It’s the second to last week of 2016 and the MMA world continues to try and make sense of what went down in Sacramento last weekend while prepping for the return of one of the sport’s biggest stars next Friday night.
This past weekend, UFC: VanZant vs. Waterson was an eye opener for many. Some of the favourites did what they were supposed to do - win - while some underdogs proved their worth and showed why they needed to be taken seriously within their divisions.
For starters, Michelle Waterson not only did a fantastic job submitted Paige VanZant, the victory moved her from number 11 on the UFC rankings, all the way to number 7. Business just picked up for “The Karate Hottie” and so will the caliber of competition. Names like Torres, Andrade, Namajunas, Esparza, Kowalkiewicz and Gadelha are potentially in her future as they are the road blocks who will be more than happy to prevent her from getting anywhere near divisional Queenpin, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Then there’s Mickey Gall, who is my type of guy when it comes to making noise. It’s a lesson I learned years ago when, as an MMA Promoter, I was searching for talent who knew how to take advantage of camera time. Gall gets it, and has gone from defeating CM Punk, to calling out and now defeating Sage Northcutt to inviting Dan Hardy back into the octagon. Love him or hate him, Gall is going to move the needle soon.
As for the aforementioned Northcutt, I am personally puzzled by his penchant for moving camps and weight divisions. When he was invited in with open arms at TriStar, I was convinced he found a new home and a new team that would help him along his MMA journey. Instead, it was Firas Zahabi who was cornering Gall this past weekend, which surely played a bit of a mental game with Sage. Moving forward “Super Sage” stated he will stop moving around divisions and will now focus competing solely at 155 lbs. Good call in my opinion.
Sometimes silly things do actually make sense … or not.
In honor of Urijah Faber’s final bout in the octagon, the UFC fired off a tweet wondering if the sport should also retire “The California Kid’s” entrance song: “California Love” by Tupac featuring Dr. Dre. Don’t laugh, but I’m all for it.
As cheesy and irrelevant as it may sound, it will be a long time before I ever respect any man or woman who chooses to use it as their entrance track. The song (which is playing right now as I am typing this) is synonymous with Urijah Faber and if there’s one good thing Dana White will likely do with his remaining time with the UFC, is that he will prevent any fighter from submitting it as their primary or backup music selection on fight night.
This won’t be something we will have to worry about this weekend, as the UFC is taking a week off before setting up shop one final time this year. Next Friday, UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey goes down and believe me, this will likely do big numbers for the UFC.
The promos focusing mainly on Ronda are technically disrespectful to the champ, Amanda Nunes, but, if she has the right contract in place, I’m sure her people are saying “No problem … keep letting Ronda’s name build the pay per view numbers”. The higher the numbers, the higher her piece of the pie will be. It’s likely going to be Amanda’s biggest pay check … ever … so let Rousey sell the damn thing and show up and show why you are the best women’s fighter at 135 lbs.
Even in defeat, and should Ronda reclaim the title, Nunes will be fine financially. Invest that money wisely, and she may never have to worry about funds again. Win the fight, then all I can simply say is follow in the footsteps of her opponent, as well as the last woman who defeated her: Holly Holm.
Holly was smart … she did the talk show circuit and continued to build upon her brand. Unfortunately, she lost her next two bouts, but because of her skills and name value, she now finds herself competing for the 145 lbs title in February.
I’ll discuss much more regarding this stellar pay per view event over the next week or so. When you have two title fights, a rematch of a former title fight, and a former champ looking to halt the next guy who will likely get the crack at a UFC title … well, things are looking awesome for the UFC’s year end show.
Stay tuned !!!