Who Needs Who? (The Case Of UFC And Conor McGregor)

Hello people,

Before I dive into the important question posed in the title, allow me to clarify a few things:

This is NOT a hate post.

I have nothing against Conor McGregor.

In fact, I absolutely LOVE Conor, and happen to agree with a few things he had to say (precision beats power etc.).

This post will aim to examine the UFC/Conor relationships as it appears to this MMA fan right here. It’s based on communications made public by Conor himself, the UFC and reports coming from well-respected MMA news outlets. Alright? Alright then.

Many people fell in love with the fighting Irish phenom during his rise to stardom, and make no mistake, he is the very definition of a star. Climbing the rungs of the featherweight division, finishing one after great one of his opponents until he destroyed the long reigning champ with a devastating knockout.

His ability to produce gems every time he opens his mouth, raising the stakes at a second’s notice and most importantly – his ability to back his talk up with in-cage action (at least so far), has made him not only the charismatic young man he is, but also undeniable. Fighters simply cannot find answers to his taunts and speeches.

Many of Conor’s fans would posit that he is indeed the UFC’s biggest star, especially following Ronda Rousey’s defeat, and thus – The UFC needs Conor more than he does them. This also seems to be Conor’s view of these relationships, judging by a few recent interactions in which his head seems to have expanded quite a bit…

I would argue the opposite. It all boils down to the fact that a King needs a kingdom to reign over.

So far, Conor appears to be calling all the shots. Who to fight, who not to fight (Frankie Edgar anyone?), When to fight, and at what price.

And I have to ask – why?

I don’t ask this in spite. I don’t ask this because I don’t think Conor is worthy of fighting for one title or another. I ask this because I think the UFC is making decisions based on misunderstanding the relationships.

Would I like to see Conor fight Aldo, followed by Dos Anjos, followed by Robbie Lawler in three consecutive events? Absolutely. Line them up! Would that be a smart move for the UFC? I think not.

Let’s say Conor fights Dos Anjos and wins. What’s next? How do you sell a fight with someone other than the reigning champ as an escalation after that? See, the build up to the Aldo fight was perfect exactly because Conor plowed through a weight class, making us fans salivate at the prospect of a title fight.

Would it not make perfect sense to have Conor fight a few contenders first? I’m talking only top 5 guys here folks. I don’t expect him to start from square one. Let’s say – Nate Diaz, Cowboy Cerrone, Eddie Alvarez and Anthony Pettis. You just sold out 4 venues. in fact, 5 because after that – assuming he wins them all – the title fight will be off the charts. Not to mention that, holding two titles may keep a whole weight class on hold until his business is done with the other one… And if he loses to RDA on the first shot, it may just be the last thing the UFC wants happening to the golden boy, so early in his career…

But it seems like the UFC doesn’t want to wait. They want to pound on the iron while it’s hot. Which is perfectly understandable. You may not want to run the risk of Conor being sidelined due to any of these prospective fights etc.

But that is exactly why I think the UFC misjudge that balance between – arguably – their biggest star and themselves.

Ronda Rousey is still around. There’s still a story to be told there. Jon Jones is coming back. There are a few stories to be told there. Lawler becomes a story in his own rights. Now, granted. They may not be as a big as Conor, in terms of popularity and interest, but they hold their own and provide the UFC the ability to play Conor’s story out in a way that would better benefit everyone.

It’s like this – If Conor decides to call it quits today, the UFC will continue moving forward with the smallest of dents on their potential cards. If the UFC cuts Conor (hopefully never), Conor may be the king of another promotion, but it will simply NOT be the same status he holds today.

For all of our sake, I hope both parties will continue to collaborate and be happy, but I hope that critical decisions will not be made, based on a whim. The ignoring of the Frankie Edgar no-brainer fight is not a good indication in my book.

I’m not about to boycott the RDA fight. I may have opinions, but I love MMA too much to be silly. Hell, I’ll watch Conor fight an Ox if they schedule this. I just want to see his story told a little differently is all I’m saying.

There. I said it, I meant it, I’m here to represent it.

As usual, feel free to comment, share and like.

Until next time,

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UFC 193 – Predictions

Hi everybody!

Here we go! one of two awesome cards (on paper) to close out 2015 is coming up this weekend and I for one, am super excited!

Pretty much all the events leading up to these two (193 and 194) served as appetizers, what with the never-ending UFC promo work during every break… I won’t lie, I’m sold. I especially look forward to one women fight. Oh yeah, a woman champion is involved. She’s a “bad-ass” fighter who looks to destroy her opponents, always moving forward, looking to cause damage and further her career and legacy. I am, of course, referring to… Joanna Jedrzejczyk!

Gotach! 🙂

Bet you were thinking Rousey like most of the population, but while I truly respect Ronda, I find Joanna’s fights more fun to watch. Something about her style perhaps, or the speed with which they take place.

These two women title fights are not all this PPV is about but they are the most hyped (and rightfully so). I will elaborate more when we review the results, but for the moment…

Let the predicting of UFC 193 coming up this Saturday, November 14th on PPV commence. (All credits go to UFC/Zuffa for all photos.) We ride!

StruveVsRosholt

Stefan Struve by TKO

HallVsWhittaker

Uriah Hall by UD

HuntVsSilva1

Mark Hunt by KO

JedrzejczykVsLetourneau

Joanna Jedrzejczyk by TKO

and now! the moment millions of MMA fans have been waiting for, from Melbourne, Australia! This is the main event of the evening!

RouseyVsHolm

Ronda Rousey by Submission

Don’t forget to get back here by Monday morning for the after MMAth!

And of course, don’t forget to watch UFC 193 on PPV – This Saturday, November 14th!

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-t’s TIME!


UFC 188 – Predictions and morning after

Hey folks!
Long time no see, and as explained on THIS post, I experienced some technical difficulties on top of some life’s miserable little moments. But we’re back in business and this is the second of the three posts I share with you this week to try to compensate for this short absence.

The format is “slightly” different as I couldn’t do a prediction post in time. You can see the below twit I shared the night of UFC 188 Which was pretty good all things considered. How did I do? Let’s look it over.

Let’s talk fight by fight:

Tecia Torres Vs. Angelah Hill: I have to say that, though I’m big on women MMA, this fight was likely the least exciting women fight in recent history. It looked like a case of styles cancelling each other out. While I expected Torres to win, being a little more well-rounded than Hill, I did not expect to see her going for take down after take down with little to no action on the ground. Hill disappointed me a but by not doing more than controlling Torres’s posture. Low striking, low submission attempts, very little action. 1 for 1.

Yair Rogriguez Vs. Charles Rosa: Thank the booking gods for giving us an immediate response with this fast pace, furious fight. One of the judges left his glasses at home and gave the fight to Rosa, but though he was a tough and worthy opponent, In the fight I watched, Yair won 29-28. I thoroughly enjoyed this one! 2 for 2.

Kelvin Gastelum Vs. Nate Marquardt: Kelvin – please ditch your ill-advised plan to drop back to 170. This is the weight class where Gastelum belongs. No issue cutting weight, or gassing out. It allowed Kelvin to keep a good pace even at Mexico City altitudes. Nate might be done. I’m sorry to say that as I think very highly of the great one. He did not find himself in 170 and 185 will not allow him to climb up the ladder and at 36 he needs to make a career choice. 3 for 3.

Gilbert Melendez Vs. Eddie Alvarez: Here’s where things started going south for me… Gilbert, who I fondly nicknamed “The best Diaz brother” looked way off his game. Either that, or he gave Eddie too much respect (Not that Alvarez doesn’t warrant some…). The normal in your face for 15 to 25 minutes Melendez did not capitalize on an early blow that rocked Eddie, and allowed him to make his way back into the fight and eventually win it by all rights. 3 for 4.

Cain Valasquez Vs. Fabricio Werdum: I did NOT see that coming. I admit. Not that I didn’t think Fabricio had a chance. I certainly knew he could. It was the how, not the win itself. We did see a consistent improvement in Fabricio’s striking in recent fights. I mean, almost unparalleled improvement. Just think Werdum/Overeem and then picture Werdum/Nelson. We know Werdum is the best HW BJJ (if not the best period) practitioner in UFC. What I did not see is a Werdum who’s better conditioned and more in your face – in other words, more Cain – than Cain. I really think Werdum opened up the question about the best HW of all times. I still need to sleep on that for a while, but just review his ongoing list of victims – The Emelianenko brothers, Overeem, Bigfoot, Nelson, Minotauro, Travis Browne, Hunt and now Cain Valasquez… this is by far the most impressive list I can think of. I’m sure he wants to avenge a loss to JDS and Arlovski and perhaps a rubber match with Reem. Kudos to the NEW HW champion of the world! 3 for 5.

Well folks, it was fun to watch, fun to review here. Now let’s saddle up as we prepare for WWE 189. that is UFC189 with Aldo Vs. McGregor and the overlooked Lawler Vs. MacDonald. See you then with a back-to-normal prediction post!

Until then, Let me know what you thought of UFC 188, comment, like and share like a champ!

Duck,Duck, Goose

Welcome back one and all to an up and running blog thing. I had some domain issues but these were resolved and we’re back in full swing (no pun intended).

I was (and still am) very busy at work, so I did not make it for a UFC174 prediction post. Had I posted it, I would’ve been 4 out of 5 (with Jimmo losing being the missed 1). You’re just going to have to trust me on that one 😉

My favorite fight (as I assume many other’s) was the Rory MacDonald show. It was a thing of beauty, talent, tactics and awesomeness. It was so great that, in comparison, the main event was predictably dull. This doesn’t go to say I think less of Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. These were too fights where the more complete, all-rounder fighter just had his way with a good-but-not-good-enough opponent.

What happens following a successful title defense, especially following a seemingly ‘easy’ one, is normally the discussion about who’s next for the champion. Such was the case following Jon Jones’ destruction of Glover Teixeira and it started with Demetrious Johnson, seconds after he convincingly put Ali Bagautinov away.

Nothing wrong with wondering who the next challenger is, except that in MMA it seems like every fan is an authority on qualifying the contenders. Most of the time, based on favoritism of course.

When Jones was asked (as every winner does) who he’d like to fight next, his reply was Daniel Cormier. That set fire under some people’s back side. Oh, the cheek on this arrogant prick! Who is he to pick and choose? MMA is turning into boxing (an insult).

When Demetrious Johnson was asked whether now, after both he and John Dodson won so convincingly in their last fights, he’d like a re-match with “The Magician”, he said he’d prefer to fight someone he hasn’t fought yet. Which sanded some more vaginas (pardon my French).

Let’s look at a couple of statistics:

I don’t consider the term P4P (Pound for pound) anything more than speculative opinion, but let’s look at the UFC’s top 5:

P4P

Whether you agree or not, you have to concede the both Jones, as well as Johnson belong in the top 10 (Jones should without a doubt be #1).

Now let’s look at both fighters recent title defenses:

Jones (* will indicate former champions):

 Mauricio Rua* (To win the belt), Quinton Jackson*, Lyoto Machida*, Rashad Evans*, Vitor Belfort*, Chael Sonnen, Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira.

Mighty Mouse:

 Ian McCall (To win and inaugurate the belt), Joseph Benavidez (Twice), John Dodson, John Moraga.

Both champions have fought a succession of top-tier competition. Some world-class fighters with proven track records. Jon Jones made a few resounding statements with big wins over Shogun Rua as well as Lyoto Machida.

Yet, when both fighters express their desire to compete against someone they haven’t yet fought, they are accused of “Ducking”.

Like Jon Jones or hate him, He stepped into the cage with anyone the UFC put him in with (and won). He did not shy away from competition. On the contrary, he welcomed the challenges of fighting the best the UFC had to offer. After his title defense against Alexander Gustafsson, it was clear to all MMA fans that there’s a re-match in the future.

But then something else happened. Daniel Cormier decided to drop from heavyweight to Jones’ domain, the light heavyweight. Knowing well, he wouldn’t have a shot at the HW title (against his good friend Cain Valasquez), he decided to look for one where the champ was not a camp member.

So now, Jones has NOT yet fight every challenger in the division. There’s a world-class fighter who’ve beaten some really stiff competition, and on a heavier weight class. So by wanting to fight Cormier before he re-matches Gustafsson, in some twisted fan logic, Jones has “Ducked” The Swede… Interesting…

Demetrious Johnson has fought John Dodson. He beat him. He will fight him again. This is simply inevitable. But what’s the pressure on having him fighting Dodson again right now?

Everyone wants to see the best fights all the time. But keep two things in mind please.

We want to see a sport where good performance is rewarded. Fighters who make their way up the ladder deserve to get a shot at the title. If the UFC keep booking re-matches, these fighters will not get the nod they deserve.

We also want to see something new and exciting. If anyone wants to tell me a Jones Vs. Cormier fight is nothing short of exciting, I’d question their love for this sport.

I could go back in time and show how Anderson Silva (no less) or Georges Saint-Pierre, were accused of ducking, even though they fought every top challenger in their respective weight class (and some who moved classes just to have the chance to fight them).

The bottom line, as I see it, is that I can’t see how fighters, great fighters, Champions like Jones, Mighty Mouse, Silva, GSP and others can be accused of avoiding stiff competition when all they do is defend their respective belts against the very best. Us fans should enjoy fresh fights and, more importantly, not be so damn judgmental of people who, unlike us, actually walk into the cage to test their strength and will against the very best in the world.

Let me know what you think:

  • Do you agree?
  • Who should Demetrious Johnson fight next?
  • Who should John Dodson fight next?

As usual, until next time,

A Puncher’s Chance (Part 1 of 2)

Hello everyone. Happy you could make it 🙂

On today’s agenda two men, both will weight 170 lbs on November 15th.

I’m referring of course to Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks and Georges “Rush” Saint-Pierre. The Challenger and the UFC Welterweight champion respectively.

On Saturday, Nov 16th at around 11:30 PM to Midnight, these two will do battle inside the octagon and at the end of this fight, one of two things will happen. Either the seemingly inevitable GSP win, or the punch that would shock the world.

Ok, after I grossly oversimplified the situation, let me elaborate.

The first part of this discussion will focus on the champion. The next one will be for the challenger.

Georges Saint-Pierre (GSP) is the reigning 2 times UFC WW champion ever since he beat Matt Serra in a rematch way back in April 2008. That’s right. 5 and a half years ago.

What happened since then? Well, GSP’s record is (Wikipedia.org):

  • Second most consecutive title defenses in the UFC history (8) – Second to Anderson Silva.
  • Most successful title defenses in the UFC Welterweight division (8)
  • Most consecutive title defenses in the UFC Welterweight division (8)

List of notable victims: BJ Penn, Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves, Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit

How he does it?

I will not go into the endless debate surrounding GSP. I covered this piece on a different post. I want to talk about what makes GSP such a dominant champion. For an MMA fan, this might be stating the obvious, but it’s worth saying because a) not everyone is a fan and b) If it was that obvious, others would do the same, no?

So, it begins with one main quality. GSP has the work ethic to go the distance (no pun intended). Starting MMA with good Karate is nice. Not enough to win a belt though. So GSP went to work on filling his arsenal. BJJ (Black belt), Wrestling (Training with Olympic wrestlers), Boxing (Working with Freddie Roach among others), Muay Thai (Working with Firas Zahabi and Phil Nurse) and as it became plain to see – conditioning and athleticism (Again, Olympic gymnasts).

Another layer of GSP’s ability is his work with Greg Jackson MMA. Some people have a lot to say about Jackson, but the fact remains, he is a master tactician. GSP didn’t retain his title for so long without a) knowing exactly what he was  going to do in each round, b) being able to implement and no less important, c) Having Jackson to adjust on the fly.

So, Ever improving skill set, work ethic, tactics and guidance. Add to this a drive to leave a legacy behind and commitment to do whatever it takes and what do you have? Yes, the most dominant fighter and champion in Welterweight history. One of the widely held top 3 P4P (we’ll talk about this later) fighters in the world, Oh, and a pretty nice person too.

Why would GSP win this fight?

  • Because he’s much more well-rounded than his opponent. Even his striking (where Hendricks might feel he has the advantage) is better technically. Cleaner, crisper style.
  • Because GSP’s takedowns are legendary. And his takedown defense is superb.
  • Because GSP wrestled wins out of wrestlers, stroke strikers to a bloody pulp and in general showed superiority to most his opponents.
  • Because GSP can fight 5 intensive rounds and so far there’s no indication Hendricks can do so for 3.
  • Because if there’s something GSP is excellent at, it’s… not getting hit as much.
  • Because the game plan is simple – circle away from the power bomb and then be GSP.

Remember folks, check back next week for part 2, in which we will discuss Johny Hendricks and… Yes, I will put my (virtual) money on a winner.

In the meantime, let me know if you agree, or if you’d like to comment on this upcoming fight!

and of course – TUNE IN TO UFC 167 – NOV 16, 10 PM ET

Until next time