cory Sandhagen (13-2, #3 UFC BW) scheduled to battle UFC Legend Frankie Edgar (24-8-1, #4 UFC BW) on February 6th, 2021, Font could make the argument that he should be the guy to welcome back the former title holder in Dillashaw. After all, Font appeared to take little to no damage in his fight with Moraes just over a week ago, after being on the shelf for over a year prior to that fight, one would imagine Font would be trying to get active early in 2021 as he continues his accent up the Bantamweight ladder. It seems like the time table makes a lot of sense, and what better way to stake your claim as a Bantamweight Title Contender proving yourself against a Former Champion like Dillashaw.
Font has mentioned interest in fighting Dillashaw following his win over Moraes, and who can blame him? This matchup makes sense for many reasons if you're into the whole MMA math thing, but the electricity that will surround Dillashaw's return could be exactly the platform Rob Font needs to launch himself into stardom. With nothing confirmed, we are left to speculate, but with Calvin Kattar now a top Featherweight contender, and Rob Font putting his name inside the Bantamweight Top-5, New England's UFC title hopes have never looked brighter on the heels of The New England Cartel's successes.