It's the final weekend without any fight cards of note before the sport hurtles into what promises to be a November to remember. So let's not waste any more time, here, and get right into it.
Is Bisping ducking top challengers?
@BreadandWater94: Seems like Bisping is doing his hardest to avoid the top 4 of MW division? Calling out Hendo then GSP? Thoughts?
I can see why it comes off this way. You've got a Murderer's Row of middleweight contenders lined up to fight each other, three of whom have held the UFC or Strikeforce title or both, when Chris Weidman meets Yoel Romero at UFC 205 and Luke Rockhold tangles with Ronaldo Souza in Australia on Nov. 27. And you've got the presumption that the winner who looks best out of the two fights will get the next shot at Bisping's title.
Factor in that Bisping's first title defense after knocking out Luke Rockhold was against the 46-year-old Dan Henderson, and yes, angling for a fight with the three-years-retired Georges St-Pierre or Nick Diaz, which Bisping has been actively doing, can come off the wrong way.
The optics of Bisping chasing another fight outside the Big Four aren't great, but it's not hard to understand why he's doing this. Bisping is going to be 38 years old in February. It's not like he's going to be able to fight forever. And, two years ago, hell, one year ago, the idea of Michael Bisping headlining as middleweight champion was pretty farfetched.
So Bisping is going to make the most of his time in the main event spotlight while he can. There are only a few fighters who are capable of drawing superstar buyrates. Bisping's obviously not going to fight Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey any time soon.
That leaves GSP, or potentially Nick Diaz, whom Bisping has recently added to his list, as returning fighters with whom Bisping can potentially get matched up, and potentially make a big financial score.
Everyone who gets PPV points is angling to have their name attached to GSP's return -- Daniel Cormier looked almost desperate trying to get GSP to get on the UFC 206 bill with him on UFC Tonight a few weeks back -- and try to piggy back their way to the piggy bank.
And besides, Bisping has about a decade-long track record of taking on the toughest fights in front of him at every step along the way. So, should Bisping fight one of the big four middleweights? Yes. Can you blame him for trying to bluster his way into a giant payday? Sure can't.
GSP-Bisping at UFC 206?
@Drebit45: Will Michael Bisping vs. Georges St. Pierre somehow become the main event on December 10th?
GSP went to Las Vegas last week after his public tiff with the UFC, and given in his social media response to Bisping online, he sure seems like someone ready to answer the call if the right fight offer comes in. But UFC 206 just isn't quite the right fit at this stage of the game.
Obviously Toronto, where St-Pierre once headlined in front of 55,000 people, would have been the ideal location for the former longtime welterweight champ's return. But we're coming up on six weeks out from the card. Tickets are already on sale and scaled at, well, non-GSP pricing. And Bisping, let's not forget, had his face reduced to cube steak just weeks ago (for the second time this year, for that matter) and quite frankly would be best off with some down time, regardless how much he tried to convince us he's okay.
At this stage, it might be best left for GSP's return -- assuming he and the UFC come to acceptable terms for both sides -- might be best left for Super Bowl weekend.
Urjiah Faber's legacy
@BRayos_ 5s: WEC notwithstanding, Does Faber's career in the UFC warrant a spot in the HoF?
If Urijah Faber isn't a Hall of Famer, there's no point having a Hall of Fame.
First things first: The difference between the WEC and UFC, as pertains to the Hall of Famer is basically a matter of semantics. Zuffa, the UFC's parent company, bought the WEC and put it on Versus in large part as an experiment in seeing whether the lighter weight classes could draw (it's forgotten that at the outset, the WEC had divisions all the way up to light heavyweight, which gave Brian Stann his first national platform).
That featherweight belt Conor McGregor's currently wearing (or sitting on, depending on who's being asked)? That was Faber's title for nearly three years. Just like the UFC bantamweight belt Dominick Cruz is wearing was ... well, Dominick Cruz's belt. The WEC championships were the world title at 145 and 135 during their time, and while some of his biggest losses came in his biggest spotlights, and after he already had more than two dozen fights under his belt, claiming Faber was never a world champion simply isn't true.
Without Faber's contributions to the sport, the door might have never opened for someone like McGregor to become the superstar draw he is. Or for Cruz to become a star. Or for Demetrious Johnson to have a chance to showcase his skills, period.
When Zuffa bought the WEC, the company had just gotten around to crowning a lightweight champion for the first time in several years. There was still an old-school idea that smaller guys couldn't draw. Faber shattered those misconceptions. His fights on Versus drew upwards of a million viewers. By 2010, a fight promotion which had started on Northern California casinos was on pay-per-view.
Here's another way to look at Faber's influence: Take a peak at the lineup for WEC 38 in San Diego. One night after Affliction 2, with Fedor Emlianenko's knockout of Andrei Arlovski, was held up the road in Anaheim, Faber drew more than 10,000 fans for his rematch with Jens Pulver. Look up and down that card and you also see Cruz, Benson Henderson, Jose Aldo, and Donald Cerrone three future world champions and one of the most popular stars in the sport.
Urijah Faber, quite simply, is one of the most influential fighters in the history of the sport. Entire weight classes have the chance to not just compete, but also headline, because he broke down barriers. Add to that a world championship and overseeing one of the sport's most successful gyms and there's simply no dispute Faber belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Return of The Monster
@Justin_8s: So we will probably see Wandi/Cro Cop vs Carwin on NYE?
There's a decent chance Shane Carwin meets the winner of Mirko Cro Cop vs. Wanderlei Silva in the finals of the RIZIN World Grand Prix in Dec. 31, but in case you've got a stone tablet in front of you and are about to start etching this one, don't. Nothing's a sure thing when the big boys are fighting in the first place, since anyone can put anyone else to sleep on a moment's notice. That's before you factor in that you're asking these guys, at their advanced fighting age, to get through two fights on Dec. 29 and be in condition to go again two nights later.
But, this is Japan, and the remainder of the quarterfinals haven't even been bracketed as of this writing. So it won't be much of a surprise this is put together in a manner to make it as easy as possible to get to a Carwin vs. Cro Cop/Wandy final.
And yes, I know all the critiques of the RIZIN tourney, chief among them the lack of performance-enhancing drug testing. Is it bad that I know those and kind of don't care? In the USADA age, RIZIN is as close to a guilty pleasure as we'll find. We know what we're getting ourselves into when we're watching this, similar in some ways to knowing what's up when we watch a Bellator legends fight. I'd be lying if I pretended the return of Carwin after a five-year absence from the sport doesn't have me more interested in the rest of the Grand Prix than I was before. And whether we'll even come close to getting the finals we're expecting is part of the draw.
Return of the Zombie
@kopxpert: u've got to talk abt Korean Zombie's return. Who'd u like to see him fight? What would u do and what do u think UFC will do?
The impending return of Chan Sung Jung is one of the more encouraging bits of news to emerge in a topsy turvy year. The Korean Zombie has long exemplified what drew most of us to the sport in the first place, a combination of skill and heart which shone through in his classic WEC brawl against Leonard Garcia and his 2012 Fight of the Year win over Dustin Poirier.
He hasn't fought in three years, since losing in a title featherweight title challenge against Jose Aldo, in part due to injuries and for the past two years due to South Korean military commitments. We don't know if he'll be the same fighter he was at his peak, after so much time away. But the flip side of his inactivity has been that his body has had a chance to heal.
TKZ seems to have an opponent in mind, as he's called out B.J. Penn. It wouldn't make sense to throw Jung to the wolves right off the bat, which would rule out the top-ranked guys. A fight with Penn, who is going to continue with his career whether we want it or not, seems to strike the right note: A big name, one which will help re-introduce Jung to the audience, while not having to fight a killer like, say, Max Holloway or Anthony Pettis right off the bat.
Either way, it's great to have the Zombie back.
Return of Bjorn?
@passionatepatk: Where in the world is Bjorn Rebney?
Easiest. Answer. Ever.
MEXICO!!— Bjorn Rebney (@BjornRebney) June 29, 2014
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