The hours are winding down to UFC 169 as I type this. Soon enough, we'll find out whether Urijah Faber is ready to cap off one of MMA's most epic comeback stories, and whether Jose Aldo will have cleaned out the featherweight division once and for all.
But you guys want to talk about … Nick Diaz. Like you do every week, regardless of what else is going on in the sport. Time to give the people what they want. We discuss Stockton's finest, Pat Barry's retirement, Benson Henderson, what really happened at the Dana White media lunch this week, and a whole lot more in this week's edition of Fightweets.
Time for Nick Diaz to come back?
@ELcujorino: Wouldn't this be a great time to lure @nickdiaz209 back? Perhaps a Diaz vs. Brown, winner fights winner of Hendricks/Lawler?
There are variations on three questions I can count on every week: 1. When is Nick Diaz coming back? 2. When is Junior dos Santos coming back? 3. Who should be next for Anthony Pettis? Since these hit my Twitter timeline every week, I'll go through them all, in reverse order: 3. No point in speculating at the moment, aside from noting that I for one would love to see that Aldo fight. Let's see what happens at UFC 169, get a clear timetable on Pettis' return, then go from there; 2. Our man Gui reported a couple weeks back that JDS wants to return in May or June. I don't know about you, but you wouldn't have to twist my arm to see JDS against Josh Barnett; 1. Yes, I agree, it would be a great time to lure Nick Diaz back. But, it's always a good time to lure Nick Diaz back. I think it's going to take something bigger than a Matt Brown fight to bring him back, though, considering he already turned down a Carlos Condit rematch.
So all we can do is sit and wait for Nick's money from the Georges St-Pierre fight to run out, or to be offered a fight close to home, so he can fight without having to inhale that toxic airplane air, or for him to just wake up one day and decide the time is right. I think we all assume Nick Diaz will return at some point, but it's going to be on his timetable.
@T1nmaN4W: Hendricks vs Lawler: Slugfest or Snorefest (as both may be cautious with the belt on the line)?
Man, really? If there's any major fight which screams "slugfest," it's "Bigg Rigg" vs. the Ruthless one at UFC 171. How often do either of these guys put on a boring fight? I can't think of the last lackluster Johny Hendricks fight without looking it up on a fight finder (actually, now that I think about it, the Josh Koscheck fight was more of a grinder than a thriller, but still), and Lawler's fights since he returned to the UFC have been one fireworks display after another.
Now add in the semi-intangibles: Hendricks isn't likely to go "70 percent" with his striking this time after doing so may have cost him the title against Georges St-Pierre; Lawler has been waiting more than a decade for the spot people expected of him back in 2002. The only was this fight is likely to be a snorefest is if you have a severe case of narcolepsy.
@dpop2: Is it me or is Bendo regressing with each fight?
I think it's more Benson Henderson Fatigue than an actual regression in his skills or fighting style. Henderson hasn't changed much since his WEC days, other than getting better at what he does. It's not like his fights are boring, and it's not like he doesn't go all-out in his fights, either.
It's just the he's done a hell of a job fooling the Sal D'Amatos of the world in close fights. Bendo got a robbery of a win over Frankie Edgar at UFC 150, and a pair of quite arguable calls over Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson.
It's a weird deal because he'd probably get more slack if at least one of those decisions hadn't gone his way. Instead, this has turned into one of those things that simply happen once too often, and it doesn't helped that popular fighters like Frankie and El Nino have been among his victims. When Ben Henderson fights, you just expect it to go to the decision and for Bendo to get the nod. Fans simply seemed resigned to it at this point, and apathy is more dangerous to a fighter than being loved or hated.
Lunch with Dana
@RuckerYeah: Hey, what was up with that reporter at the lunch with Dana?
Great question. Where do I start? I was that the now-infamous media lunch with Dana White in DTLA. For one, Monday was MMA Twitter at its absolute worst. Once a couple people at the lunch started tweeting about the back-and-forth between Orange County Register columnist T.J. Simers and White, the Twittersphere exploded with comments from people who weren't there. They had no idea what was actually going down, but it didn't stop them from proclaiming that an outside-the-loop reporter was doing what they imagine the MMA media fears to do, and challenge White.
Sorry to burst this little fantasyland bubble, but every topic from the silly (Big Country's NAC application, why White preferred the show CHIPS over MASH as a kid) to the deeply serious (TRT and steroid issues, White's treatment of GSP) was asked of White by MMA reporters (OK, White brought up the CHIPS thing on his own). Well, actually, it was over one of the two hours, since Simers hijacked the other hour. And Simers' line of questioning was straight out of the "gray-haired newspaper columnist who hates MMA" playbook from 2005. The only things missing were the human cockfighting analogies and the Fall of Rome comparisons.
Simers also didn't know who Jon Jones was. Hey, I can't stand figure skating, but if for some reason I was assigned to cover figure skating, I'd at least be professional enough to figure out who are the medal favorites for the upcoming Olympics before I showed up at a media event. So yeah. Sorry, MMA media haters, but you rallied around the wrong savior this time.
P4P by country
@SeanSheehanBA: name a top-10 pound for pound list with every member from a different country.
You know what? At first, I was just going to say "no" and leave it at that, but then ... what the hell, why not? Some ground rules: The fighter has has to actually live in the country now. They can train in another country part-time, but not live there most of the time. So that makes about half of the Blackzilians and American Top Team ineligible to represent their homelands, and means Alexander Gustafsson still counts as a Swede. Also, I'm not going to go into, like, the best men's atomweights in Southeast Asia or what have you, so settle down, one inevitable reader out there who spends all his free time watching men's atomweight fight videos. And of course, you have to be a currently active fighter (so no GSP).
OK then, let's give this a try, and remember Sean's rule of one fighter per country: 1. Jon Jones (USA); 2. Jose Aldo (Brazil); 3. Alexander Gustafsson (Sweden); 4. T.J. Grant (Canada) 5. Gegard Mousasi (The Netherlands); 6. Yushin Okami (Japan); 6. Michael Bisping (England); 8. Khabib Nurmagomedov (Russia); 9. Chan Sung Jung (South Korea); 10. Mark Hunt (Australia/New Zealand/wherever he is these days).
Should Mayhem fight?
@squallyboi: Will Jason mayhem miller fight again and for what organization?
God, I hope not. He's spiraled out of control. In the case of War Machine with Bellator, you can at least make the case that he's done his time, paid his penalty, and stayed out of trouble since his release. But Miller's case is different. Given the domestic violence accusations against him and the racially tinged incident with Uriah Hall, well, it's hard to have any sympathy for him at this point. "Mayhem" shouldn't be employed by any promotion until he faces the consequences of his actions (as War Machine did) and gets his life back in order.
Should Barry kickbox?
@deathsquadgr420: Do you see Pat Barry signing or making a run at a Glory title or tourney win?
God, I hope so. Some guys enter mixed martial arts from a strong background in one sport and never quite put it all together. Barry never stopped being a kickboxer at heart. His style made for some fun fights, but he hit his ceiling as an MMA fighter. Good on him for recognizing it. It's rare that an MMA fighter goes back to his original sport and goes on a big run (no, Brock Lesnar and the WWE doesn't count). Wouldn't it be fun to see Barry go back to kickboxing and find success at a high level, and doubly so because he's legitimately one of the best dudes you'll come across in this business?
UFC 169 stuff
@PedroHinojosa: What happens if Mir loses? Where does he go? Same question for Overeem.
I've noticed the trendy thing over the past few days among my reporter friends is to say they don't quite believe Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem is quite the "loser leaves town" match everyone's made it out to be. I'm pretty convinced the loser goes, or at the very least, gets cut and given an offer to come back at a reduced rate. Mir made $200,000 disclosed pay for each of his past three losses. Overeem made the oddly specific sum of $285,174.50 in each of his knockout losses last year. Unless this somehow turns into an unexpected Fight of the Year contender, it's hard to imagine the loser of this one, at four losses in a row if Mir loses and three if Overeem does, coming back for the same pay. Not when you can take that money and pay for a couple cards' worth of $6-10K to show/$6-10K to win guys and gals.
@CampOwl: the fact that people are picking Trujillo over Varner is ridiculous. He has nothing over Varner. Nothing.
Nothing? You're not even willing to give him the "vicious knees that make grown men weep" category?
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