Unless you've been out wandering the desert for the past week or so, you're probably aware that Ronda Rousey is fighting on Saturday night. Rousey defends her UFC women's bantamweight title against Bethe Correia in the main event of UFC 190 in a much-hyped fight, one which happens to put a cap on a crowded stretch of the UFC schedule dating all the way back to Memorial Day.
So we'll get into Rousey-Correia, and all those other subjects that have been drowned out in all the mainstream Rousey publicity, but which still matter. So let's get right into another edition of Fightweets.
What if Ronda loses?
@KevinMeuhleisen: If Bethe wins, would it be good or bad for UFC?
If Ronda Rousey loses her UFC women's bantamweight championship to Bethe Correia on Saturday night at UFC 190, it will be the biggest upset in the promotion's history.
I'd be very, very surprised if Correia makes this a competitive fight, but since anything hypothetically could happen in a fight, since we know how unpredictable mixed martial arts can be, and since sometimes conventional wisdom proves to be really wrong (remember how much online abuse the UFC took for daring to put the unqualified T.J. Dillashaw in the cage with the unbeatable Renan Barao at UFC 173?), let's go with this exercise.
After all, all it takes is one well placed Matt Serra punch on Georges St-Pierre, or one fluke Randy Couture injury on a glancing Vitor Belfort blow, to alter the sport's history.
So, what if Correia proves to be legit? What if she does the unthinkable? In this hard-to-imagine world, the UFC would actually benefit in a way. Rousey has proven herself to be the real deal, heads-and-tails above her class. If she's knocked off her perch by a fellow undefeated fighter, at the height of her stardom, well, sure, some of the more dense types out there will call Rousey a fraud, but most will get it for what it is, a huge upset which demands a rematch.
How much bigger was GSP-Serra 2 than their first fight, after all? Almost any type of a Rousey loss would be the sort that makes interest in a rematch dwarf the attention UFC 190 would receive.
What if Rousey really hurts Correia?
@maccairthaigh: If Ronda intentionally holds an arm bar too long and injures Bethe, how does the UFC react?
Rousey has quite obviously taken Correia's comments about her father's suicide seriously, and we have every reason to believe she'll have something extra special for Correia in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night.
That's where it ends, though. Rousey is a professional. She's an Olympic medalist. Whatever goes down -- and pretty much everyone seems to think Correia's not going to have a fun night Saturday -- will be within the boundaries of the rules. Rousey knows how to channel perceived slights into motivation, and she knows when to turn it on and turn it off.
But let's say, for the sake of argument, she delivers a real beatdown in front of a ref who is slow to call off the fight, or if Correia is too proud to tap to an armbar and gets her arm broken. Rousey has already got the resume, the skills, the media savvy, and all the intangibles that have made her a star. If she finishes this fight in a manner which emphatically demonstrates that it's really dumb to go out of your way to piss her off, her legend will only increase.
What's next for Dillashaw?
@MacPherson9999: What's the most likely plan for TJ's next title defense? Who's healthy now? Who makes the most sense for the UFC?
Two words: Dominick Cruz. I said as much in the UFC on FOX 16 postfight show after Dillashaw used Barao for target practice and retained his UFC bantamweight title in Chicago. It's the biggest fight which can be made at 135 pounds, and as long as Cruz lingers, the fact he never lost the title in the cage will hang over Dillashaw's head. The only other fighter who seems close at the moment is Rafael Assuncao, who has a controversial decision win over Dillashaw, but he's hurt, too.
The only hesitation I had at the time was the fact Cruz's inactivity made me wonder if Cruz would be better served with a tune-up fight before facing Dillashaw. But after listening to a fired-up Cruz on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, I'm all in. Dillashaw-Cruz would be great for all the right reasons. Go ahead and make it ... but, umm, let's get a fight between two other bantamweight contenders on the card as well, so one of them can step in, just in case.
@DR_Kwame: Are Dana White's Twitter meltdowns helping or hurting the UFC?
They're certainly not helping.
For years and years, White's brash personality, outspoken demeanor, willingness to embrace new technologies, and above all, his desire to interact personally with the fans made him wildly popular. When the UFC began gaining momentum, White gave fans a sense that they were all in it together: the underdog UFC taking on the entire mainstream sports establishment. His propensity for profane outbursts only seemed to make him all the more cool in the era of Affliction skulls and Bully Beatdown.
Somewhere along the way, though, the act started to wear thin. It's hard to paint yourself as the underdog when you're posting video blogs from your private jet and talking about $5 million blackjack games at the same time you're cutting fighters who aren't getting rich for being too expensive.
A large portion of the fan base was attracted to MMA because it felt like counterculture and felt like community. The sport's gone corporate. There's nothing wrong with that, but if this is the direction the UFC has taken, then White needs to come all the way around on that, too, stop coming off like the "Just Bleed" guy on social media, and start acting more like the president of a mainstream sports entity.
@wildcats54UK: How close is McGregor vs. Aldo to being booked at Cowboy Stadium, also would Wildman vs Rockford be the co-main?
Consensus inside the industry seems to be that the UFC is using the idea of holding the eventual Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor featherweight title unification fight at Cowboy Stadium as a bargaining chip to try to leverage a better deal out of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
But, the idea's also not as farfetched as some seem to paint it. Keep in mind, the UFC isn't necessarily looking to fill all 90,000-plus seats at the stadium. The place can be configured for a fight setup of 40,000-50,000, as was demonstrated when Manny Pacquiao drew 50,994 for a 2010 bout with Joshua Clottey in 2010, then returned later in the year and drew 41,734 against Antonio Margarito.
In that context, then yes, absolutely, Aldo-McGregor with another marquee fight at Cowboy Stadium is tenable. Whether that's Rousey-Miesha Tate 3 or "Wildman vs. Rockford," (I know I should have fixed that, but it cracks me up), a loaded-up card with the UFC's biggest draws is plausible.
Still, though, I wouldn't put money down on the fight landing outside Vegas.
Who do you want in the UFC?
@MorganWaltzUFC: Who are 5 fighters outside of the @UFC that you'd personally like to see inside the octagon? Chances they get signed?
My top five: 1. F 2. e 3. d 4. o 5. r. There are so many interesting, sellable fights the UFC could make for Fedor Emelianenko. Frank Mir. Mark Hunt. A rematch with Andrei Arlosvki. And they sure could sell the hell out of Fedor gunning for revenge against Fabricio Werdum, even though at this stage of the game, that's fight which would likely go very, very badly for Emelianenko.
As for whether it will happen? It depends. Emelianenko's team has always been about money first, last, and everywhere in between. As well they should: A fighter has a limited window to make money, and they'd be fools not to take advantage. If, in the end, Bellator offers a dollar more than the UFC (or the "co-promoter" status that got M-1 exactly zero traction in the United States last time around), he'll sign there. If nothing else, this will be the litmus test on how far the UFC will go to keep someone who can draw a lot of attention away from Viacom.
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