Just when we thought we were going to quietly slide our way into another chill weekend, Ronda Rousey went on "Good Morning America" on Friday morning and announced she will defend her UFC women's bantamweight title against Holly Holm, not Miesha Tate.
And just like that, we're off to the races. So let's just right into another edition of Fightweets.
Was Miesha robbed of a title shot?
@RuckerYeah: Didn't Dana White spend the last month saying Miesha Tate was getting the title shot at Rousey?
Yeah, he sure did. He said it in Chicago and then again in Rio. Regardless of whether you think Tate deserved a third fight with Ronda Rousey or not, making her learn via network television that her title shot had been taken away wasn't UFC management's most shining moment.
The strongest case you could make for giving Tate another crack at Rousey was that she did it the old-fashioned way: She earned it, within the division, by defeating four opponents in a row and looking much improved along the way, at a time no one else really stated their case. If the divisional scheme still matters in awarding title shots, Tate's case was better than anyone. That holds true whether she never fought Ronda or whether they had already fought 100 times.
That said, my timeline wasn't exactly flooded Friday with people demanding the UFC revert back to their Rousey-Tate 3 plan. Holm gives the UFC something fresh to offer fans. At this stage of the game, they're in a sweet spot with Ronda's stardom in which they can pretty much put anyone's name on the marquee next to Rousey and have it sell. "Rousey vs. the former world boxing champion" will be sell big to the same casuals who were impressed with Bethe Correia's unbeaten record. It might not be the greatest thing for those of us who believe in the purity of sport, but the UFC's proven they'll take the bigger-selling fight time and again. It's just the world we live in.
Why now for Holm?
@XJuanPradax: What's the deal with Holly being thrown to the wolves like that? It's almost like the UFC is spoonfeeding Ronda
Matt Hughes used to tell anyone who would listen that he was happy when he got the opportunity to meet a still-inexperienced Georges St-Pierre at UFC 50. Better to get him now than a few years down the road when he's the best in the world, was the thinking. They proved to be prophetic words, given what happened that night as compared to what went down the next two times they met.
I thought of Hughes' words when I heard about the Rousey-Holm matchup at UFC 195 (and no, before the one or two people who will miss the point scroll down to the comments section, I'm not calling Holm the next GSP). Holm is still inexperienced in MMA. She's going on 35, which obviously limits her window, but her upside is tremendous. Holm has barely been threatened in the cage. If all her victories are one-sided at this early stage, what type of havoc might she be able to wreak in the standup when she actually figures out range, distance, and angles for MMA standup?
If I had to wager, I'd guess Rousey sniffed the opportunity to get Holm out of the way now, like Hughes that he was doing with GSP, rather than further down the road. Holm's not going to turn down her biggest opportunity. I think this is more a combination of those two factors than the UFC throwing Holm to the wolves, per se.
More UFC 195
@Auggie85: UFC 195: Rousey v Holm, Jedrzejczyk v Gadelha. Should that card also have Tate v Cyborg (@ 135 or 140)??Huge night for women
I don't know if Tate vs. Cyborg is feasible, but the UFC has a pretty unique window here. Remember UFC 146, the all-heavyweight main card, and how well it was received? The window might be there to pull off a similar event with a focus on women's MMA.
Ronda Rousey vs. anyone at this point is going to be a big seller. She's no longer at the point she was back at UFC 157, when the UFC felt it needed a Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida co-main event as extra incentive to lure buys.
Now factor in that we're likely looking at a strawweight title fight between Joanna Jedrzejcyzk and Claudia Gadelha. Add in that Tate, once she gets over her disappointment, will be looking for an opponent. And consider that everyone else from Bethe Correia to Sarah Kaufman seems to be angling on Twitter to get on the card. And that's before we consider the strawweight division.
Sure, they could make UFC 195 just another card. But why not showcase WMMA in front of a huge audience and give everyone else their chance to shine?
Nurmy vs. Fergy
@CarlDelaney: Who you favor in Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson in Dec?
Man, what an awesome fight at the TUF 22 Finale in Las Vegas. Despite some issues with Rousey vs. Holm, all in all, the UFC has been on a tremendous roll with their matchmaking over the past few days.
I tend to favor Khabib Nurmagomedov in this one just based on his pure talent alone. But he's been out for quite some time. Tony Ferguson has stayed active in the meantime. He gets better and better every time out. He's never hesitated away to step up in competition. His rise through the ranks ha been a joy to watch. Ferguson may be the underdog, but he's a live one, and this sure looks like a hell of a fight, so rather than make a prediction I say we just enjoy the ride.
@joechido10: What happens with the winner of the Holloway-Oliveira fight?
What a fun little under-the-radar fight the main event of UFC Fight Night 74 is, huh? Holloway (13-3) has gone six straight since becoming the only fighter in the UFC to go the distance with Conor McGregor. Oliveira (20-4, 1 NC) has won four in a row, with three submissions, since losing to Frankie Edgar. I'm not predicting a winner in this one, but it's fair to say whoever gets his hand raised is a clear-cut top five guy at featherweight and should only go up against the big boys in the division moving forward.
Vince McMahon vs. Dana White
@RuckerYeah: Where do you stand on Brock's take on Dana vs. Vince?
You're on a roll this week, Rucker. Well, first off, Brock Lesnar praised Dana back when Lesnar was UFC champion. Now that he's in the WWE, McMahon is the apple of his eye. I'm sure if Brock made the Minnesota Vikings roster, he would have proclaimed Vikings ownership the greatest in the history of team sports, too. Lesnar has always known who butters his bread.
The question of who is the better promoter comes down to how you parse the wording and meaning of the question. There is no doubt about the fact that Vince McMahon is one of the short-list, greatest event promoters in this nation's history, right up there with P.T. Barnum.
McMahon took a small-time business which was run by old-timers with carnival barker mentalities and turned into a worldwide, billion-dollar enterprise. He's stayed on the cutting edge of technology from dawn of cable television through the rise of pay-per-view to creating his own self-contained streaming network a step ahead of the cord-cutting trend. He's simply the best at what he does and has been for decades.
However, what McMahon and White do are not the same thing, as eager as some always seem to be to conflate the two. The fact White oversees a sport and McMahon's product is entertainment does matter. McMahon can manipulate his product in a way White simply can't. As an example, if UFC had scripted outcomes, Mirko Cro Cop vs. Gabriel Gonzaga was supposed to lead to a huge, psuedo-interpromotional heavyweight title fight between Cro Cop and Randy Couture. There was no way in hell that would have ended up with Gonzaga head kicking Cro Cop an a McMahon-like world.
And if WWE was overseeing UFC 189, they would have continued with Aldo-McGregor after Aldo's injury and worked around his limitation. They wouldn't have had to white knuckle their way through McGregor vs. Chad Mendes and risk having everything go up in smoke.
White can go ahead and pick Holm over Tate against Rousey, sure. But he can't control anything that happens when the cage door is locked.
McMahon took an entertainment industry which had operated in the shadows for nearly a century and made it bigger than anyone could have imagined. White took a fledgling sport which was near extinction and blew it up into what it is today despite the promotional pitfalls that come with legit sports competition. Ultimately, despite a few important similarities, we're still comparing apples and oranges.
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