I'm back! It's been one of the craziest months of my life, and I just haven't had time to write. Until now. Check the link, and thanks to anyone and everyone who reads. Enjoy!
So, I moved. No more having your entire body barbequed 3 seconds after you walk out the door for me. That Arizona climate is ideal and charming in the winter, but the summers are bruuuuuu-tal. If you’re driving in Arizona during the summer, and you see someone with their windows down, just stop and give them 5 dollars, because their life sucks.
I’m now in a house in Lansing. We live with many people and animals in this house. There are 9 people, 5 cats, a dog that seemingly gets administered an eight ball every morning without my knowledge, and about 125 squeaky and weirdly loud stairs, doors, and windows. Don’t get me wrong; I’m grateful to have a place to live. But, in short, it’s been an adjustment. I’m an only child. I’m used to solitude being an option, and it’s hard to come by here. So if I come off as jumpy or stressed out, just know that I’m doing my best. It’s like trying to write an article in the middle of the Battle of Chancellorsville. Since quite a bit has happened since my last post, this is just going to be a quick rundown of opinions and thoughts, bullet-point style. Let’s do this!
What a wonderful fighter TJ Dillashaw is turning into.
I know I’m going to come off as the "hindsight is 20/20, you derp" type of pompous ass when I say this, but I swear it’s true: I really liked TJ Dillashaw to beat Barao. I definitely thought it was more likely that Renan would win, but TJ had all the makings of a prospect that would improve leaps and bounds in a very short period of time.
He looked SPECTACULAR against Mike Easton. Granted, Mike Easton isn’t exactly the greatest bantamweight that ever lived. But he’s a guy you normally have to go tooth-and-nail with over a hard fought fifteen minutes if you want to get your hand raised. A bit of a neutralizer. It’s not easy to look awesome against Mike Easton. And Dillashaw straight up clowned him.
Stutter stepping into unique, angular punches; feinting with the hands and going upstairs with kicks; moving equal parts laterally and forward … it was all there. By the third round, Easton had one of those "Can I just start training camp for my next opponent right now? Do I have to continue this sad charade for another 5 minutes?" looks on his face.
We saw a better version of that style against Barao, a wonderful fighter in his own right. My issue with Barao has always been that he doesn’t have that one "thing" to make him dangerously unique when compared to the rest of his division. He’s a fantastic orthodox striking technician, but you can rock his chin. He’s good on the ground, and an excellent submission finisher, but you can avoid his ground game if you’re a good enough wrestler. Lastly, he’s never had to fight from behind, and Dillashaw never took his foot off the gas pedal.
After getting floored and dominated for the entire first frame, Barao came back strong in the second, landing several hard counter shots and appearing to squirm his way back into the fight. I still thought he lost the round, but it was the most competitive of the fight, and I thought we might be in for some serious nip-tuck action throughout the remainder of the bout. No dice. Dillashaw really took the wind out of Renan’s sails in the third and fourth, and by the fifth, Barao had the melancholy look of a man who knew all too well that he had been taken to the cleaners. Dillashaw cruised and bruised his way to the UFC title, and I look forward to seeing how much better and thrilling he can become in a division that isn’t stacked with top tier talent. The Dillashaw Era!
Chael Sonnen failing his umpteenth drug test and "retiring" should be taken about as seriously as a coked up Rob Ford saying he would destroy Mike Tyson.
For the nitty gritty, and for a much more eloquent, pointed opinion on the Sonnen debacle then I could ever provide, go check out Ben Fowlkes’ excellent piece on MMA Junkie. I just want to say that A) Sonnen announcing his retirement was a smart move and B) It wont stick.
It was a smart move because he’s going to be suspended. But hey, instead of serving his suspension, he’s out enjoying his retirement! Then, when his suspension ends, oh my God, I can’t believe it, but he’s found a new passion to fight again! Classic misdirection. It’s happened a million times. He’s a professional prize fighter.
(Unless, of course, Dana White steps down and gives his job to ‘ol Chaely Joel Osment. Then, the previous two paragraphs are moot, and we can get used to the idea of being consistently annoyed by a new brash, egomaniacal figurehead. Although Chael is definitely a smarter man than Dana White.)
Far be it for me to tell a fighter what to do with his career … but can we somehow arrange to have Dan Henderson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira exiled to Siberia long enough for them to realize that they shouldn’t be fighting anymore?
Look, Rodrigo has had his share of diminishing losses inside the octagon. But they could all be explained away easily enough that you could talk yourself into Nog coming back strong.
"Sure, he got submitted a few times, but they were by great submission guys!"
"Yeah, Frank Mir beat him up, but Nog had a staph infection beforehand and was fighting at about 40 percent! It’s just a testament to what a warrior Nog is that he even stepped into the cage that night."
"It’s true that Cain Velasquez splattered his brains all over the canvas, but that’s what Cain does! He dinged Nog with punches standing, landed rapid fire coffin nails on the floor, and that was it. You can’t blame Nog’s chin for succumbing to the best heavyweight on the planet! It’s not like it was a one hitter quitter!"
And so on, blah blah blah. But that Roy Nelson knockout … goodness. THAT was a one hitter quitter. That’s it. The writing is on the wall. Not only can he not take any sort of punch anymore, but he can’t even get out of the way of a winging Roy Nelson heater.
Dan Henderson, on the other hand, fooled people into thinking he was still a top flight competitor with his improbable, pulled-the-wool-over-everyones-eyes knockout of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. After his first barnburner with Shogun in 2011, he lost three in a row. Two were listless and uninspiring, and the third concluded with him staring up at light fixtures at the hands of Vitor Belfort. The guy just wasn’t fast enough or mobile enough anymore, and he’s never had the MMA-friendly wrestling or well rounded skills to cover up his foibles.
But the power. There was always the power. It will probably never go away. It saved his ass against Shogun, in a fight he was getting positively MURDERED in. Next thing you know, he’s fighting a guy who is not only more skilled than him in almost every way, but has also taken approximately 2,853 fewer punches in his MMA career. And that’s what happens. Dan, either hang ‘em up, or go win Bellator’s light heavyweight title.
(It’s good to be back. Stay tuned for more content soon.)