This is being published on Thanksgiving, so I suppose I should come up with some type of corny list of things for which I'm thankful, a gimmick which has been a feature of sports journalism since whatever passed for newspapers in Plymouth Colony during the time of the first Thanksgiving.
But I'm not going to do that. After hearing Matt Grice's amazing words on The MMA Hour on Monday, and then hearing about Shane Del Rosario's cardiac arrest, I'm simply grateful to be home in Boston with my parents for Thanksgiving. And I hope you get to spend your holiday with your loved ones as well.
Oh, okay, I'll admit I am thankful for one more thing: Even though we did Fightweets on Saturday and little happened over the weekend, you guys came through with another round of solid tweets for this holiday week's early edition. So let's get right to it.
Which rematch is best?
@christopher_kit: Which rematch intrigues you the most: Anderson-Weidman, Jones-Gustaffson, GSP-Hendricks or even Edgar-Penn?
Well, let's start off by crossing the last one off the list immediately. The only thing I find intriguing about watching Frankie Edgar and B.J. Penn fight again is whether Penn can make 145. After that, I mean, man, do I really have to pick just one on your list? If I do, I'll go with Silva-Weidman simply because it's the only bout of the three that's actually on the books at this moment. But, the mere fact that we've got the prospects of all three killer championship rematches, coming off three memorable fights? That's something to be pretty thankful for as an MMA fan (Yup, I've now talked about three things I'm thankful for, right after saying I wouldn't do a list).
Who should Ben Askren fight?
@dpop2: Who would u like to see Askren fight in the ufc or wsof?
Interesting question. I have to admit, I've come around on Ben Askren. After listening to him on The MMA Hour last week, I respect the integrity of his decision-making process. I might not want him as my business manager, perhaps, but the guy is blunt in his honesty and his motivations are pure. Even Askren's biggest detractors should appreciate his dedication to challenging himself against the best.
He's not likely to go to World Series of Fighting, but on some bizarre level, I'd like to see Askren against Rousimar Palhares. Wrestling vs. leglocks, a throwback to the era of one guy with one specialty vs. one with another. I could get into that.
If Askren does end up in the UFC? He's going to have to work his way up. The way his contract situation played out, he's not going to make the type of money that would justify the fast track immediate main event/co-main status. And, while his confidence is admirable, he simply isn't proven yet against top competition. His first fight should be someone outside the top 10, and if he passes that test, then take on someone in the lower half of the top 10, and then a top five fighter if he wins there. It's admirable Askren wants to prove himself against the best, but simply on merit he still has to climb the ladder.
Is Rory MacDonald still a contender?
@ryan211: Rory MacDonald said he lost his fire these last two fights. He's only 24. Does this make you second guess him as future champ?
I actually had all but given up on MacDonald as a legit title contender after the fight. But Rory's admission that he had lost his fire on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour changed my mind. It sounds like losing to a cagey vet like Robbie Lawler -- a guy who was once the golden boy the way MacDonald was, was knocked off his pedestal, and is now back at it -- was exactly what he needed. MacDonald's jab-and-counterstrike style got him pretty far, right to the brink of title contendership, but it also appears to have caused him to become complacent in the rest of his game. There's nothing like a literal ass-kicking to give yourself the figurative kick in the ass you need to get back in gear. Rory's young enough that he can shake this off and go back to the drawing board, and I'm encouraged to see that this sounds like exactly what he's doing.
One-weight-class fight cards
@auggie85: which division is stacked enough to hold an all ____ weight main ppv card, similar to the all heavy card at 146
Hmm. I don't know if you'd want to put together an all-heavyweight main card now. You'd have, say, Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum, Junior dos Santos in his return fight against whomever, and then ... yeah. Not much main-card material. But looking back at UFC 146 shows just how the planets really do need to align to make a one-weight-class PPV work. You have to have the star power at the top, consequential divisional matchups, an up-and-coming guy being given his first main-card break, etc., and they all have to be ready to fight at the same time.
The closest thing we've had to it since was UFC 158 in Montreal in March, with welterweight fights in the top three matches. And I think that one was specifically designed to send the message to Nick Diaz that they were ready and willing to pull him from his title shot against Georges St-Pierre if anything funny happened.
If you were looking at pure depth of talent, it would seem like lightweight would be the weight class at which you could best put together a one-weight-class card (assuming, again, that you had the right fighters ready and able to fight at the same time). Any combination of matches with Anthony Pettis, Ben Henderson, T.J. Grant, Gilbert Melendez, Josh Thomson, Gray Maynard, Nate Diaz, Pat Healy, Jim Miller, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Donald Cerrone and so on would make for a stacked card. But that's just from a pure talent perspective. Whether there's enough star power on there to carry a pay-per-view is another matter.
So if I had to pick one, I'd go with welterweight. A pay-per-view with the GSP-Hendricks rematch, a Carlos Condit-MacDonald rematch, Lawler high in the mix, and any combo of main-card worthy names like Matt Brown, Tyron Woodley, Jake Shields, Jake Ellenberger, Martin Kampmann, and Demian Maia, would make for one of the most stacked shows of all-time. Of course, a GSP-Hendricks rematch alone would make for one of the biggest PPV draws in UFC history, so they wouldn't need to stack a show. But for the purposes of this one-weight-class exercise, welterweight takes it.
Fixing the broken scoring system
@ph1sher: scoring should be: 10-9 as a close round, 10-8 clear round, 10-7 dominant round. There are too many 10-9 rounds scored now.
Agreed. Thanks for taking what I took about 1,000 words to say last week and narrowing it down. In case you missed it. California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster sent out an open letter this week imploring his colleagues on the need for evolution in MMA's scoring system. Obviously this in and of itself won't create change, but having one of the most important commission figures in North America take such a stand is as solid a way to get the ball rolling as we can ask for.
Does Maynard vs. Diaz matter?
@remboni: Does Maynard-Diaz have any real significance? Both guys are pretty far from a title shot it would seem.
I think it's relevant. Maynard vs. Diaz might not be "main event relevant" per se, but it wasn't the original main event. This is basically one of those "whoever wins stays a factor in the lightweight division" type of fights. Maynard's only fought four times in the past three years, twice against Frankie Edgar in those memorable title fights, and has been through injuries and a change in gyms. Diaz has dropped two straight and was on the wrong end of that wicked head kick against Thomson in April. If I had to put my money on one of these guys bouncing back, I'd go with Maynard, for the same reasons he's beaten Diaz already.
Alvarez, Chandler, and legacies
@ElCujorino: Do you think Bellators contracts could ruin the legacy of guys like Alvarez & Chandler since they might not ever fight in UFC?
I don't know about that. If anything, Alvarez and Chandler made each other's names by fighting in Bellator. Without being under contract to the company, they wouldn't have had the opportunity to put on two of the best fights we've ever seen, and the promise of what could go down as the greatest trilogy ever if fight three delivers like the first two.
Now that said, there's a big difference in the fighters' contractual situations. Chandler willingly re-signed with Bellator last year, and from all accounts he's happy with how he's being treated and how much money he's making. Alvarez, for his part, appeared to be in position to cash in with the UFC at exactly the right moment in his career, but instead became the poster boy for what people hate about the legal end of the fight business.
Still, though, I wouldn't categorize it as "Bellator ruining his legacy." For one thing, Alvarez could have gone to the UFC and been Lombard 2. For another, being half of the Alvarez-Chandler fights are a pretty good legacy to have. But there's no doubt Alvarez will always have that "what if" about the UFC as part of his legacy, as well.
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