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Hot Tweets: Dana White, time traveling, future champions, and interim title fights

Dana White
Dana White
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Howdy folks! I had to table last week’s Hot Tweets as I was in Greenville doing coverage things so to make it up to you, this week we have a double stuffed smorgasbord of Tweets ranging from future champions to what to do with Henry Cejudo. Let’s get to it.

Cruise vs. Bieber

ICYMI, Justin Bieber called out Tom Cruise for a fight in the UFC and Dana White is not against the idea.

Well since even Texas wouldn’t sanction an actual death match, it kind of limits our options. But I think it’’s pretty obvious what you do is make Cruise-Bieber the co-main event and put a Valentina Shevchenko title defense as your main event.

Shevchenko currently sits in the sweet spot of the Venn diagram where she is the safest bet for a long term champion but doesn’t have widespread acclaim. Whoever you match Bullet up against is gonna get got so having her be the dessert to the casual viewer’s Cruise-Bieber fight main course gives the UFC the best shot at creating their next Ronda.

Future champions

115 - Rose Namajunas

125 - Shevchenko (duh). Men’s division is no longer in the UFC

135 - Shevchenko (Nunes retires), Petr Yan

145 - Max Holloway. Women’s division gone from the UFC

155 - Justin Gaethje (after Khabib retires)

170 - Kamaru Usman

185 - Israel Adesanya

205 - Jon Jones

265 - Jon Jones

Most dominant female champion

Nunes is the only fair answer since she is the only one who has actually dominated her division. But if you want to know which champion will hold their belt the longest, Shevchenko is 100 percent my choice. With only minimum hyperbole, I believe Valentina Shevchenko could beat everyone in the women’s flyweight top-10 in one night, barring injury. She’s never going to lose that title.

Dana’s curious flashback

ICYMI, Dana White is seeing if he can get Jon Jones’ lone loss (a DQ to Matt Hamill) overturned for . . . reasons.

Who the hell knows? My favorite conspiracy theory is that he wants to try this so then he can get Greg Hardy’s loss overturned later but I’m sure it’s actually because he now thinks his troubles with Jon are all over and so he wants as clean a promotional product as possible. Which is dumb for two reasons: first, that’s putting a lot of faith into MMA’s master of self-immolation; and second, Jon is a dramatically more interesting because of all his foibles.

Or maybe Dana was trying to set up the rematch since Jon has no one to fight at 205 anymore and doesn’t want to move to heavyweight.

Fixed purse fights

Not at all. Having half a fight purse tied up in a win bonus, aside from being borderline unethical, is terrible business. It incentivizes winning at all costs in a sport where winning is already aggressively overvalued, from a viewing product perspective. So fighters are much less likely to “stand and bang” because that’s a riskier proposition and fighters like Curtis Blaydes have basically said as much.

The way to maximize the product is fixed purses so fighters can feel confident in employing more aggressive styles and then make uniform finish bonuses across the card instead of arbitrary “Performance of the Night” bonuses. If getting a finish meant you made an extra $50K guaranteed, every undercard fighter is gonna start going balls out to get that, especially if doing so won’t jeopardize their purse.

I’m a genius.

Henry Cejudo the featherweight

ICYMI, champ-champ Henry Cejudo wants to challenge for the featherweight title.

Slim to none. I actually think Cejudo would beat Edgar at this time but there’s just no chance Edgar beats Max and even less of a chance for Cejudo to beat him. Max is gonna hold the featherweight title for a few more years.

Interim titles

ICYMI, Henry Cejudo is out until 2020 after suffering a torn shoulder muscle.

Yes, I do, especially if they decide to let Cejudo vie for the featherweight title. If the UFC isn’t going to shutter flyweight, then Saturday’s fight between Joseph Benavidez and Jussier Formiga should have been for an interim belt. I know many people don’t like interim title fights but I’m all for them and I think I have a couple of changes we can make to interim belts to get everyone else on board.

  1. Interim belts need to look different than the undisputed title.
  2. There is only one interim belt per division, and no replicas are made. So if the interim champion loses when they unify the belts against the undisputed champion, they have to give the actual, physical title, back to the UFC, they don’t get to keep a belt in their personal trophy case. Conversely, if they interim champion wins, they still return the interim belt but now they have their own undisputed title.
  3. If the interim champion ever defends their interim belt, they become the undisputed champion and the other title holder gets stripped.

These rules do a few things. They keep everything clear and easily understandable, they help the UFC keep divisions moving along at a consistent pace, and they incentivize champions to defend their belts, while not completely undercutting the value of the true titles.

Once again, I am a genius.

Next title shot

ICYMI, Colby Covington accepted a fight against Robbie Lawler instead of waiting on his presumed title shot against Kamaru Usman.

If Askren wins, yes. If Masvidal wins, probably not but maybe. It seems like the UFC really just decided to do that thing where they put on two fights and the one who wins more impressively gets the next title shot, while the second place finisher probably fights Leon Edwards or something.

The fall of the UFC

No joke, I’m honestly not sure they even could at this point. Outside of intentionally trying to crater their organization, they are too well-ingrained in the market to ever be superseded. Barring some astronomical outside force completely destroying the brand - like, Dana White is actually an alien body snatcher and the UFC has been poisoning everyone with Xience and Corn Nuts - they can’t be topped.

Of course, this is all with the caveat that Campbell McLaren and Combate Americas is already the number one US organization, just check their ratings.

Khabib vs. GSP

If Khabib beats Dustin Poirier and Tony Ferguson, yes. At that point he’ll be one of the three biggest stars in the UFC and they’d throw him the bone, probably as a retirement fight. Otherwise, nope.

Time travel

For this question I chose “first few” to be the first five. And assuming we are picking them up from where they were then and dropping them in, the answer has to be Dan Severn.

“Wait, what?” you say. Follow my thinking. Royce is the only one back then who knew BJJ, so you would assume that fundamental skill would make him the most likely to do the best. Except Royce would be either a welterweight or a middleweight, and get pistol-whipped by anyone in those divisions. Conversely, Dan Severn’s wrestling would still be solid enough to get him by a few bottom tier heavyweights who aren’t gonna go popping off triangle chokes from the bottom. The Beast is your answer.

Most celebrated win

Depending on what you mean by the MMA community, I think there can only be two answers: either Randy Couture over Tim Sylvia or Nate Diaz over Conor McGregor. Personally, I give the edge to Randy.

When Nate tapped Conor, MMA Twitter went insane, because the entire thing was insane and charming. From “I’m not surprised motherf*ckers” to the mural to slapping Dana, the MMA community loved everything about that. Except the Conor fans. But Randy’s comeback and subsequent shellacking of Sylvia was one of those things were everything past and future has been kinda shaded over in rose-colored light for Randy. Suddenly people were super-stoked on a Randy-Fedor matchup that was previously unasked for, and Randy was Joe Rogan’s hero despite losing nearly as often as he won.

This isn’t to denigrate Randy Couture at all. I’m just saying that Randy, by succeeding in such a fashion and at the age he did, made everyone smile a little wider and hope a little more, in the face of some harsher realities. And that win more than any other made people forget about all the failures so that’s my pick.

Angela Lee in the UFC

Very far. Not well. Absolutely.

Angela Lee could be a top-5 fighter in the strawweight division. She’s extremely talented. But she just got did up by a fighter without a Wikipedia page and Jessica Andrade is a whole other kettle of fish to be messing with. She’s also, you know, only 22 so she has time and room to grow. And because she’s that good, and that young, and marketable, I’d be shocked if she didn’t wind up in the UFC eventually. The UFC is like the Lakers with NBA centers, eventually the greats find their way there.

Slap fight

I would be so down. The scoundrel Lucas Thomas would finally gets what’s coming to him from the biggest arms in West Linn, Oregon.

Thanks for reading this week and thank you for everyone who sent in Tweets! Do you have any burning questions about at least tacitly related to combat sports? Then you’re in luck because you can send your Hot Tweets to me, @JedKMeshew and I will answer them! Doesn’t matter if they’re topical or insane. Get weird with it. Let’s have fun.

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