With the Monday MMA blahs behind us, we are about to embark on another UFC Fight Week with the promotion setting up shop in Brazil this weekend. But it’s the results and storylines from last weekend’s event in Stockholm, and dare I say Europe in general, that has the fanbase boiling over.
Light Heavyweights Alexander Gustafsson and Volkan Oezdemir have thrown a wrench into the UFC’s matchmaking plans for the division, and to be honest, I’m very intrigued to see how they will address this.
We all know Champion Daniel Cormier is set to defend his title vs. former champ Jon Jones. After that bout, it’s anyone’s guess who will get the next title shot.
Gustafsson made a case for himself yet again, by defeating a very game Glover Teixeira on Sunday, with a video-game like performance. He put the division on notice that he can still go hard for five rounds, while being utterly smooth and be precise with his striking. His three straight uppercuts that landed on the Brazlian were short of immaculate. He then angled off and followed with a right that ended Glover’s night.
It was so impressive (or perhaps not-so-impressive to some) that even ‘retired’ 205 lbs knockout artist Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson tweeted out a potentially troll like remark, that perhaps he should come back and teach the division the correct way at throwing uppercuts.
Sitting cageside in Stockholm, was Jimi Manuwa, a training partner of Alexander’s and also a former opponent. Would you be surprised if the UFC asked these two to once again, rekindle their hostilities inside the octagon for the right to fight for the title?
Then there’s the curious case of the aforementioned Oezdemir. Four months ago, barely anyone knew who he was. Yet in that short time frame, he has taken out (top heavy / shallow) division top contenders Ovince Saint Preux and on Sunday, Misha Cirkunov. Volkan has gone from a figurative unknown, to being on every single 205 pounder's radar … including the few men above him in the rankings.
And in looking at the rankings gimmick, we can somehow also add Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua to the mix. That gives the UFC (and all of us) some interesting matchups to consider. In essence, you can mix and match pretty much any of the names with each other, but for arguments sake, allow me to figuratively pick them out of a hat.
Give me Gustafsson vs. the loser of DC/Jones, Manuwa vs. Oezdemir (winner gets title shot), Cirkunov vs. Shogun and Glover vs Corey Anderson. And yes, MMA math does not make sense, but I’m all ears if you have any other suggestions.
Perhaps you can also help the MMA world but straightening out the debacle that is the UFC’s Women’s Featherweight Division. You think the men’s light-heavyweight division is shallow? It’s stacked compared to the ladies at 145 lbs.
You can make the argument that the division / belt was created for Cyborg Santos. Yet, she has not competed for it and likely may not for quite some time. She has legal issues she must first deal with after suckering Angela Magana in the face at the UFC Athlete Retreat.
Current champion, Germaine De Randamie, is being accused of now ducking Cyborg citing the latter's history of using performance enhancing drugs. To wit, Germaine has stated she wants to return to 135 lbs. This is such a debacle that the UFC Rankings page does not have one lady listed in the division. It’s just a heading with no content underneath it.
You know it’s in such a terrible space that the organization could completely care less about. It’s one of the items to address at the very bottom of their ‘To-Do-List’. You could address it quite easily, and perhaps they have tried (don’t laugh) but the reality is that this division needs some serious promotion.
I cannot see why some ladies would not want to compete in it … the option to do so is there. But when the ladies like Holly Holm decide to go back to 135 lbs instead, one has to wonder if there are more issues at hand that what we are reading in the headlines. Do you think the UFC recommended to GDR to go back to 135 lbs as well, seeing as finding a contender not named Santos has been a challenge?
The division is a mess but it’s not the end of the world. That’s why we simply sit back and wait for the UFC Matchmaking team to bring forth their eternal wisdom and straightening everything out for us would be pundits, matchmakers and wanna be know it alls.