It's Ronda Rousey's world, and we just happen to share it.
At least that's how it seems in the wake of Rousey's 34-second knockout victory over Bethe Correia at UFC 190. This week, it became abundantly clear that Rousey has crossed over from mixed martial arts into the mainstream in a way many of us never thought we'd see from a fighter in our lifetime.
So we'll talk Rousey in this week's edition of Fightweets, the potential superfight with Cyborg Justino, and, oh yeah, we may as well talk about that nuttiness which occurred at World Series of Fighting 22, while we're at it.
Does Ronda need to fight Cyborg for the sake of her legacy?
@Dr_Kwame: If Ronda doesn't fight Cyborg how does it impact her legacy?
Is there one all-time great champion in the history of mixed martial arts whose record is considered stained by reasonable observers because they didn't go up in weight and meet the best fighter in a higher weight class? No.
So why should Rousey be held to a standard we've never applied to any other champion in the history of the sport?
Ronda Rousey's legacy, in not just mixed martial arts, but the sports world overall, is already secure, regardless what happens from here. We're only two-and-a-half years removed from Rousey's UFC debut against Liz Carmouche. The naysayers back then claimed UFC 157 would be a failure, it would be one-and-done, and that women's fighting couldn't succeed in the headline spot (Remember all the latent misogynists who took offense at Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida as the co-headliner underneath a women's fight?). Instead, Rousey's had an unprecedented run of success, transcended the sport, and become a feminist icon in the process. Perhaps a segment of hardcore fans might grumble if Rousey doesn't fight Cyborg, but it would not do anything to detract from her spot as a pioneering women's athlete.
Can Cyborg get to 135?
@thedeadline30: If Cyborg needs to cheat to get to 145, how can we expect her to make 135? Cyborg is just too big.
So here's the problem with all the talk about whether Ronda should come up to 140 pounds, or whether Justino should come down to 135: Cyborg is the person who put coming down to 135 on the table in the first place.
The entire basis of Cyorg's Invicta stint, a plan which was launched two years ago, was that she was going to get down to 135 pounds in Invicta, then come over to the UFC and fight Rousey. Her own trainers said she could do it. And in the ensuing two years ... she hasn't even tried.
If you're Rousey, and you see that Cyborg, who popped for steroids, has been talking a big game about coming down to 135 and hasn't even given it a real go yet, wouldn't you be skeptical about whether Justino was dealing with you on the level at this point?
Rousey is well on her way to superstardom with or without Justino. For Cyborg, however, Rousey represents her one and only ticket to big money. And yet Justino treats the situation as if she's the one who holds all the cards.
Cyborg -- who, it should always be noted, has passed every drug test since returning from her suspension -- can go a long way towards improving her position by simply making a good-faith effort to follow through on her promise to get down to 135. Sign a fight in Invicta in bantamweight, make an honest effort, and if it works out, great. If not, at least she tried, and will have demonstrated clearly that 140 is the only way to go.
World Series of Bedlam
@RuckerYeah: Should Palhares be banned? And should Shields be punished for hitting him after the fight?
I'm hesitant to outright ban anyone, even someone with as many offenses as Rousimar Palhares. Especially when his late submission release against Jake Shields at WSOF 22 followed multiple eye rakes, which was one of the few things illegal back when groin strikes were allowed.
I guess it's simply a matter of, banning someone from the sport for life isn't something to take lightly. Palhares might be pretty close to that line, but you also have to consider the precedent a lifetime ban would set, and whether future commissions can be trusted to maintain a high bar before expelling someone from the sport.
I'll admit, maybe on subconscious level, I'm willing to give Palhares one last chance simply because the guy's so good at what can do within the rules. The guy has one trick, you know it's coming, and even guys as good as Shields and Jon Fitch can't avoid it. Hopefully a lengthy suspension right at the point his career finally broke through and his fights become appointment viewing will be enough to get his attention once and for all and get him to stop wasting his talents.
As for Shields, I think most people can empathize with him after what he experienced Shields had the gut reaction most would probably have in that situation. Still, though, you're not supposed to drill your opponent in the face after the fight the regardless of circumstances, so some sort of fine seems appropriate, if only to remind future fighters that these rules apply to everyone.
By the way, who gets to fine whomever at NAC assigned Steve Mazzagatti to the fight? The moment I looked up from my computer (where I was watching UFC 190 with the sound on) and up to my TV (WSOF on with the sound off) and tweeted "Whoever assigned Mazzagatti to Palhares-Shields has a sick sense of humor." Mazz even managed to exceed his own considerable rep for this one, but seriously: How does this even happen? I understand guys like John McCarthy and Herb Dean were in Brazil for UFC, which limited the pool available officials. But how does the person who assigned Steve Mazzagatti to this fight not get held accountable for putting the ref most "capable" of letting the fight go down the way it did in the cage in the first place?
@kopexpert: Is it fair that the Diaz bros got suspended from WSOF but not Khabib and his gang?
Well, the Diaz brothers have a history with things like cageside brawls, even if going for round two outside the arena afterwards is a new wrinkle, and the brothers Nurmagomedov don't. The Diazes were involved in the infamous Skrap Pack brawl which got Strikeforce booted off CBS, and Nick Diaz has been and currently is in trouble with the Nevada Athletic Commission, which oversaw WSOF 22.
So, yeah. When one side has a lengthy track record with such incidents and sure appeared to be the instigators in this latest scrum, and the other hasn't (and when one side has a fighter signed to WSOF and the other doesn't), then "fair" really doesn't really factor into the equation.
Did Woodley get screwed out of a title shot?
@JtTreichel: Is Condit really that much more exciting and/or profitable than Woodley? I love Condit but Woodley clearly deserves it more.
Yeah, Tyron Woodley seems to have a bit of a gripe, here. He got passed over for a shot at Robbie Lawler's UFC welterweight title in favor of Carlos Condit, which will go down in Australia on Nov. 14.
Woodley beat Carlos Condit, he's won two straight and four out of five, and Condit's dropped three of his past five.
Still, though, it's not like we're talking about Chael Sonnen getting a title shot at Jon Jones here. Condit has a fan following, he's a former champion, he's still on the short list of top contenders at 170, and he looked like the vintage version of himself with his victory over Thiago Alves in May.
Woodley doesn't yet have the the same cache as Condit. His last win, a split decision over Kelvin Gastelum, wasn't the sort of performance which screamed "title shot." And Woodley and Lawler are teammates at American Top Team, which is the sort of thing that, well, they'd fight if they had to, but it's probably best to exhaust all other avenues first.
Lawler vs. Condit is an awesome style matchup, perhaps the only thing on the upcoming docket which looks like it could potentially knock Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald off its Fight of the Year perch. Woodley is still building his name with the masses. A win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 192 would go a long way toward getting him there. And if Condit beats Lawler, you've got a Condit-Woodley rematch which sells itself.
All things considered, UFC made the right call.
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