If I told you that Jason "Mayhem" Miller had his latest screwup this week, you'd probably tell me this was just another week in MMA.
But then, it's not every week that Michael Bisping gets offered a title shot and Stipe Miocic wins the UFC heavyweight title, then goes home to Cleveland and hits a home run at Indians batting practice. So let's jump right into a wacky week.
Can Bisping beat Rockhold at UFC 199?
@clangford4: In a sport where happy endings are few and far between, how good would it be to see Bisping win the title?
UFC 199 morphed into something completely different than the original plan when Bisping ended up with the middleweight title shot after Chris Weidman had to pull out of his matchup with champion Luke Rockhold (and best wishes to Weidman in his recovery from what sounds like an absolutely brutal neck injury, incidentally).
There's now a chance that on June 5, we'll wake up and find both Bisping and Urijah Faber as UFC champions, which is as crazy a thought as we've gotten to ponder in quite some time in this crazy little sport of ours.
Now, will that actually happen? That's a different story. Bisping is on his hottest roll, with four wins in his past five fights and coming off the biggest victory of his career, over Anderson Silva in London. But that loss during that stretch, of course, was to Rockhold. And that submission loss, of course, is hard to forget. And Rockhold has pretty much been destroying everything in his path the past couple years.
So no, I don't like Bisping's chances against Rockhold. I picture it ending more or less the same way it did the first time, with Bisping competitive at first before Rockhold turns it up several notches. But that's still a couple weeks off, so for now, I'm going to ignore what will probably happen when they eventually get into the cage and just enjoy the buildup as Bisping gets to revel in his moment.
@iiFreaks_: If Bisping doesn't take the fight on short notice does he get passed over for a title shot?
This was very likely "The Count's" one and only window for a middleweight title shot. Consider the circumstances. Jacare Souza had the best case, but he went into his UFC 198 victory over Vitor Belfort hiding an injury and isn't able to turn around on short notice. Yoel Romero is still suspended. Uriah Hall isn't quite there yet. Gegard Mousasi recently followed a loss to Hall with a boring win over Thales Leites.
If Bisping passed on this opportunity, not only would someone else have taken it, but the perfect storm which gave him his shot would have passed. Souza will return. So will Romero. And Weidman. Another big win would give Hall real momentum. If Mousasi looks impressive next time out, that would give him five wins in six fights. Bisping is 37 and been waiting on this chance a decade. He probably would have taken this opportunity on 24 hours notice if that was his only option. If you're Bisping, after waiting a decade, accepting this fight is a no-brainer.
@Andy_Pancake: Chances the UFC let's Stipe make his first title defense in Cleveland?
If UFC Tonight is to be believed these days, then it's looking likely the new UFC heavyweight champion will make his first title defense in his hometown sometime in September. And that's a great thing, on several levels. It's kind of astounding the UFC has never been to Cleveland. There's passionate MMA fan base in Ohio. UFC 68, in which Randy Couture came out of retirement and defeated Tim Sylvia for the heavyweight title, was one of the most memorable evenings in the sport's history, and it happened a couple hours down the road from Cleveland in Columbus. So it's great the fans in that part of the country will finally get another big show.
And it's great for Stipe, a really good, straightforward dude, who wears his passion for his hometown on his sleeve. It's been a joy following Miocic's exploits since knocking out Fabricio Werdum in Brazil last weekend. He belted a home run taking batting practice with the Indians and was treated like royalty at Game 1 of the Cavaliers-Raptors Eastern Conference Finals series. Given how much bad news we seem to get pelted with these days, it was great seeing a decent guy who worked hard get his due.
Robbie Lawler vs. Tyron Woodley
@hongeorge: Woodley? Why? WTF?
I can understand why some might have been underwhelmed by the announcement that Robbie Lawler's next title defense, at UFC 201 in Atlanta, will come against Woodley. After all, we've been teased on-and-off over the past couple months with the idea Lawler might defend his welterweight title next against a returning Georges St-Pierre. And there had also been talk of Lawler vs. Carlos Condit in a rematch of what's still the runaway leader for 2016 Fight of the Year. And It sure seems like Stephen Thompson would have a killer case for a title shot should he follow up his first-round finish of Johny Hendricks with a win over Rory MacDonald on June 18.
If the timing was right on any of these fights, no doubt the UFC would have pulled the trigger. GSP and Condit haven't budged on ending their hiatuses. Lawler will be nearly six months removed from the Condit fight by the time Thompson meets MacDonald. I can't blame Lawler for not wanting to wait what could be several more months after that to meet the winner.
So all things considered, Woodley's not a bad choice. He's won four of five, he's beaten Condit, and it's not his fault his match against Hendricks at UFC 192 was called off. And hey, Dana White promised Woodley the title shot after Hendricks' weight-cut issues forced him out of the fight. White gets a ton of grief when he backs out on promised title shots. We shouldn't be giving him more when he follows through on one.
What's next for Cyborg?
@RuckerYeah: So what should Cyborg do next?
At UFC 198, we were teased with the notion of just how big an event a Cyborg megafight against any of the superstars of the women's bantamweight division would be. Cyborg rolled over Leslie Smith (yeah, it got stopped a bit too soon; no, dragging it out longer wouldn't have changed anything besides the amount of damage Smith took) and never looked like a bigger star in doing so.
And that was Cyborg against a journeywoman with a record barely above .500. Imagine the spectacle should Cyborg go up against Miesha Tate or Holly Holm (I'd add Ronda Rousey in here, but it sure doesn't seem like she's in any rush to take the Cyborg fight).
But Cyborg said from the jump she was interested in defending her Invicta featherweight belt, which she adamantly doubled down on when UFC Tonight said Justino would fight Germaine de Randamie at 140 pounds.
In fairness, if you saw the pic Cyborg posted on weigh-in day, she looked emaciated. Maybe she feels it's only worth her time to make the cut to 140 for a big-money fight going forward. GDR is talented, but she's not yet a money player.
The UFC has already accommodated Justino on her long-held catchweight demands. If she's content with being simply the greatest featherweight women's fighter in history, that's fine. But the door is open for Cyborg to prove herself indisputably the greatest women's fighter in mixed martial arts history, regardless of weight class. At some point, she has to show that she wants it.
What if DJ loses?
@KevinMuehleisen: If Mighty Mouse ever lost his belt, would he get a deserved immediate rematch or would UFC want new title fights?
Well, speaking specifically of his next matchup, if Demetrious Johnson was to lose his flyweight title to Wilson Reis at UFC 201 in late July, it would seem a tight squeeze to have the duo rematch before the winner of the fall's season of The Ultimate Fighter gets their his guaranteed December title shot.
Under other circumstances, though, I'd lean toward immediate rematch. One, because the UFC has been handing out title rematches like Halloween candy this year. And two, even though Johnson hasn't been a trailblazer at the box office, it also isn't like there's another fight at 125 which would do better. If someone in the near future defeats Mighty Mouse, what is an easier sell? A rematch between the new champ and the longtime dominant former champ looking to defend his loss? Or the new champ defending his belt against someone DJ already handily beat?
@LeeHarrisonUK: Is this the last time we will (or should) hear from Mayhem Miller?
If Jason Miller showing up 24 pounds overweight on Friday for what was supposed to be a fight with Luke Barnatt wasn't karma biting Venator FC in the ass, then I don't know what is. After a long and well-documented string of alleged crimes and disturbing incidents, Miller belongs either behind bars or preferably getting the help he needs. I'm not sure what's on your weekend agenda, but I won't waste my time watching the show being staged by Mayhem's enabler, and neither should you.
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