UFC Halifax has come and gone and a few key items have caught my eye, as potential stories to keep an eye on over the coming months. I discussed a few of them at length with MMA Analyst Robin Black during the February 20th edition of The Fightful MMA podcast.
For starters, I have a sense that Heavyweight Derrick Lewis has not made any extra fans after his main event victory over Travis Browne. His post-fight speech was eyebrow raising and somewhat stomach turning, so bad in fact he caused the normally subdued Robin Black to drop an F-bomb.
Lewis’ post fight propagation of Browne’s alleged past was definitely uncalled for. Black went as far as to describe the incidents whereby all parties - from Browne, his ex and the police - all state none of the allegations against Browne were true. Yet Lewis thought it was best to use the platform of a microphone, beaming around the globe, to take a shot at a man he just about killed minutes earlier.
Lewis then went all Clubber Lang on the mic, bringing up Travis’ girlfriend Ronda Rousey, a strategy that I find utterly disgusting. You may not agree but frankly, I thought it was utterly classless. There is something about this man that I do not like and in my 20 plus years being involved in this sport, I’ve never uttered these words before, but I will today. If I never see Derrick Lewis compete in the UFC again, I will not miss him.
The second item that I will be paying close attention to in 2017, is middleweight Johny Hendricks. I know, it sounds weird, doesn’t it: “middleweight Johny Hendricks”.
While “The Big Rigg” did haul his way to a decision victory on Sunday night, his future journey does not seem overly bright. Because he has a name for himself, I cannot see the UFC pitting him against lower level 185 pounders. Instead, he will likely get another name in return.
Fightful Managing Editor Sean Ross Sapp made an exceptional point regarding Hendricks’ size, in comparison to Brian Stann, who interviewed Johny after his victory over Hector Lombard. There was a significant size discrepancy between the two gentlemen. And Stann is the average size for most middleweights. With that being said, how far can Hendricks rise up the rankings when he potentially has to look across the octagon and face off against the likes of Weidman, Souza, Rockhold and Romero?
Then thre’s the amazing story of small town Canadian phenom Gavin Tucker, who was invited to compete in the big show’s featherweight division, only to serve notice to everyone at 145 lbs that he is here to stay.
The aforementioned Black suggested we all temper our expectations for Tucker, as he his opponent, Sam Sicilia, had the perfect style for him to show off his brilliant footwork / stick and move style against. Either way, I told the brief story of how on Saturday I kept looking next to the time clock on the screen, to further verify that was in fact a featherweight bout, and not a bantamweight tilt. That’s how impressed I was with Gavin Tucker. I cannot wait to see who faces off against next, later this year.
In closing, there is the curious case of Sara McMann, whom many were beaming about on social media, yet I was shrugging my shoulders about. She did what she was supposed to do vs. Gina Mazany. The problem now is where does McMann go from here?
I’d like to see her move up to 145 lbs as I’m not sure she will be able to take out the top tier of the ladies at 135 lbs. Can she? Of course, but will she? I do not believe so. But at featherweight, I believe she can surprise many with her stellar wrestling.
Much more happened at UFC Halifax, much of which will be discussed all week here at FighfulMMA.com, but also, live, during my daily FightfulMMA Podcast.