You've got questions, I've got answers, so let's not waste any time with a cutesy intro this week and get right into the latest edition of Fightweets.
GSP on Chael Sonnen's podcast
@punkcurmudegon: How can @GeorgesStPierre go on Sonnen's podcast after his hard stance against PEDs?
That was interesting, wasn't it? Listening to the podcast, even as GSP talked about drawing the monsters who were coming to get him as a little kid, the irony of GSP going on a multiple-time cheater's show in the wake of everything that's gone down sort of hung in the air. In a way, it was reminiscent of Anderson Silva saying that PED users should be banned after their first failure, and then practically the next thing out of his mouth was that he considered Vitor Belfort best at middleweight.
That said, I don't know that I'd read too much into it beyond acknowledging it looked a little odd. It's not like GSP is endorsing Sonnen's return to fighting, or claiming he was innocent and we all tend to give friends or people we get along with more leeway than people we don't know. But I do think this episode demonstrates that it's pretty clear Sonnen's game plan with his podcast was to get the PED talk out of the way in the first episode and then never address it again.
@ELCujorino: When will MMA writers stop talking about GSP? It's taking away focus from amazing fighters who actually fight!
You are one of my longest-reading, intelligent, and loyal readers, ElCujo, but you're missing the boat on this one. When one of the biggest stars in the sport, who left under less-than-ideal circumstances, comes back and starts making statements, particularly his surprising comment that he thinks Nick Diaz made a mistake taking the Silva fight at catchweight, that's pretty much the definition of news.
Ronda playing second fiddle?
@RuckerYeah: What do you think of Ronda Rousey co-headlining in her next fight?
I think the kerfluffle of Ronda Rousey vs. Cat Zingano playing second fiddle to Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort at UFC 184 in Los Angeles is this week's reminder that MMA fans and media can and will complain about anything.
Haven't we spent the entire year bemoaning the lack of depth on the UFC's pay-per-view cards? Now we complain about getting two title fights on a PPV. It's enough to almost make Dana White's obscene Twitter replies to trolls understandable.
Just a few months back, UFC had to cancel a card at one of the most country's glamor venues, Staples Center, because there was no worthy backup plan when Jose Aldo dropped out against Chad Mendes. Canceling twice at an AEG arena in what's basically the Madison Square Garden of the West Coast would be a disaster.
In UFC 184's main event, Weidman is roughly one more injury away from earning the tag "injury-prone," and we all know the deal with the hurdles that await Belfort between now and Feb. 28. So, if for some reason that fight falls through, Rousey vs. Zingano is a solid backup main-event plan.
Add in the facts that a. Rousey herself campaigned in public to get put on either Weidman's card or Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier and b. This is her chance to fight on a huge show in her hometown, and to me the idea of Rousey as co-headliner as opposed to headliner is a non-issue.
Jose Aldo's late punches
@jason_lives: 2 hard punches after the bell gave Aldo the WIN. What you think? Remember Barão got knockdown and lose to TJ.
Jose Aldo's two punches against Chad Mendes after the horn for the end of round 1 in their UFC 179 bout matter. Mendes was noticeably slower in the second round. But I don't know that the T.J. Dillashaw-Renan Barao situation is parallel. Mendes had a minute to recover after that shot; Barao continued taking a beating after Dillashaw drilled him during in the first round of their UFC 173 fight.
I also think the bigger-picture implications helped blunt the impact of the late strikes as well: The fact that the two ended up trading foul after foul for awhile, to the point that both tried to get timeouts for borderline infractions late in the fight blurs things. As does the fact that Mendes and his team never really complained about the infraction or used it as an excuse. In a fight as action-packed and twisting-and-turning as Aldo-Mendes 2, even granting it was a significant moment, I'm not comfortable with saying Aldo won specifically because of those late shots.
Does Michael Bisping have a prayer?
@rznhead: Does Bisping have a realistic chance against the younger Rockhold?
Not much beyond "anything can happen in MMA." And I also don't think C.B. Dollaway has much of a chance with Lyoto Machida. These fights are basically an unnecessary layer for two top middleweight contenders who seem destined to meet eventually anyway. I think the Bisping we saw against Tim Kennedy is more indicative of where Bisping stands than the guy who beat up a 42-year-old who hadn't fought in two years last time out. Don't get me wrong, when he meets Luke Rockhold, I expect Bisping to continue to display the toughness he's always shown. Ultimately I see him going the distance in an uneventful fight that won't live up to all the wacky antics that were supposed to justify it.
No. 1 contender's bout?
@CampOwl: You think @CowboyCerrone vs. @FuryJury should be No. 1 contender?
Depends. There are a smattering of names who deserve consideration for a UFC lightweight title shot, including Donald Cerrone, Myles Jury, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Rafael dos Anjos (We're excluding Ben Henderson for now since he's coming off a loss and already has two defeats against current champ Anthony Pettis.)
If Jury wins on Jan. 3 in Las Vegas, you've got a fighter who's undefeated and holds wins over names the fans recognize in Cerrone, Takanori Gomi, and Diego Sanchez in his last three. But then, Nurmagomedov has a longer unbeaten streak (he also has a knee injury at the moment). Dos Anjos is on an impressive run, but is still building his name as a sellable contender.
Ultimately, while Jury puts himself solidly in the mix for the Pettis-Gilbert Melendez winner with a victory, I think a Cerrone win over Jury in Las Vegas on Jan. 3 seals his deal. You're pretty much looking at a now-or-never scenario for a Cerrone shot at the lightweight title. If he beats Jury, you'll have a fan favorite, one who has been featured prominently on television many times, on a six-fight win streak over the span of 14 months. Even acknowledging that dos Anjos holds the last win over Cerrone, you have to strike while the iron is hot.
I say if Cerrone wins, give him the title shot; if Jury wins, it's a bit of wait-and-see.
@ynneKrepmats: Do you think Dennis siver is being forgotten in his fight with Mcgregor? Remember Sotiropoulos's hype before Siver.
Interesting thought there. I'm going to say yes and no. Let's start with the obvious "no," which is that Geroges Sotiropoulos was never staying at "Uncle Frank's hotel" and sipping drinks out of fruits on the beach with his boss. Conor McGregor is being viewed as the UFC's next big breakout superstar, something no one could say with a straight face about Sotiropoulos.
That said, there are still similarities. The UFC was trying to basically make Sotiropoulos the Australian Michael Bisping, the breakout fighter to grow the sport's popularity in his home country. He was given a handful favorable style matchups, as Bisping certainly was and as McGregor is accused of getting now. He built up a seven-fight UFC win streak. And he was on the verge of a lightweight title shot when he met up with Siver in what was supposed to be his big night in Sydney.
He lost that bout to Siver, and he hasn't won since, as that bout started a five-fight losing streak he's yet to snap. I'd be astounded if McGregor went into such a freefall, but you're right, in many ways there are similarities between the two.
@NickatAA; Good idea for TUF? Hold an all-flyweight season tournament with the current division. Winner gets a title shot at DJ.
I think the best idea for TUF at this point might be taking the old racehorse out behind the barn and shooting it. That won't happen as long as reality TV is cheap to produce and the show maintains a certain baseline audience, of course. I like your idea in principle, but in practice, you'd be asking a bunch of guys at the top of their division who make decent money to sit out a protracted period of time during their primes to go through a grueling tournament which will only pay off for one of them, so I think for that reason, among other, it's probably no dice.
@cmcfall: Can Mark Hunt make weight and can he beat Werdum?
Yes on the first. I understand he has to drop an ungodly amount of weight in a short period of time. But I'm going to say he'll hit 265 simply because he's Mark Hunt, and Mark Hunt has a long and celebrated history of defying the odds.
But I won't go so far as calling an upset here. Even though I think he'll make weight, he's still a short-ish-notice fighter who dropped a ton of weight fast and has to fight at more than 7,000 feet altitude against a guy in significantly better condition. Hunt's best shot against Fabricio Werdum is to tag him before he gets tired. But Werdum has a high fight IQ and isn't likely to be goaded into anything.
@dpop2: Even if Hunt is only champion for one night I think that will make everything right in the world
You don't hear me disagreeing, do you?