So much has happened in mixed martial arts over the past five days that somehow, Chris Weidman's win over Lyoto Machida and Frankie Edgar's victory over B.J. Penn just last weekend already seem like ancient history.
But one thing still resonates from UFC 175 in Las Vegas: Ronda Rousey's 16-second victory over Alexis Davis, and where the women's bantamweight division goes from here. Even in a week full of nonstop news items, fully half of the questions which appeared in my Twitter timeline this week were related in some way to Rousey: From Cyborg Justino, to Holly Holm, to other potential contenders.
So let's get right into another edition of Fightweets, then, shall we?
All things Ronda
@normalman1977: Why was the offering of Cyborg a story last week, when everyone knew Tito turned that UFC offer down last year ?
Umm, I dunno, maybe because Rousey has absolutely torn through her competition to the point that she's being compared to a 21-year old Mike Tyson and to Royce Gracie during the prehistoric days of the UFC? Maybe because there hasn't been this obvious a case of the best potential challenger for a UFC champion residing outside the company since back in the days when Randy Couture tried to walk out on a valid contract to put together a fight with Fedor Emelianenko? Maybe because UFC president Dana White's response to simply being asked about Justino after UFC 175 was a tirade which ensured Cyborg would become a headline? Maybe the fact that Tito allegedly turned down the same offer Rousey happened so long ago it is no longer relevant? Maybe all of the above? Either way, Cyborg is going to fight at 135 pounds in December, and if she makes weight, and wins, then the heat will only get turned up further to make the one women's fight which matters most.
@cubbiezfan80: Who would you have Holly Holm fight first? to me a #1 contender match vs Cat Zingano makes the most sense
First off, let's give a hand to Twitter for its endless entertainment. Before the UFC signed Holm this week, Twitter was pretty much bombarded with "The UFC won't sign Holm because they're afraid she'll f-- up their queen!" Then, as soon as Holm signed, it turned to "Holly Holm has beaten nothing but cans!!!" Even by the high bar set by MMA Twitter, it was a pivot of breathtaking proportions.
Of course, that doesn't mean there wasn't a kernel of truth to the latter. Holm is, in fact, untested. There's no doubt Rousey vs. a former boxing champion is marketable, which is equally doubtless why this deal got done this week, after Rousey wrecked Davis. But Holm, while having undeniable knockout power, also remains an MMA work in progress. I'd say make her first fight against someone outside the top 10, then make her next fight against someone in the lower half of the top 10, and if she passes both tests, then we might be on to something.
But, in and of itself, signing Holm is a good thing, despite what those who did a 180 on Holm after the signing are Tweeting.
@Aron41d: Why is everyone looking past @catzingano? Like she's been forgotten already.
Well, she's been completely off the radar in a division who which has progressed dramatically in just the past year (Last year, Liz Carmouche almost beat Rousey. Think about that for a minute, then think about Rousey's last two fights). I know she was promised a title shot, but do just throw her into a bout with Rousey cold wouldn't do anyone any good at this point. Zingano will fight Amanda Nunes at UFC 178, and if she puts in the type of performance she did last year against Miesha Tate, no one will look past her any more.
Ehh ... not sold on Eye as a title contender. I didn't think she deserved the decision in her victory over Sarah Kaufman, the one which was eventually overturned due to Eye's marijuana issues, to begin with. Then she lost to Alexis Davis. I know the pool of contenders for Rousey to chew up and spit out is running a little thin, but Eye needs to win a couple in a row before becoming the next B-side on the "Ronda Rousey vs. Next Victim" marquee.
UFC 176 and oversaturation
@Auggie85: How many more events will get cancelled due to a lackluster card before the UFC realizes there's too many events
@MMAFANZONE: Does the cancelation of UFC176 prove we are over saturated with fights?
These were two of several such questions asked in the wake of UFC 176's cancelation. Let's back up a bit, here. This is going to seem like a bit of a tangent, but it will tie back in, I promise. MMA fans tend to react to news as though everything happens on the spot. When the UFC first started planning out their 2014 international expansion and Fight Pass, it didn't happen overnight. It happened with months and months of planning, dating back to when Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre were still long-reigning champions.
In the interim, they lost both Silva and GSP. They lost heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez for an enitre year due to injury, which is the second time this has happened, which has prevented him from breaking through to superstardom. They lost Anthony Pettis, another fighter with breakout potential, to injury. And on down the line. Dominick Cruz vs. Renan Barao fell out. The Nevada Athletic Commission got a spinal infusion along with a new executive director, and that had consequences for Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, and Wanderlei Silva. The Diaz brothers are staying true to the 209. And on and on it went.
Even if the UFC brass laid out worst-case scenarios when laying out their 2014 plans, and I assume they did, it couldn't have possibly looked as bad a year ago as things have actually played out. The UFC has had an astounding string of varied issues with its headliners at the precise moment it made it's big international expansion.
So, yeah. The UFC is putting on too many events, regardless of how it attempts to spin things. But, look at it another way: Let's say, in an alternate universe, everything terrible that's happened in the past 12 months hadn't happened. If Silva and GSP were still fighting, if Nick Diaz was still around, if Velasquez had a title fight or two, if Pettis had a chance to build on his sensational win over Ben Henderson, would we still be complaining about oversaturation? Well, yes. There are too many shows. But fans are generally willing to overlook a lot if their favorite fighters are on the top of the card.
It's been the confluence of two separate issues - oversaturation and the big string of headliner issues/mishaps - that have ended up coming home to roost with events like the cancelation of UFC 176. That doesn't make what's happened any less real. But, looking at the second half of the year: With the T.J. Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao rematch; the Jon Jones-Alexander Gustafsson rematch; Johny Hendricks vs. the Robbie Lawler-Matt Brown winner; Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum; Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez; the first 115-pound women's champ being crowned, and you have to figure Rousey and Weidman will be back in play for the big Vegas shows late this year/early next: If even three-quarters of those fights go off without a hitch, then UFC will have gotten through the worst of this with flying colors. Even if they're still putting on too many shows.
@Scott__Bond: What is so difficult about changing UFC 177 to 176, instead of canceling an event entirely?
I posed this one, in so many words, directly to someone in UFC PR. The answer is, all the advertising with the arena, cable companies, etc. for UFC 177 in Sacramento and UFC 178 in Las Vegas were in place when the decision was made to pull the plug on 176. More manpower and money go into these ad efforts than you might think, so it is considerably cheaper to just plow forward with the original plans then go back and re-do the ads for the sake of posterity. Part of me does think that it would be kind of funny if the "postponed" UFC 176 went on after UFC 178, but then, my sense of humor has always been a little off.
Interim featherweight title?
@IXsted: Do you think there should be an interim title fight if Aldo gets injured again?
Yes. I'm as big an Jose Aldo Jr. booster as any. Because his title reign was split between the WEC and UFC, he doesn't get the credit for his longevity that he deserves. He's only about a year away from surpassing GSP for the second-longest title reign in Zuffa history, counting both titles as one reign, as it should be. As far as I'm concerned, Aldo is the No. 2 pound-for-pound behind Jon Jones.
But there's also no doubting injuries are a part of his legacy. The featherweight division can't stay on hold forever. If Aldo can't go by October, then hold an interim title fight between Chad Mendes and Cub Swanson (sorry, but Swanson has a better claim, with six straight wins, than Frankie Edgar does at the moment).
Who next for Mighty Mouse?
Tough day for the flyweight division Thursday. Dodson is out for a year after undergoing ACL surgery, and Ali Bagautinov is suspended after testing positive for EPO. (I'm not sure whether it reflects better on Demetrious Johnson or worse on Ali that DJ was able to school Bagautinov the way he did, all things considered). Anyway, for me, the money's on Brad Pickett if he can defeat Ian McCall next week.
Pickett and Johnson went at it on the undercard of the famed WEC pay-per-view in Sacramento in 2010, one of the greatest nights in the sport's history. Pickett won on a unanimous decision after a slugfest. I remember sitting cageside, seeing Johnson give his all despite a size disadvantage, and thinking "man, if the WEC had a flyweight division, DJ would have it made."
Here, four years later, Johnson has put things into another gear and become one of the world's best pound-for-pound fighters, and Pickett's had a rebirth at flyweight. Make no mistake, Mighty Mouse wants his revenge. He brought Pickett's name up at the UFC 174 postfight press conference. I think the field is wide-open if Pickett loses, but if he wins, that's a fight which makes a solid sell for a double-title-fight PPV.
@HishamKUreshi: Let's not forget that Pickett is also one of Uncle Dana's favorites and we all know he treats his favorites like VIP.
Man ... if we're all the way down to "Dana rigs things in favor of Brad Pickett" on our list of gripes, then Dana White bashing may have finally jumped the shark.
Got a question for a future edition of Fightweets? Go to my Twitter page and leave me a tweet.