Just when you think it's going to be a slow weekend, Ronda Rousey announces roles in two more films and Thiago Silva allegedly goes out and threatens to shoot up a gym. It's always something in MMA, isn't it?
So let's get on with another edition of Fightweets, in which we talk Rousey, the Silva situation, Alistair Overeem, Jose Aldo vs. Anthony Pettis, and a whole lot more.
Ronda goes Hollywood?
@sigep422wesg: Are we seeing the end of Rousey's career since she just landed 2 more movie deals?
It sure seems like it could be heading that way, doesn't it? Dana White sounded like he was resigned to it at his media lunch in Los Angeles last week, comparing Rousey's path to The Rock's movie stardom after pro wrestling. White had to have known something was up, movie-wise, because these sort of things don't just materialize out of the blue.
Let's say, for the sake of argument, Rousey defeats Sara McMann, her film career takes off, and she never fights again. Even in such a scenario, Rousey's legacy in the sport is already secure. She's the one who broke the UFC's gender line. She's the one who proved women's fighters can headline major pay-per-view events. She did the right thing and helped establish the women's bantamweight class on The Ultimate Fighter, even though she hated the entire process, because it helped introduce a whole new class of fighters to the public. And the ratings for women's fights on TUF were solid enough that UFC went ahead and added the women's strawweight division. Oh, and Rousey delivered in the cage. If her fights didn't deliver, this all would have been moot.
You don't have to like Ronda Rousey. But the sport of mixed martial arts is better off because she's been part of it.
Thiago Silva situation
@MattRoth512: Here's a Thiago Silva question: are you surprised?
I mean, you don't expect someone to shove a gun in his wife's mouth, go to a gym and threaten the shoot the place up, resist arrest, etc., as Silva allegedly did, according to the Broward County Sheriff's Office.
But if you're going to consider someone a candidate for such an incident … I mean, this a guy who got busted submitting a drug test sample "inconsistent with human urine," and was suspended for a year after UFC 125. If you recall, in his fight that night against Brandon Vera, he was winning handily, but still felt compelled to break Vera's nose with gratuitous hand slaps. Then, when a rematch with Vera fell out after Silva was slated to return, Silva was quoted as saying "He took a beating like a little girl and was crying afterwards. I think he broke a nail, so he couldn't fight."
Silva's also been suspended for weed. He's missed weight. At one point, he went nearly four years without a non-overturned win. He hasn't exactly behaved like someone who's in control upstairs.
I'm sure if we give it another day or two, the usual suspects will pipe up with blog posts trying too hard to tie Silva's incident into some bizarre anti-UFC narrative. But the UFC did the right thing in cutting Silva immediately and saying he'll never be back. Really not much else to say, here.
Anthony Pettis vs. Jose Aldo
@PhillieMills: Do you think Dana's rushing the Aldo/Pettis super fight? Pettis should defend his belt before facing Aldo.
Rushing it? We've been waiting for this fight for more than a year. I get what you're saying about Pettis, but you also have to look at where the division stands right now. Ben Henderson isn't sellable as a challenger, since he's lost to Pettis in highlight-reel fashion twice. Josh Thomson basically just lost his title shot by losing to Bendo. T.J. Grant is still injured. Gilbert Melendez is working on finalizing a new contract. Khabib Nurmagomedov needs a signature win or two. No one really seems to scream for a title shot at this point.
Aldo, meanwhile, has simply done everything there is to do at featherweight. What fun is there in watching him recycle challengers he's already defeated? Given the confluence of an unsettled lightweight picture and a featherweight champ needing new horizons, now is the time.
@Mearaaa: Aldo v Pettis - who wins?
Last year, I would have leaned toward Aldo. The fight was scheduled for 145, a weight at which Pettis had never competed, and was slated for Aldo's home turf in Brazil. At lightweight, the pendulum swings back in Pettis' direction. The fact Aldo's trainer, Andre Pederneiras, tried to float the idea of a catchweight 150, tells you all you need to know in that regard.
@RuckerYeah: Re: Overeeem. I didn't think his fight was that bad.
Yeah, neither did I. If anything, I've done, well, maybe not 180 on Overeem, but I'm viewing him in a new light.
It's no secret I've been pretty critical over Overeem over the years -- you can google it, if you feel so inclined -- since it didn't take a rocket scientist to put two and two together on his change in physique and his long winning streak.
But, look, here's a guy who, at this stage of his career, gets knocked out twice after his suspension and is put in a "win or go home" position. He's been doing this so long (65 fights between MMA and kickboxing), it would have been easy to stay set in his ways and decide to sink or swim with that style. It took courage to admit that his style wasn't working, go back to the drawing board, and work on the things that needed to be fixed.
White was frustrated after UFC 169 because he was looking to the UFC off to a fast start in 2014, and instead ended up with the Henderson-Thomson decision, followed by a record 10 decisions at UFC 169. But not all decisions are created equal. Overeem basically did everything except finish Mir. He even went into Mir's guard, which is pretty much the only place Mir is still dangerous, and wrecked him there, too. You know how sometimes, the damage on a fighter's face doesn't tell the story? In this case, the damage on Mir's face absolutely told the true story of their fight.
In Overeem, the UFC has a charismatic fighter who is capable of putting on an exciting show against anyone in the heavyweight division. Mir's basically done, a fact that wouldn't have changed even if he had caught Overeem in a lucky submission. Now that things have settled down, I'm sure White realizes the company got the better end of the "loser leaves town" match.
Another Faber title shot?
@Ryan_Drescher: What are the chances Urijah Faber gets another title shot in 2014?
Never say never. I think Faber's most likely course, in the wake of his loss to Renan Barao at UFC 169, is to essentially become the lower weight-class version of Rich Franklin: A relevant guy, loved by the fans, who is capable of going up to featherweight or staying at bantamweight, based on which is the best available fight at any given time (Maybe that was a longwinded way of saying "A featherweight fight against Frankie Edgar would be awesome").
Related: Aside from Faber, who's out there who can even come close to being a sellable fight for Barao? There's one guy, Dominick Cruz, and then ... well, there's Dominick Cruz. And Cruz would probably be best served taking a tuneup fight before stepping straight into the buzz saw, anyway.
But let's say, hypothetically, Barao beats someone in a "keep busy" fight back home in Brazil, and Faber is impressive in finishing off another bantamweight contender. Under those circumstances, maybe the Barao vs. Faber III happens, say, in December, with the UFC putting the hard sell on the early stoppage at UFC 169. But that's a longshot at best.
All hail Abel Trujillo
@sigep422wesg: Now that we saw Abel KO Varner, what do you think his potential will be in UFC?? I love his STYLE!
The funny thing about the lightweight division is that it's so deep, there's a pool of fighters who aren't going to challenge for a title any time soon, but because they put on exciting fights on a regular basis, they have fan followings and won't have to worry about their jobs any time soon, either. Go down the list: Donald Cerrone. Edson Barboza. Joe Lauzon. Jim Miller. Jamie Varner. On any given night, chances are pretty good one of those guys are going home with a postfight bonus.
I think Trujillo's win places him firmly in the "exciting lightweight fighters who will enhance any PPV/Big FOX main card" category. He's made it very obvious he's a nasty striker and not someone you want to mess with. But he also got manhandled by Nurmagomedov and was completely outclassed on the ground by Varner and in danger of losing the fight before landing his one-punch knockout. Contender? Probably not. But he's well established in contention for the Donald Cerrone Honorary UFC Lightweight Fun Fight Championship.
@Chjobin: Do you think that the UFC planning a return to Montreal only in December is in case GSP decides to come back? Worth noting...
Ha, yup. The Dec. 6 fight card at the Bell Centre didn't go unnoticed. The UFC has proven it can draw at the Bell Centre without Georges St-Pierre, as they've headlined the building with Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites, then, after that little stinkfest, still managed to get over 17,000 for "Shogun" Rua's light heavyweight title victory over Lyoto Machida. But yeah. Scheduling a fight in Montreal for right around a year after GSP announced his leave of absence sure suggest UFC feels like St-Pierre will get "the bug" again sometime around the summer and start a training camp in the fall.
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