Showdown Joe: The Challenge Of Being An MMA Fan, Ring Rust And UFC 208


As the dust settles from a UFC event, we often get that one day to ponder what went down a few days ago, what it all means and think it through before ramping up for the next event, which often takes place in four days.

Being a UFC fan can be a challenge. There are so many events taking place with a roster that feels like it’s an endless list of “I know him/her” vs. “who is this now?”. Being an MMA fan is even more of a challenge as you have to add the events and rosters of Bellator, Rizin FF, Titan FC and all the others on UFC Fight Pass and those that are not.

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As member of the media, it’s a massive challenge for me … so I can just imagine what it’s like for a fan. In fact, let’s be honest - it’s impossible to watch every event and be able to retain the necessary knowledge on each event, fighter, result, story angle, etc.

There used to be a time when UFC events took place, on average, every six weeks. The same with Pride FC, so there was a special time in MMA when every three weeks, you would get a glorious card. And when I say glorious, I’m talking about a sense that something epic was going down. The anticipation would build to the point that those Saturday nights could not come soon enough.

Nowadays, there is MMA on every weekend, and not just on Saturdays. There are events on Friday nights. Some also take place on Sunday nights. Heck, there are mid-week events too. There is so much MMA that our brains can go into overload in an instant.

While the difficult part is trying to wrap your head around what to watch and subsequently determine if it’s even worth your time and if so, worth remembering any of what you watched, the positive is that we will never be bored with storylines, angles, features, etc.

On a personal level, Tuesday’s are generally the day when I can sit back and analyse what happened on Saturday night, for the dust has settled and any answers we have been looking for have likely been published online. It’s also the day before the UFC often ramps up the promotion of their next event … as I mentioned earlier … a mere four days later.

In examining what happened last weekend, and thankfully discussing much of these items with Sean Ross Sapp on The Fightful MMA Podcast yesterday, I’m thankful I’ve learned a few things that will help me along this incredible fun (and long) MMA journey I’m on.

I learned that it’s important to let people know that ring rust timing and cardio are two separate things, and that speed, power and timing can offset them. Chan Sung Jung aka “The Korean Zombie” showed that his timing was on point vs. Dennis Bermudez. His head movement wasn’t the greatest. His chin was fantastic despite trending to get flattened out. Instead, he popped “The Menace” with an upper-cut, ending his night midway through the first round (of a scheduled five round bout).

I also learned that cagey vets like Felice Herrig could care less about the up and comers like Alexa Grasso and find sheer enjoyment in proving people wrong. While most of the pundits saw Herrig as a stepping stone for Grasso, Felice wasn’t having it … and apparently neither was Alexa. But that’s another story for another day.

Saturday night confirmed that there is plenty of talent outside of the UFC that can come in and compete with some of their top tier talent. Volkan Oezdemir proved that point, coming in on two weeks notice to make his octagon debut vs. top six light heavyweight Ovince St-Preux. The Swiss fighter emerged victorious, setting himself for a fantastic 2017.

It proved to me once again that the UFC is no longer the super bowl of MMA. It houses most of the top tier talent in the world, but I believe that strength is beginning to weaken. I’m getting the sense, that every week that goes by, many of the so called best of the best will chose other options other than the octagon product. A change is coming … and I don’t mean one change, I’m talking about layered corrections to the industry as a whole.

One final item that raised my eyebrows on Saturday night, was to dig deeper whenever you hear a fighter has one foot out the door and will likely not care as much during their bout. After hearing all the things Tecia Torres mentioned in her pre-fight build up, I got the sense she was done and there to pick up her pay check and ride off into the sunset.

Well, that was far from the case in her bout vs Bec Rawlings, as “The Tiny Tornado” won all three rounds and simply put in a solid effort with a 180 comment in her post fight interview, stating she wants more fights in 2017. Ah yes, the MMA curveball. From being done to wanting more. #Gotcha

And now we have this Saturday’s UFC 208 event, with the organization set to crown their first ever women’s champion at 145 lbs. Will it be former 135 lbs champ Holly Holm? Or will it be “The Iron Lady” from the Netherlands, Germaine De Randamie?

This event will also likely give us a definitive answer as to who and what Anderson Silva is, when it comes to MMA in 2017. Will he show flashes of brilliance and dominance, or will Father Time be popping up and down saying “Told you so”?

I’m obviously interested in every bout on this card, but some of my questions today have me excited to find out the answers on Saturday night. How will Glover Teixeira look in his first bout back since being KO’d by Anthony Johnson last August? Will Dustin Poirier finish Jim Miller? And vice versa? If Wilson Reis emerges victorious, does he get back that title shot?

Did I mention Tuesdays is my day to just sit back and smell the MMA coffee? So much to dissect but plenty of time to make sense of it all. Enjoy it while you can as before we know it, we’ll be knee deep into fight week, pinned to our seats over the weekend, watching the dust settle afterwards and alas … we will be back here before you know it.

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