There's a clear pattern emerging.
Get on Twitter. Look on Facebook. Read around various comment threads or MMA forums. The prevailing theme presenting itself to anyone willing to look is that the impending welterweight clash between former kingpin B.J. Penn and rising contender Rory MacDonald is what everyone cares about the most.
That isn't to say no one cares about the other fights on this undeniably excellent UFC on Fox 5 main card. They do. It's impossible to dislike what's there, speaking truthfully. But the favorite - from hardcore fans to the more casual - appears to be this odd semi-grudge match.
Interestingly, the fight fits almost the paradigm of the Alexander Gustafsson vs. Mauricio Rua bout. Young, rising prospect over fading former general of the division. The new kid needs a big win over a former great to assert himself as the future of the division. But those two don't have the same sense of rivalry. Rua isn't coming out of retirement. The two don't have any shared history in terms of one fighting the other's teammates or friends.
Someone asked me in yesterday's chat what a win could do for MacDonald on Saturday relative to what happened with Chris Weidman when he blasted through Mark Munoz. The truth is everything you saw there and then some. Think about all the momentum Weidman picked up with his win and remember that bout took place on a Wednesday on FUEL. Contrast that with the platform MacDonald has. If he can beat Penn the way Weidman beat Munoz - a monster 'if' if there ever was one - look out.
Just to be sure of my thesis, I've included a poll at the bottom to gauge the feelings of you lot on which fight you're looking forward to most this weekend. We've got a ton of videos, all the news links you could need to start your day and more.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Randy Couture responds to Steven Seagal. Couture rightly notes the entire thing is a big joke, but basically doesn't back down from the idea that any fight between the two would not go well for the portly sensei.
UFC on FOX 5 betting odds. In case you're of the gambling persuasion, use these numbers to make some informed betting choices.
Kang vs. Manhoef, Fernandes vs. Maeda added to NYE card. The DREAM-GLORY fight card updates continue to pour in including these two middleweight and bantamweight bouts, respectively.
Dominick Cruz chokes back tears to discuss what happened to his knee and what's next in his career:
Invicta highlights the best 'hits' from the past year and puts them into this nice, short video:
Chuck Norris discusses his immersion into jiu-jitsu, including being choked unconscious the first time he ever rolled:
To balance out all of this testosterone, how about a little Arianny Celeste?
AFTER WHAT, EXACTLY?
Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) December 5, 2012
PICS OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN
With my daughter in Disney World, can't wait for her punch Mickey Mouse in the face. twitpic.com/bjcjuh— Miguel Angel Torres (@MiguelTorresMMA) December 5, 2012
Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) December 5, 2012
INJURY BUG KNOWS NO CURE
Forrest Has MCL tear and ACL strain. 20 cc's of blood removed from his knee and the saga continues at the UFC!!— Dana White (@danawhite) December 5, 2012
GAME RECOGNIZE GAME
WELL PLAYED, MIKE
GOTTA GET THE SHAPE UP
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's FanPost of the Day comes courtesy reader 'DwellOnIt' who asks for readers to submit their most embarrassing yet hilarious training stories. Here's his contribution:
A little background on me to solidify myself in the ranks of random Internet dwellers (look! A pun!): I've been training in BJJ/Muay Thai/MMA for about 3 years now at an amazing school in the Northern Virginia area. I've got a few fights and competitions under my belt, and despite my general incompetence, didn't acquit myself terribly. If you find my prose obnoxious, my screenname is a play on my real name, so search for a fighter with a first name starting with D and a last name containing Well and you can watch me get my ass kicked. Now to the good stuff.
Picture this scene... We're working a sequence of leg attacks from a beautiful sit/step over from quarter guard in MMA tonight. Straight kneebar to ankle lock on the opposite leg to a calf crusher to a toe hold and back to a kneebar (edit: Eff punctuation).
We get to sparring and I am working this sequence against the one girl on our team who I outweigh by about 50ish lbs. She's tough and scrappy, but I'm (obviously) bigger, and a more experienced grappler. I go for the kneebar in the sequence and she's defending well by triangling/trapping her own leg. End result as I try to pry her leg free? I kicked myself in the face. With her leg. Bam. I also uttered the manliest yelp of surprise ever heard on a gym mat as I kicked myself in the face. With her leg. While wearing a Dumb and Dumber blue (think the tuxedo) tuxedo rashguard......Yep. True story.