When Rampage Jackson took a random potshot at Chael Sonnen late last week, he just had to know middleweight's most active mouth would eventually return the favor. Well, it didn't take long. But we'll get to that later.
For now, let's focus on the man who just dealt with two years of Sonnen sound bytes, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. With the "Gangster from West Linn" out of the picture, a mish-mash hoard of contenders have begun jockeying for the division's next title shot.
The two men most commonly brought up are noted face-destroyer Chris Weidman and he of the 25-fight streak, former Bellator champ Hector Lombard. If Lombard can bruise past Tim Boestch this Saturday, both he and Weidman would carry a legitimate claim to fight Silva.
Or, at least they would in the eyes of most fans. I preface that because apparently "The Spider" isn't too impressed by either man, so much so that he might actually be reluctant to sign on the dotted line.
(Note: the Morning Report will take a hiatus tomorrow but will return in full force on Monday with all news, notes and fallout from UFC 149.)
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Silva doesn't want to fight Lombard or Weidman. According to reports from UFC Tonight, Anderson Silva and his management team aren't interested in fighting Hector Lombard or Chris Weidman because they aren't "money making pay-per-view events."
Barao, Faber talk waiting for Cruz. Renan Barao reiterated he will wait for Dominick Cruz to recover if he wins on Saturday night. Meanwhile, Urijah Faber said he will continue to fight opponents as the interim champion if Cruz remains on the shelf.
Koscheck vs. Ellenberger. A welterweight match-up pitting Josh Koscheck against Jake Ellenberger has been booked as the co-main event of UFC 151.
Henderson calls Jones "young and sloppy." Legendary light heavyweight Dan Henderson was somewhat dismissive of his upcoming opponent Jon "Bones" Jones, saying the young champ was "sloppy," "still has a lot to learn" and hasn't fought anybody like him.
Boetsch plans to spoil party. Middleweight bruiser Tim Boetsch discussed his spot in the division pecking order, whether he was intimidated by his upcoming opponent Hector Lombard, and how he's relishing the chance to play spoiler.
MMA Fighting scores this round 10-8 for Chael Sonnen.
Watching 6-foot-11, 255-pound Stefan Struve get stuck in a rodeo barrel may be one of the better things you'll see today.
I'm going to warn you right now. If you're at all squeamish, you really, really do not want to watch this video.
(HT: Bloody Elbow)
Who knows? Maybe lightsabers could actually be legal by the time Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather square off.
A GUY CAN DREAM, CAN'T HE?
I accept ur challenge @spideranderson let's do it— Luke Rockhold (@rockholdMMA) July 18, 2012
Vinny Magalhaes (@VinnyMMA) July 18, 2012
D.C. CONSIDERING A MOVE TO 205?
Cormier:Imagine that Me and Jones standing across the cage from one anotherThat would be crazy because you know I'm putting him on his back— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) July 19, 2012
TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL
Any1 else think it's hypocritical 4 Ronda Rousey 2 talk crap about ring girls in playboy but it's totally fine 2 pose "artistically nude" ?— Miesha Tate (@MieshaTate) July 17, 2012
More Sense 4 the ring girls 2 pose nude then it does Ronda yet she talks crap about them #HypocrisyAtItsFinest— Miesha Tate (@MieshaTate) July 18, 2012
Well what's the difference between a pro female athlete and a ring girl? I'd say ring girls jobs are soley based on sex appeal, so it makes— Miesha Tate (@MieshaTate) July 18, 2012
If the ring girls wanna pose in playboy I'm all 4 it, who cares don't talk crap n then turnaround & get 1% less naked #HypocrisyAtItsFinest— Miesha Tate (@MieshaTate) July 18, 2012
Announced yesterday (Wednesday, July 18, 2012):
UFC 151: Josh Koscheck (17-6) vs. Jake Ellenberger (27-6) booked as co-main event
UFC 152: Vinny Magalhaes (9-5, 1 NC) vs. Igor Pokrajac (25-8)
UFC 153: Rony "Jason" Mariano Bezerra (11-3) vs. TBA
UFC 153: Cezar "Mutante" Ferreira (5-2) vs. TBA
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day is an honest request from King's_Gambit: Keith Jardine: It's Time to Say Goodbye
I've watched more or less every major UFC and Strikeforce event with the same dude for the last 4 years. He's my best friend from high school and I've known him for 12 years or so. After watching Keith Jardine take a shellacking from Roger Gracie, this buddy of mine turns to me and says something that I think is really apt:
"Watching Jardine fight is kind of weird. On the one hand, it's fun...but it's also kind of sad."
On reflection, I had to agree. The fight was only fun because Jardine had his ass thoroughly kicked by Gracie and was basically treated like nothing more than a warm body in the ring for two rounds, up until Gracie, presumably, gassed from a weight cut in which Roger managed to weigh the same as myself despite having around, oh, 7 inches of height on me.
The thing is, watching Jardine's fight with Gracie showed that this wasn't just a case of an aging fighter getting a glass chin, unable to take shots any longer. More distressingly, it started to look like Jardine's skillset had deteriorated. He showed no takedown defence to speak of. Furthermore, his striking has always been "unorthodox" but it looked like something entirely different on Saturday night. Exchanges, and basically all significant offence from Keith, seemed to involve Jardine putting his head down and throwing a series of wild hooks in succession, almost all of which would be three miles away from landing. The leg kicks were gone, straight punches were nowhere to be seen, and no bodywork was in sight. I've heard of K-1 level striking but, quite honestly, much of Jardine's output on the feet looked like Bum Fights level striking.
Jardine's unorthodox, rangy striking has frustrated many opponents over the years. Rampage, Liddell, Griffin, many of the sports greats have struggled with the puzzle it presented. Apparently, however, in 2012, there no longer is a puzzle; it's just a guy throwing sloppy hooks without planting his feet and from a huge distance away from his target, striking in a manner that at times seemed more akin to flailing than boxing.
Now, I said that the issue was the deterioration in skill and technique that disturbed me and not a glass jaw, but that's really what makes the case for Jardine's hanging it up so much stronger - he's already shown signs of a questionable chin. His fight with Mousasi was considered a near miracle given that in the UFC, it had become almost a guarantee that he was going out, or at least dropped, anytime he fought anybody with a modicum of punching power. Perhaps the clearest evidence of this, however, came in his first fight outside of the UFC against Trevor Prangley in Shark Fights.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in Monday's column.