Random Thoughts: Superfights That Aren't Super, Did Velasquez Want Out?, Rousey's Coaching

Hey guys, happy new year! Here is this week’s MMA random thoughts…

I respect Amanda Nunes for her ability but I’ve lost great respect for her in how she’s handled her victory over Ronda Rousey. She has said repeatedly that Rousey is overrated and that she knew she would beat the shit (verbatim) out of Rousey. She needs to remember that if it wasn’t for Ronda Rousey, there’s a very good chance that Amanda Nunes would be fighting in casinos and legion halls for pocket change. Rousey was that unique combination of beauty, skill and personality that was required for Dana White to finally allow women to fight in the UFC. She paved the way for the Miesha Tate’s and the Holly Holm’s and the Amanda Nunes’s of the world to make good money fighting on an international stage. Even Tate after her long and drama-filled history with Rousey, has shown Ronda that respect since her retirement. Nunes has the skillset inside the cage to rule the women’s bantamweight division for a long time, but she has a way to go yet with respect to maturity and professionalism outside the cage.

I think that Ronda’s performance against Nunes once again was reflective of the poor coaching she has received from Edmond Tarverdyan. It’s been beaten to death so I don’t need to go into detail on it, but Edmond just isn’t a very good MMA coach, period. Ronda was his meal ticket so he told her everything she wanted to hear, but he simply did not prepare her for the striking and power of Amanda Nunes. Ronda looked like Rocky Balboa in his first fight with Clubber Lang out there; no defense at all. I expect that she will retire but if she does choose to return, she needs to move to a new camp before her skills regress more than they already have.

As good as Dominick Cruz is, I’ve never been a fan of his due to what I consider to be extreme arrogance and cockiness, although I do understand that those qualities are required of a champion, especially when it comes to playing head games. All that being said, I liked seeing Cruz step up by presenting his old foe Uriah Faber with a new signed poster (to replace the previous one that he had signed over Faber’s face) following Faber’s retirement. And I think he treated his loss to Cody Garbrandt with class. He didn’t question the decision or have a Ronda Rousey-like meltdown. He simply shook Garbrandt’s hand, gave him a hug and a smile, and walked out like a champion.

I’m a long-time fan of Cain Velasquez, and that’s despite the fact that he kicked the crap out of Brock Lesnar (I’m admittedly a Brock guy). When healthy, I think Velasquez is the top of the class with respect to the UFC heavyweight division. But that being said, I really believe that he wanted out of his fight with Fabricio Werdum at UFC 207 and that’s why he revealed in a pre-fight interview that he was injured, an interview that led to him not getting medical clearance to fight. I believe this because fighters go into big fights injured all the time, and Velasquez himself had a bum knee going into his first fight with Junior Dos Santos, a fight that Velasquez subsequently lost. Fighters never acknowledge injuries until after a fight for fear of being pulled from the show, since if they don’t fight, they don’t get paid. So for Cain to do that revealing interview, I think he wanted out but didn’t want to be the one to pull out so he waited for the commission to do it.

Interesting situation with Fabricio Werdum. He trains for weeks for Cain Velasquez at UFC 207. Velasquez is pulled due to injury. Werdum is offered a replacement fight (I’ve heard that Junior Dos Santos is one name that UFC offered) but turned it down. As a result, UFC chose not to give Werdum his fight pay. Keep in mind that in situations when a fighter was pulled from a card last minute due to injury but there’s no time for UFC to offer a replacement for his opponent, the opponent got his fight pay. You think there’s any chance that UFC chose not to pay Werdum in part because of that anti-Reebok tweet? I’m thinking yes.

Mike Goldberg ended a two decade run with UFC at UFC 207 and didn’t get the chance on the air to say anything, nor did his long-time broadcast partner Joe Rogan. What, is Vince McMahon running the show all of a sudden?

Tyron Woodley (UFC Welterweight Champion) challenged Michael Bisping (UFC Middleweight Champion) to a catchweight “super fight” at 180 pounds. “WOW!” said nobody. The fight means nothing at a catchweight so nobody will care.

Bjorn Rebney’s MMAAA appears to be dying a quiet, slow death. They claim that they’ve signed up lots of fighters, but I don’t think that any of them are needle movers like Conor McGregor, aside from Georges St. Pierre who is apparently back in talks with UFC for a fight. Even a couple of the guys that attended the big press conference and were positioned as board members are already distancing themselves from the group, such as Donald Cerrone. Good concept, terrible execution.

According to gambling site Bovada.lv, Nate Diaz is the odds-on favorite to land the next fight with Conor McGregor. Does anyone really want to see that match again? I realize it’d be the rubber match but seriously, all the trash talk followed by hugs afterwards, it’s been done. Time for McGregor to move on. Personally I’d love to see him try to become a three-division champion and challenge Tyron Woodley for the welterweight belt, but I think Woodley would be a tough match for McGregor. If a Diaz punch can stun McGregor, a Woodley punch could knock him into next week.

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