Bringing you the weird and the wild from the world of MMA each and every night …
Welcome to Midnight Mania! Tonight, we’ve got Holly Holm’s coaches doing verbal dances, Jon Jones calling out all the black belts, several sweet regional knockouts (as per usual), some fallout from UFC on FOX 22 last weekend and more.
The first thing that caught the eye today was Holly Holm’s coach, Mike Winklejohn, on “The MMA Hour” trying to explain the reason “Preacher’s Daughter” wanted no part of Cris Cyborg (again) at 145 pounds. The camp asked to meet her at 138 pounds (knowing that she wouldn’t be able to do it), but meeting someone else at 145 for a belt was just fine. He hinted at the long-term plan: Get the belt … and then get that life-setting lucrative rematch with Ronda Rousey. Which would mean, of course, that the long-time women’s 145-pound wrecking ball — the force of nature that is Cris “Cyborg” Justino — is left out in the cold … again.
A title makes some sense as an incentive to pack on 10 pounds — that’s quite a carrot, after all. But this?
I mean, how many times has Rousey maintained she wouldn’t go to 145 pounds to fight Cyborg? Why did Cyborg spent two weight cuts nearly killing herself to make 140? (And no, it’s not nearly as easy as just losing some muscle mass. She naturally walks around at more than 170 pounds … with abs).
One can’t really blame Holm, right? Cyborg is HUGE compared to her and the women she has been fighting.
That’s legitimately scary. It’s not a knock, at all, that a fighter — or more likely a fighter’s camp and trainers — would want to avoid a fight in a cage with someone who is simply much, much larger than them. It’s just that it is anathema to fighter culture to not want to fight someone … for any reason. And, to be fair, it is likely Holm herself would take the fight. It is up to any given fighter’s coaches and management to make sure their fighter doesn’t get in over their head.
Holm explains the reason(s) she is rooting for Rousey at UFC 207:
It’s easy enough to call fighters afraid or say they are ducking a particular match up because they aren’t courageous enough. That is almost never true, as a rule, especially when discussing a group of people who choose to make their living throwing punches with fingerless gloves in a cage. These are people with nearly boundless self-belief, and there is no shame in a manager who is smart enough to prevent a fighter from taking fights that would be bad for their careers and/or health.
Most likely in this case, however, the Holm team hopes to hit the jackpot on a retirement plan for a 35-year-old combat sports veteran.
Nevertheless, in the long-term, it’s going to be impossible to avoid Cyborg forever. One can see WME-IMG’s ideal scenario here: Ronda Rousey beats Amanda Nunes to reclaim her 135-pound belt at UFC 207 to close out 2016 and Holm topples Germaine de Randamie six weeks later at UFC 208 to set up a long-overdue rematch that could very well approach two million pay-per-view (PPV) buys. In this current Conor McGregor lull, those are buys that the company badly needs. Then, in this ideal world, Rousey beats Holm, setting up the ultimate “super” fight against Cyborg. That would be Rousey’s retirement fight, more than likely, as she has been on the edge of retirement even before the loss to Holm.
Of course, there are so many things can happen to derail this at any point along the way. Nunes is a very scary fighter for the first four minutes of a fight and Rousey is very hittable. De Randamie is a champion kickboxer, and the last champion kickboxer Holm faced, Valentina Shevchenko, defeated her handily.
We may never see any of this come to fruition. Cyborg may end up fighting de Randamie in what would be, somewhat ironically, de Randamie’s first title defense. Or Holm could face Cyborg after all if the Rousey bout doesn’t pan out.
However it ultimately shakes out, Cyborg’s shadow will loom large over the new women’s Featherweight division until she fights for that title.
Believe it or not, 2017 is right around the corner. And a lot of you will make what are called “New Years Resolutions.”
Conor McGregor predicts you will do fookin’ nuthin!
Speaking of McGregor, this is a first in MMA (as far as I can tell).
It’s a long overdue development, frankly, one I’m glad to see. Particularly after it has become apparent MMA can cause CTE relatively early in fighters’ careers. And, of course, after the fatal tragedy that rocked McGregor and SBG earlier this year.
Jon Jones is gunning for the whole grappling world. Or, rather, they are gunning for him after his submission of Dan Henderson at “Submission Underground 2” earlier this month (watch it).
I hope next time, they find him someone his own size … and skill. Like, I don’t know, perhaps former UFC Heavyweight champion, Frank Mir. Just a crazy idea!
Remember how I said Max Holloway is the budget Conor McGregor? Well, that tie is saying he isn’t budget anything.
This, frankly, is hilarious to me and I think that makes me a bad human being. But, it’s funny.
This is also kind of funny … and scary. Yes, he did let out a whoop of sorts.
I will always repost Tito hilarity.
Ah, Tito. There is a reason Donald Trump said you are special.
He is a one-of-a-kind MMA gem.
Podcasts and Audio
The Monday Morning Analyst:
The MMA Hour, all four hours of it:
The Co-Main Event podcast, in which …
Bobs and Weaves
Cody Garbrandt is feeling confident ahead of his first title shot at UFC 207 opposite Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
He’s hoping to put “Dominator” down in violent fashion. This is his gameplan:
Cruz knows a little more about fighting than that guy, though. We’ll see.
Tommy Toehold doing his thing post-Sacramento:
- The UFC gambled on Paige VanZant and lost … sort of.
- Nick Diaz opened up about what Nate Diaz was really smoking at that presser, as well as how Rousey got him to loosen up.
What’s next for VanZant? Let’s speculate!
- Looks like Paul Felder will clash with Gilbert Burns at UFC 208 — that fight card just keeps getting better!
Stay woke, Maniacs.
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