Morning Report: Duane Ludwig considers retirement; Frank Mir still eager for Cormier fight

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Well, here we go again. Two UFC events in two days. Throw in a solid Bellator card, and we've got a busy weekend ahead of us.

The last time the MMA schedule looked like this was back in June, when UFC on FX 4 and UFC 147 took over on back-to-back days. If you remember, that experiment didn't work out so swimmingly. UFC on FX 4 wound up being headlined by one of the most bizarrely awful fights of the year (Maynard-Guida), and the archaic co-main event, a rubber match literally no one asked for (Stout-Fisher), didn't really help matters. UFC 147 would have been a good rebound event, with a stirring Franklin-Silva rematch leading the way, if the rest of the card wasn't an international TUF finale masquerading as a $50 pay-per-view.

So how does this weekend compare? Well, tonight we have another international TUF finale (with a slice of Lombard-Palhares thrown in), and tomorrow we have, yes, one more TUF finale.

Of course, there's more than a few compelling match-ups sprinkled throughout the two cards. But nonetheless, it's somewhat difficult to forget this weekend's two headlining attractions are George Sotiropoulos vs. Ross Pearson and Roy Nelson vs. Matt Mitrione. UFC on FOX 5, this is not.

The whole overexposure angle is played out. So instead I ask you guys, because I'm curious to hear your thoughts. I'm going to watch, but it's my job to do so. You, you're free to spend your weekend however you wish. So what's it going to be? Are you planning on staying home for both TUF finales? Just one? Neither? Like I said, I'm curious to see what you think, so let me know at the poll at the bottom of the page.

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6 MUST-READ STORIES

UFC dissections. Get ready for a busy weekend in mixed martial arts with comprehensive previews of UFC on FX 6 and The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale.

Bellator 84 weigh-in results. All main card fighters made weight at Thursday's Bellator 84 weigh-ins, including heavyweight title challengers Richard Hale and Alexander Volkov, and lightweight tournament finalists Marcin Held and Dave Jansen.

Ludwig accepts coaching gig, may retire. Veteran welterweight Duane Ludwig accepted a head coaching position at Team Alpha Male, replacing longtime coach Thonglor "Mater Thong" Armatsena, according to a report from ESPN. Ludwig would not formally announce his retirement, though he plans to take a year off to "see where [his] heart lies."

Mir still open to Cormier fight. Frank Mir, now back to 100-percent health, detailed the torn meniscus that forced him to pull out of Strikeforce's ill-fated event, while asserting that it would be "great" to rebook his bout against Daniel Cormier in UFC.

205 move temporary for Stann. After being booked for a light heavyweight contest against Wanderlei Silva, middleweight contender Brian Stann made it clear the move up in weight is purely a one-off. "Couldn't find a match-up at 185 (pounds)," he wrote. "Everyone is matched up or hurt in top ten and Wand doesn't want to cut."

White gave Lauzon $6,000 bonus at FOX 5. Speaking to MMASucka, Joe Lauzon revealed himself to be the winner of a $6,000 bonus due to a grappling match wager he won against UFC President Dana White over the weekend.

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MEDIA STEW

This is about as real as it gets. Benson Henderson, five years ago, when he was just a 4-1 newbie trying to figure out what the fight game really meant...

(HT: Reddit)

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I have no idea what's going on here, but I love it.

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Commendable restraint shown by Stephen Espinoza, VP of Showtime Sports, as he's asked about Showtime allowing Ronda Rousey go to the UFC. You know he just wants to explode.

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Fun fact: The head of security at Pecan Land Mall in Monroe, Louisiana is a dangerous man. Like, the 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, six professional MMA wins type of dangerous. So when this poor shoplifter pulled a gun on an inquiring security official, he really didn't know what he was getting himself into.

(HT: The UG)

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I feel like there's a joke here about this being the most entertaining Ben Askren video on the internet, but eh, that's too easy.

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NEW CHAPTER

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MATCH-UP CITY, PART 1

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MATCH-UP CITY, PART 2

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GET WELL SOON

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WHAT?

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Thursday, December 13, 2012):

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees ltrkm come to the defense of the light heavyweight champion with: The power of hope and hate

Apparently it's the power of hope and hate that causes fans to lose their senses when called to make a reasonable assessment of a Jones - Silva match-up.

If history has taught us anything, it shows us that with but a very few exceptions, this is a young man's sport. Not even Anderson Silva can defeat father time. Besides talent and physical gifts, Jones has youth on his side. It takes a good deal of hope, hate, and tortured logic to entertain anything but a very bad night for Anderson. I predict it will be much the same as we saw with Penn against Rory. It's a very apt analogy too, because like Penn fans (I include myself as one) we hoped that the legend could somehow find a way. Yet there is a point where reality has to take over. Unfortunately for most fans, thats usually after their favorite fighter has suffered a bad beating. That's when all the excuses begin.

The reality is this: Jones is much younger, much stronger, and much more capable of delivering a bad beating to Silva than the other way around. Sonnen and other opponents have exposed Silva's weakness and it's no secret. Silva's wrestling and take down defense is not first rate. It's not very hard to envision Jones closing the distance, scoring a takedown, and doing some serious damage from the top position. While I'll admit that I am as much of a Silva fan as I am a Penn fan, I simply cannot allow my emotion to substitute for a cold analysis of the fighters skills and physical attributes.

Back in the day, no one wanted Muhammad Ali to take back his belt from Larry Holmes more than I. Yet, not even the greatest can defeat father time and history is a great teacher. Ali was no match that night for a younger, sharper, hungrier Larry Holmes.

Lesson learned. Nowadays emotions, personalities, and personal preferences are set aside.

I would be more than ready to pick against Jones if I saw a fighter with a better set of skills and physical gifts. I simply haven't seen that fighter yet.

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in Monday's column.

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