Welcome back one and all to an up and running blog thing. I had some domain issues but these were resolved and we’re back in full swing (no pun intended).
I was (and still am) very busy at work, so I did not make it for a UFC174 prediction post. Had I posted it, I would’ve been 4 out of 5 (with Jimmo losing being the missed 1). You’re just going to have to trust me on that one 😉
My favorite fight (as I assume many other’s) was the Rory MacDonald show. It was a thing of beauty, talent, tactics and awesomeness. It was so great that, in comparison, the main event was predictably dull. This doesn’t go to say I think less of Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. These were too fights where the more complete, all-rounder fighter just had his way with a good-but-not-good-enough opponent.
What happens following a successful title defense, especially following a seemingly ‘easy’ one, is normally the discussion about who’s next for the champion. Such was the case following Jon Jones’ destruction of Glover Teixeira and it started with Demetrious Johnson, seconds after he convincingly put Ali Bagautinov away.
Nothing wrong with wondering who the next challenger is, except that in MMA it seems like every fan is an authority on qualifying the contenders. Most of the time, based on favoritism of course.
When Jones was asked (as every winner does) who he’d like to fight next, his reply was Daniel Cormier. That set fire under some people’s back side. Oh, the cheek on this arrogant prick! Who is he to pick and choose? MMA is turning into boxing (an insult).
When Demetrious Johnson was asked whether now, after both he and John Dodson won so convincingly in their last fights, he’d like a re-match with “The Magician”, he said he’d prefer to fight someone he hasn’t fought yet. Which sanded some more vaginas (pardon my French).
Let’s look at a couple of statistics:
I don’t consider the term P4P (Pound for pound) anything more than speculative opinion, but let’s look at the UFC’s top 5:
Whether you agree or not, you have to concede the both Jones, as well as Johnson belong in the top 10 (Jones should without a doubt be #1).
Now let’s look at both fighters recent title defenses:
Jones (* will indicate former champions):
Mauricio Rua* (To win the belt), Quinton Jackson*, Lyoto Machida*, Rashad Evans*, Vitor Belfort*, Chael Sonnen, Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira.
Ian McCall (To win and inaugurate the belt), Joseph Benavidez (Twice), John Dodson, John Moraga.
Both champions have fought a succession of top-tier competition. Some world-class fighters with proven track records. Jon Jones made a few resounding statements with big wins over Shogun Rua as well as Lyoto Machida.
Yet, when both fighters express their desire to compete against someone they haven’t yet fought, they are accused of “Ducking”.
Like Jon Jones or hate him, He stepped into the cage with anyone the UFC put him in with (and won). He did not shy away from competition. On the contrary, he welcomed the challenges of fighting the best the UFC had to offer. After his title defense against Alexander Gustafsson, it was clear to all MMA fans that there’s a re-match in the future.
But then something else happened. Daniel Cormier decided to drop from heavyweight to Jones’ domain, the light heavyweight. Knowing well, he wouldn’t have a shot at the HW title (against his good friend Cain Valasquez), he decided to look for one where the champ was not a camp member.
So now, Jones has NOT yet fight every challenger in the division. There’s a world-class fighter who’ve beaten some really stiff competition, and on a heavier weight class. So by wanting to fight Cormier before he re-matches Gustafsson, in some twisted fan logic, Jones has “Ducked” The Swede… Interesting…
Demetrious Johnson has fought John Dodson. He beat him. He will fight him again. This is simply inevitable. But what’s the pressure on having him fighting Dodson again right now?
Everyone wants to see the best fights all the time. But keep two things in mind please.
We want to see a sport where good performance is rewarded. Fighters who make their way up the ladder deserve to get a shot at the title. If the UFC keep booking re-matches, these fighters will not get the nod they deserve.
We also want to see something new and exciting. If anyone wants to tell me a Jones Vs. Cormier fight is nothing short of exciting, I’d question their love for this sport.
I could go back in time and show how Anderson Silva (no less) or Georges Saint-Pierre, were accused of ducking, even though they fought every top challenger in their respective weight class (and some who moved classes just to have the chance to fight them).
The bottom line, as I see it, is that I can’t see how fighters, great fighters, Champions like Jones, Mighty Mouse, Silva, GSP and others can be accused of avoiding stiff competition when all they do is defend their respective belts against the very best. Us fans should enjoy fresh fights and, more importantly, not be so damn judgmental of people who, unlike us, actually walk into the cage to test their strength and will against the very best in the world.
Let me know what you think:
- Do you agree?
- Who should Demetrious Johnson fight next?
- Who should John Dodson fight next?
As usual, until next time,