It’s UFC 275 time. Let’s get cracking.
Glover Teixeira’s future
Does glover retire if he wins? Does he retire if he loses?— Daniel Pompilio (@elpompilio) June 9, 2022
If Glover beats Jiri Prochazka tonight, he should 100 percent retire. There won’t be a better note for him to go out on. He won the title long after everyone gave up on him, then defended the belt against the new “it” guy, again against the odds. That’s the most storybook ending imaginable. Unfortunately, I doubt he’ll take it.
Based on how Teixeira has been talking, my best guess is that he still feels like he has more to give the sport, and let’s be honest, he does. Teixeira doesn’t need to retire because he can’t compete. So win or lose, if he wants to continue fighting and picking up paychecks, that’s on him. But it’s not how I’d go about things.
Now, if he loses, Teixeira definitely should not retire. If you can’t tell, I’m a big supporter of ending your career on a high note and getting knocked out by Jiri isn’t that. If Glover loses and wants to have a retirement tour, the UFC should absolutely give him a softball matchup, at a location of his choosing to go out on.
Glover Teixeira’s legacy
If Glover defends the belt, where do you rank him all time in the LHW division?— Reese (@spicygambler) June 10, 2022
That is an excellent question. Let’s figure that out.
He’s definitely not surpassing Jon Jones, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, or Wanderlei Silva. You could probably make an argument that Glover has beaten better opposition but it doesn’t really matter, all those men mean too much to the sport to pass. The same probably goes for Quinton Jackson, Shogun Rua, and Frank Shamrock. But the really interesting case, for me, is Daniel Cormier.
Cormier will still have more title defenses than Glover, but he will have a much shorter career in the division (just seven fights total) and really, the story of his career is his success in two divisions. Prior to Glover winning the title, it still would’ve been no questions that DC was better, but if he gets a title defense, I think it becomes a real debate given Teixeira’s longevity.
So based on the above, if Teixeira defends his title against Prochazka tonight, you can make an argument that he’s a top-five light heavyweight all-time, but no further up than five, and the truth is he’s probably still just a top-10 fighter. But since he’s already a top-10 light heavyweight all-time, I’m not sure his defense really even matters in the grand scheme of his legacy. The sheer fact of winning the belt already was all Teixeira needed to cement himself. He’s now a no-questions-asked Hall of Famer, and that’s the bottom line.
Jiri Prochazka’s ceiling
How good is Jiri really? What his ceiling if he wins Saturday night? Long reign?— AD (@adubz123) June 10, 2022
Truth be told, I have no idea.
Prochazka is probably the best athlete at light heavyweight right now, and in MMA, athleticism is a cheat code, but he does have clearly established deficiencies. He’s not a great wrestler, he’s definitely too reckless, and his chin isn’t bulletproof. Fortunately for him, Prochazka has simply been so violent that it doesn’t really matter. He’s a bit like a light heavyweight Justin Gaethje in that regard, and given how bad of a division 205 is compared to 155, being a light heavyweight Gaethje could lead to a sustained title reign. I mean, the division is really, really not good, and Glover presents one of Jiri’s toughest tests.
But if Jiri wins the belt, I doubt he has an extended reign because Magomed Ankalaev is actually the best light heavyweight in the world. Yes, he has a snoozer in his most recent fight against Thiago Santos, but that’s sort of Santos’ thing these days. If you put Jiri against Ankalaev, it would be fireworks that would mostly be Ankalaev countering Jiri’s face off. If there is any 205er right now that I think could put together multiple title defenses, Ankalaev is the dude.
Is Dana open to Bullet chasing 135 gold with the main reason a lack of contenders (maybe aside from Tate-Murphy at 25, because the 35 contenders are )?— Zak Kitzler (@KitzlerZak) June 9, 2022
And I'm guessing Dana's blocking Marina from a title shot as an extension of his "my way or the highway" philosophy.
For the first part: That certainly plays some role. Bantamweight is devoid of contenders that people care about (sorry Ketlen Vieira) and Shevchenko is such a marketable property, that having her fight there is just good business. Also, if Amanda Nunes wins the rematch with Julianna Peña, a trilogy bout between the two best female fighters on the planet is one of the biggest fights the UFC can make. So it makes sense from that standpoint, too.
But I think Shevchenko to 135 is going to depend heavily on what happens in the scheduled Lauren Murphy vs. Miesha Tate bout at UFC 276. If Tate wins that, Shevchenko vs. Tate is a huge fight for the promotion and for Shevchenko as a champion, and so the UFC probably pulls the trigger on that and lets Ketlen Vieira get her bantamweight title shot. Shevchenko can then fight whoever has the belt when the dust settles.
As for Marina Rodriguez, the answer is much more straightforward: No one knows who she is. The UFC is heavily invested in both Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Weili Zhang and, as disrespectful as this is towards Carla Esparza, whoever wins tonight to earn a title shot is the de facto next strawweight champion. The UFC wants its champion to be a big name fighter, and then Rodriguez can challenge for the belt. Or she may have to fight Rose Namajunas just so the UFC can continue to cycle the belt among the same five women.
Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Many attributing Karolina's strong performance to training with Joanna. Any thoughts on the inverse; JJ working with KK and what it means for the rematch? Also, thoughts on Weili full time in Thailand? I imagine she's working on addressing JJ's kicks. Thanks!— Trintendo (@Trincognito) June 9, 2022
I love Karolina Kowalkiewicz and have for some time. I think she’s wildly underrated as a fighter. But Joanna has been training with better fighters than Karolina for a long time. That’s the benefit of American Top Team. Karolina moving there was great for her but I doubt it will massively affect Joanna, especially in this instance, since Kowalkiewicz and Zhang could not be further apart stylistically. You could probably give “Kowala Bear” a bat to swing and she still wouldn’t hit as hard as Zhang does, or with the same speed.
As for addressing the kicks, Zhang already did a great job of that in their first bout. Yes, Joanna landed a ton of them, but many of those lands were responded to with heavy counters on the feet. That’s how Zhang operates, and that’s how she dinged Joanna up and made the fight so rugged. Joanna wasn’t able to stay at distance and peck away with kicks freely like she would have preferred. Now, Joanna was also able to adjust as the fight went on, switching stances to give a new look, and tucking kicks into combinations more, which proved successful, but still, I don’t think Joanna’s leg kicks are a massive advantage for Joanna in this rematch, especially with the bout being only three rounds.
Does Rose get the loser from Weili-Jedrzejczyk next? And if so, which is a more intriguing trilogy?— Anthony Benvenuti (@anthonybananaas) June 10, 2022
I strongly doubt it considering she’s 2-0 against both of them. It wouldn’t be the worst thing that’s ever happened, but honestly I’d love to see Rose fight new people. Over the past five years, she has fought FOUR rematches. Let the new blood have a crack at her. Which is probably why she’s going to get Marina Rodriguez next in a title eliminator. And while that sucks for Rodriguez, and it sucks that once again we will have the same people in title fights, it’s still slightly new and a damn good fight.
Fight of the Night & Low Key Banger
FOT prediction & your "low key banger"?— Cad Bane's Revenge (@Scot_McCreight_) June 9, 2022
Fight of the Night is almost certainly going to be Zhang-Jedrzejczyk II. Even though it’s only three rounds, their first fight was Fight of the Year. That HAS to be the betting favorite.
As for low-key banger, I’m going with Liang Na and Silvana Gomez Juarez. In her UFC debut, Liang Na threw caution to the wind and just came out scrapping. And when that’s your mentality, and you’re not great defensively, that tends to lead to excitement. I don’t think of Juarez as a huge finisher on the feet so this is probably going to be a ton of pace and some cool scrambles. Can’t wait.
Alright, that’s enough from me. Settle in for a dope night of fights.
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