clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hot Tweets: UFC 240 outcomes and building the UFC’s best football team

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Tonight the future of both featherweight divisions hang in the balance as UFC 240 takes place. So let’s briefly touch on that and then spend the rest of the time talking about football.

What if Frankie wins?

If he doesn’t, he’s a fool. It’s hard to call this the biggest fight of Frankie’s career, but it kind of is. If he wins this, he goes from top-25 all-time fighter to top-5. After that, defending against Volkanovski is a mug’s game. Frankie can’t have many years left in him and certainly doesn’t have a sustained title reign in him either. If he wins, he needs to cash in on as many legacy fights as he can before the clock strikes midnight. A superfight between champ-champ Henry Cejudo and two-time champion Frankie Edgar would be one of those dream promotional scenarios for the UFC and I can’t imagine how you don’t pull the trigger on that. And if Frankie wins that fight, which he would have a good damn shot at, then he’s suddenly the front-runner in the GOAT debate, rightly or wrongly. He’s a no-doubt-about-it Hall of Famer regardless of what happens tonight, but if he wants a bullet-proof resume, that’s how he goes about it.

Cyborg’s future

It feels like the die has already been cast on this one, regardless of the outcome tonight. Perhaps I’m being overly negative but Cyborg’s presence in the UFC has always felt wrong to me and she seems to be fed up with it. Her history of beef with Dana goes back a long way and he really only ceded ground because she was a bonafide star and the UFC needed them badly at that point. Now he’s back to throwing her under the bus with regularity. I’m not saying the two can’t work it out, but I don’t see why Cyborg would want to. She’s spoken openly about how appealing Bellator’s featherweight division is since, you know, they appear to be actively trying to build one, and that fit makes so much more sense. A fight with Julia Budd plus not being treated like sh*t awaits her away from the UFC. She should take it.

Korean Zombie’s title aspirations

I highly doubt it. It would be tremendous if he did but it just feels like TKZ’s career will inevitably be one of those guys who is an incredible action fighter that never got the gold. In another time or another organization, he definitely could have snatched the top spot but he had the misfortune of coming up during Jose Aldo’s prime (top-4 fighter ever) who was then replaced by Max Holloway (quickly establishing himself as an all-time great as well).

I do think Chan Sung Jung can work his way back to a title shot though. He’s a better fighter now than he was back then and he’s a surprisingly beloved star in the sport considering his time off from the game. the UFC Greenville crowd loved him, which was absolutely shocking. He won’t need that many good wins to put himself back in line, maybe one or two more. But I don’t like his chances vs. Holloway.

The big caveat here is if the UFC finally does the smart thing and commissions a Violenceweight belt. Then he has an incredibly good chance of getting his hand on that before his time is up.

Hippo vs. Rhino

I have to favor Anthony Perosh here. “The Hippo” was a serviceable light heavyweight when he was fighting despite being up there in age. Doug Marshall, meanwhile, was a middling middleweight and his style would be ravaged by five years away from the cage, whereas Perosh’s BJJ is still gonna hold up. Best guess is that Perosh jiu-jitsu’s the hell out of MMA Michael Symon.

But if you’re looking for a real wildlife answer, it’s very obviously the hippo. True fact, hippos are responsible for more human deaths per year than any other large animal in Africa. Let me hit you with some knowledge:

Rhinos are aggressive creatures when confronted but otherwise they’re pretty chill for the most part as they are typically solitary animals. Conversely, hippos live in pods and fight all the time over territory. Sure, rhino’s have a big, intimidating horn on top of their head but have you ever seen a hippo’s teeth?

Fighting hippopotamuses in lake showing huge teeth and large canine tusks in wide open mouth. Photo by: Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Also, as the above photo would indicate, hippos are semi-aquatic animals. They’re the Navy Seals of the animal kingdom, able to fight on land or sea. On top of that, rhinos are nearly blind and rely heavily on sense of smell. Not true for hippos who have perfectly fine vision.

So in summation, hippos are the same size as rhinos (roughly) but they are meaner, have more tools at their disposal, and a massive experience edge in combat. This is the striker vs. grappler of the animal kingdom. If the rhino can charge and land a big blow, then he’s got a chance but otherwise, the hippo is gonna Khabib him. The rhino’s best bet is to run away as they are faster than hippos on land.

This has been your JedTalk on large African mammals.

Firing Conor

I genuinely do not believe there is a series of circumstances that would lead Dana to fire Conor, or at least not any realistic series of circumstances. Sure, if Conor started a cult that preached some morally repugnant things maybe, but outside of something like that, Dana is aggressively incentivized not to. Conor is still the biggest star in the sport and firing him would only open up an opportunity for Bellator/PFL/ONE to offer him literally whatever he wanted to fight for them. Even if Conor went to prison, I wouldn’t be shocked if Dana stood by him and spun it as “the greatest redemption story in sports.”

Jon Jones vs. Demian Maia

I see what you did there and I like it.

MMA Tag-teams

I see only three possible answers: the Diaz brothers, Cain-DC, or Andrei Arlovski-John Dodson. If you’re reading this, you probably don’t need me to explain any of those choices so I’ll just say that my pick is obviously Arlovski-Dodson. Give me more of those two guys in my life.

Khabib’s next fight

Smart money says no but it’s a lot closer now than it used to be.

Dana appears to have come around to the idea of Khabib-GSP, perhaps because it will be a more palatable sell with another title defense under Khabib’s belt and perhaps because as much as Tony Ferguson deserves the next shot, Tony is low-key not popular. I know, I know, you just read that and are thinking I’m an idiot, but check the man’s PPV’s. El Cucuy is an MMA darling but the public writ large doesn’t give two tugs of a dead dog’s tail about him. With Khabib being recently crowned the most successful Russian athlete in the world, he’s nearly in the Conor Zone of his fights being about more than meritocratic advancement. Should Khabib beat Poirier in September, the most logical fights for him from a promoter standpoint are GSP or a Conor rematch. That’s it.

Besides, even if they set up Khabib-Tony for a fifth time, it would inevitably fall apart again. Stop getting your hopes up. That fight is cursed and won’t ever happen.

Askren vs. Maia

I struggle to think of one better. Also, its s sneaky great fight because unlike other grappler vs. grappler fights that inevitable turn into bad kickboxing affairs, Askren is still going to wrestle. He would get pieced up on the feet by K-1 Maia. Taking Maia down is his best avenue to victory, and though Demian is obviously elite-elite, he’s less dangerous on his back than on top. We could be in for some very entertaining scrambles in this one and I think it’s a pitch perfect fight to go with.

Gegard Mousasi

He just lost to Rafael Lovato Jr. so my guess is, not tremendous. Lovato Jr. is a solid fighter but I think he loses comfortably to everyone in the top five and probably Weidman and Costa too. Mousasi is just one of those guys that was probably the best fighter in the world at some point but has such enormous brain farts that it’s hard to pinpoint when. With his enthusiasm for the sport seemingly waning to an all-time low, I have to figure he’s at best a top-10 middleweight right now, despite having the talent to be champion.

Beating Jon Jones

After watching Jon Jones’ lackluster performance against Thiago Santos, I’m gonna say “time”. Thiago Santos is a good fighter and fought a solid fight despite not having working legs, but I struggle to envision him as a truly “great” fighter. That being said, I thought he beat Jones when they fought. Maybe it was just an off night, or maybe the division is catching up to him, but Jones has turned that corner to being overly safe (a la GSP) and that catches up to you. Give people enough bites at the apple and eventually Jon will fall.

If you’re asking from a style standpoint, there are only two answers. Francis Ngannou, should Jon move up, or Israel Adesanya. Ngannou is an obvious choice so I won’t explain. Izzy is harder to picture given the size disparity but Adesanya would absolutely work Jon on the feet. Jones fights as an outfighter because of his physical abilities but he’s really not good at it and has little feel for it. If he wants to stay at range with Izzy, he’ll get comboed up and down the cage.

MMA football team

I’m stealing this question that was asked to Eryk Anders because none of loved me enough to ask me it. I’m gonna make one big change though, I’m filling out the full starting roster. Here’s Anders’ line-up, for reference:

Okay, I’m cheating a bit here but whatever. Anders was almost spot on with his picks. Hardy is an obvious include and Adams earned tryouts as a D-Lineman for a couple NFL teams after college, despite wrestling in college, not playing football. Ngannou though, he’s got no football experience, whereas “The Black Beast” got a football scholarship to play defensive end at Kilgore College. I imagine he’s grown some since then and he looks like Vince Wilfork so he’s gonna anchor the centre of our D-Line and standing in tandem with him will be Brock Lesnar who isn’t technically in the UFC but this is my list and the dude damn near made the Vikings on a whim. That Front Four is gonna funk some people up.

Picking Linebackers was easy as there are three UFC fighters with legitimate college experience. Anders is the most obvious inclusion. He started 14 games for Alabama and won a national title in his senior year, leading the team in tackles and forcing a fumble. He’s our Mike. OSP played for Tennessee as a linebacker so he’s another obvious include. And Gian Villante was an All-American linebacker at Hofstra and got looks from several NFL teams.

I’m feeling great about this team already. That is a really strong front seven right there.

Perhaps it’s the gold chain looking like Miami’s turnover chain but my gut tells me Aljo can ball-hawk with the best of them. Plus his wrestling background means he can tackle, a must for my D-backs. Likewise, Garbrandt will be an undersized Corner but his hands should be good enough to break up many a play. Lawler was all-state football in high school and honestly, he just feels like a perfect hard-hitting safety. Dominick Reyes is the hidden gem of our ball-hawking crew as he played DB in college for Stony Brook University, twice making All-Conference.

Obviously, I want Cormier anchoring the center of my O-Line. We’re gonna be doing a zone-blocking schemed so we need his agility and smarts. After that, we’re just surrounding him with the best athletes we can muster, preferably with a wrestling background so they grasp core leverage concepts. Daniel Spitz played O-Line for Washington State so he’s going to have the premium position of left tackle. Blaydes played defensive end in high school but we’re gonna move him to left guard and pull him for runs up the right. Tuivasa played front row in rugby league, that’s a big difference for pass blocking but should give us a good push to create running lanes, he’s our right guard. Then we round things out with Cain Velasquez who was a linebacker in high school but has terrible knees now so we’ll brace him up and hope he doesn’t fall apart.

Harris was a good enough basketball player in college to earn a couple of NBA tryouts, which means he’s perfect for us to slot him in as a dual-threat tight end. Ngannou is just too athletic to leave off the team and tight end feels like a safe spot to put him

Football’s prima donna position goes to MMA’s foremost prima donna, obviously. Plus he has the size and athleticism to be a competent middle of the field option. Ledet played D-II basketball so he’s got the catch radius we need. Izzy also has prototypical WR size and great hands but now I’m starting to worry about our receivers ability to get separation. So given that, we’re gonna add Volkanovski as our Slot Receiver. Volkanovski was a front-row guy in rugby and he just missed out on playing linebacker for us so instead we’re gonna make use of his experience running the ball and try and free him up with short passes in space.

For running back I’m just picking the best athletes in the UFC. Since Romero is the greatest athlete of all time, I have no doubt it would take him all of 15 minutes to figure out how to slip through holes and get downfield and Woodley actually has some football experience so that helps. Aldo is our change of pace RB. Granted, his football experience is relegated to actual football (not American football) but that’s why we want him. He’s fast and shifty. And he also did this to Neymar once.

I feel good about our Running Backs.

Stipe played football in high school, and while he was a running back, he also played baseball and has an arm on him. Also, feels like Stipe may watch the most football of any MMA fighter and he hangs out with the Browns a lot. Now, normally that would be a knock against him but the Browns don’t suck anymore and Stipe can absorb some things from Baker Mayfield. Finally, since he was a running back, when the play breaks down, Stipe can scramble and keep is in things, or give us triple-option looks.

Remember how she kicked Jessica Eye in the head? We’re gonna have her to that to footballs instead.

Bring on the Oakland Raiders.

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.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting