New year, new you! Or something. Let’s kick off another year of Fightweets already …
Rematches in 2019?
@soupy0707: What rematch do you want to see most?
Khabib vs Conor
Jones vs DC
How about Amanda Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg? When someone loses for the first time in 13 years, and loses in the same manner in which she defeated the majority of her foes, then yeah, that’s the one I’d like to see get run back.
Even more so when you see the grace and good cheer with which Cyborg took defeat. She’s not going to hide and pout for a year like another former champion we could name.
Cyborg’s contract is coming due, which makes the odds that a featherweight title rematch with the “Lioness” isn’t going to be next. But make no mistake, if the UFC is going to run back some of their past big fights in 2019, this is the one I most wish to see.
And they’ll run ‘em back, for sure. If we learned just one thing in 2018 … well, it’s that the UFC is going to do what it damn well pleases, regardless what the general public thinks about their decisions.
But if we learned two, the second thing is that they’re going to prioritize getting that one giant fight that will help them meet WME/Endeavor’s revenue goals come hell or high water.
In 2016, that just meant showing up at MayMac and collecting a gigantic paycheck check. Last year, that meant repurposing the “disgusting” Brooklyn van incident footage to make Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor the biggest-selling UFC event of all-time.
As all this has played out, in case you haven’t noticed, the UFC hasn’t exactly done a killer job of building up new faces to step up and take the mantle so that they can become the next huge sellers.
But the assembly line needs to keep moving. And that’s probably why we’re starting to hear about Khabib vs. Conor 2 for coming up next, even though Khabib vs. Conor 1 was an ass-whoopin’. And that’s why we’re highly likely to get Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier Vol. 3. That one will sell. They still hate each other. They’re still thirsty to fight each other, no matter how much they might try to pretend otherwise. Hopefully they’ll go heavyweight to give the fight a fresh look, as we’ve already seen how this one goes when they tangle at 205.
Amanda’s new belt disappearing?
@MacPherson9999: it’s tough to see them keeping WFW around without Cyborg as reigning champ, especially with Nunes having some good fights left at WBW. With W145 going from functionally to literally non existent, it possible that Nunes just saved the men’s 125 division?
It sort of is hard to see that, yeah. And the UFC has already taken women’s featherweight rankings off their rankings page. So that would seem to indicate where they’re thinking of taking this.
But I believe the UFC would be shortsighted to nuke the division. I’ve already argued this in another place, but, essentially, if the UFC let Amanda defend both of her championships and go on a sustained run, then she’ll have a legacy no one else will have.
And it would be a promotional hook no one else in the company could claim. Conor McGregor was stripped of the featherweight title over his vigorous protestations soon after winning the lightweight belt; DC did defend the heavyweight belt after winning the light heavyweight belt, but then won the semantic battle by relinquishing the latter belt right before he was stripped of it.
It’s not like the UFC needs to have Nunes’ featherweight title in heavy rotation in order to push their PPV machine forward. It’s also not as if there’s a giant hoard of ready-made contenders at 135 at the moment whom she hasn’t already beat. So I say, if Cyborg isn’t getting the next fight, then let Nunes fight Holly Holm next for one belt or the other, let her defend the other title after that, and keep this process going as long as it plays out. If anything, a longer break in between defenses in weight classes, on paper at least, should allow contenders to emerge.
@RRumbleweed: Bisping recently asked Jones how they (Jones, UFC, USADA) were going to handle future drug failures (assuming Turinabol stays in his system for 7 years, he’s likely to fail again). How should Jones’ future drug failures be handled? Should potential fighters agree to fight him?
Regardless of his ongoing controversies and the asterisk next to all his accomplishments, at the end of the day, no legit contender is going to say no to the chance at fighting Jones and getting a big payday. Jones and DC are already angling to tangle. And if you’re someone like Anthony Smith, who has been around this game a long time but just now reaching the point he’s being recognized among the elite, and is a fresh face in his division, you’re probably going to jump at this opportunity, even understanding all the potential baggage and the circus sideshow that’s going to come with it.
As for Jones’ future drug tests? Look, we don’t know that he’ll fail again. But Nevada probably isn’t thrilled with him after UFC 232 got yanked out of Vegas, and California is highly likely to examine him extra close after all the brushback they got to signing off on having Jones fight in Inglewood (and then looking dumb when it later came out news of Jones’ questionable tests had been withheld from them).
That’s where things stand now. For all we know, Jones will pass every test he takes from here for the rest of his career. If he doesn’t, how many times do the authorities want to be played for fools before they finally crack down once and for all?
@limsma: After he tapped out Caldwell, is Horiguchi the best Bantamweight in the world. And who do we pay off to get the Mighty Mouse rematch?
Man. Let’s allow former WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown to make the point for us:
since Kyoji Horiguchi moved to #RIZIN in 2017 he has beat the current BANTAMWEIGHT Champs from #Shooto, #Pancrase, #DEEP, and #Bellator . He’s the current RIZIN bantamweight world champ and also won 3 fights in 2 nights to become the RIZIN Grand prix champ. @kyoji1012 #respect
— Mike Brown (@mikebrownmma) January 3, 2019
That’s one hell of a resume Horiguchi has put together, and he topped it off on Japanese MMA’s biggest stage by finishing Caldwell on New Year’s Eve.
First off, I hope RIZIN follows through on a rematch over on these shores in Bellator’s cage. More cooperation on this level is only going to help MMA outside the UFC continue its rebound.
After that? I mean, Horiguchi has won 11 in a row since tapping in the final second to Mighty Mouse at UFC 186. He was one of the first to show that walking away from the UFC in this day and age does not mean removing yourself from the big leagues.
I’m not saying Johnson has slipped, and I’m not quite ready to put Horguchi ahead of DJ or Henry Cejudo. But I’m sure a whole hell of a lot more interested in running Johnson-Horiguchi back than I would have been if Kyoji had simply continued fighting the same faces in the UFC flyweight division.
I’m not going to pretend to know enough about the politics of Asian MMA to know if ONE and RIZIN could ever work together, but I do know that DJ-Gooch 2 is a fight I’d stay up all hours of the night to see.
@fatsuit: Darren Rovell wasn’t right but why did MMA media rush to defend the UFC/Dana White? The UFC haven’t exactly been pushing Nunes?
I don’t know if I’d look at it that way. (The Dana part, that is, not the Rovell part. Rovell has proven the depth of his fight business knowledge is roughly that of the dry lake at the bottom of Death Valley). I said this to our own Marc Raimondi on the UFC 232 post-fight show and I’ll say it again: White trashing Rovell was one of the few times all fight week I agreed with something that came out of his mouth. You’re right about the UFC’s failure to push Nunes to her full potential. But I don’t think you should look at this one as “media rushing to defend Dana” so much as “Rovell is precisely where you have to set the bar to get people to agree with Dana these days.”
Wacky fight finishes
@chjobin: Other than Zingano’s eye poke from a toe, what is your top 3 of weird fight endings and why?
I had two jump to mind immediately:
*Randy Couture vs. Vitor Belfort at UFC 46. This one went down back when there were only a handful of events a year, and we had plenty of time to anticipate a fight card from top to bottom. And then, just 49 seconds in, after you waited for weeks and weeks, the fight was over. Couture had an eyelid sliced almost off by a glancing Belfort punch. The finish was a huge disappointment and the crowd booed, until they showed the replay, whereupon everyone started squirming. That’s how Belfort became UFC light heavyweight champion. Randy took the rematch and the belt at UFC 49.
*Matt Makowski vs. Nick Serra. This was on the undercard of the legendary Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson matchup in Newark in 2008, the first network television MMA card in history. Matt Serra’s little brother kept flopping to the mat. And flopping. And staying there. He was warned. He was docked a point. He was disqualified, one of only two timidity DQs I’ve ever seen live. He also never fought again, which means we were watching someone literally quit on his career.
Other than that? Well, as Chuck Mindenhall points out …
I feel like you could just lay out your Palhares fights like Tarot cards for this reading…
— Chuck Mindenhall (@ChuckMindenhall) January 4, 2019
Yeah, from late taps to late releases of of leglocks, there’s no one quite like Rousimar Palhares.
Other popular submissions from readers include: The Gray Maynard-Rob Emerson double slam; last year’s Ricky Simon-Merab Dvalishvili’s finish (or non-finish, depending on your opinion); Ian McCall cutting himself on the ropes in RIZIN; The Chris Weidman-Gegard Mousasi UFC 210 clusterf*ck, and Jake Ellenberger getting his toe stuck in the cage against Jorge Masvidal; the Carlos Newton-Matt Hughes chokeout/slam finish which gave Hughes his first UFC welterweight title.
I’ll leave this one for you, dear reader. Which was the most memorable?
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