UFC 150 Bar Talk: Five Things to Discuss with Your Friends over Beer and Wings

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UFC 150 Bar Talk: Five Things to Discuss with Your Friends over Beer and Wings
Photo courtesy of MMAValor.com

To the average working person $59.99 is a lot of money, and with the UFC offering two, sometimes three pay-per-view events in a single calendar month, that's a lot of strain to put on the bank account.

For myself and others of legal drinking age, the solution is the local bar where—if you can ignore the guy in the Ed Hardy shirt screaming "headbutt!" every time the fight hits the mat—you can enjoy some drinks and watch the card with a small cover charge at most.

In the interest of sparking the conversation between you and your increasingly inebriated pals, I've put together a handy cheat sheet of five topics that you can argue over while you wait for the server to refill your mug. Enjoy the fights, enjoy the beverages, and of course, get home safe on Saturday night!

1. If Frankie Edgar wins the lightweight title, doesn't Ben Henderson deserve an immediate rematch?

Let's say that Frankie Edgar earns a close unanimous decision win over Ben Henderson which, given how their first fight went, is a distinct possibility. That leaves both fighters locked in a 1-1 tie and, given that Edgar was awarded an immediate rematch after their first match, shouldn't Henderson be given the same opportunity?

In a vacuum, that would be the fair thing to do, but a vacuum doesn't have Nate Diaz waiting in the wings, or Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis or even Paul Sass potentially in the mix. UFC president Dana White has already said that Diaz will get the next shot at the title, but you couldn't blame Henderson for feeling a little swindled if the fighter he already beat walks away with the title and he is thrown back into the ever-growing pool of contenders.

This is the reason that I hate immediate title rematches. Not only do they stagnate the division for up to six months at a time, but they add a level of complexity to the title picture that just isn't needed. Contenders get their shot, and if they come up short—regardless of circumstance—send them back to the pack and bring on the next one.

2. Will we get a Fight of the Year candidate on back-to-back weekends?

Given that Donald Cerrone and Melvin Guillard is the co-main event at UFC 150, it's a distinct possibility.

Once former training partners, Cerrone and Guillard have built their reputations on being two of the most exciting fighters in the lightweight division, and on paper, these two should combine for a fantastic scrap. Guillard brings wicked speed and knockout power, while Cerrone relies on his technical kickboxing, dangerous submission game, and unparalleled mean streak. It's hard to imagine a scenario where this isn't an all-out war, especially when you consider that it's being fought in Cerrone's home state of Colorado.

After the out-of-nowhere fireworks display that was Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner last weekend, these could be the best back-to-back Fight of the Nights that we've ever seen.

3. Is a return to middleweight what Jake Shields needs to rejuvenate his career?

The last time we saw Jake Shields look like a world-class fighter, he was suffocating Dan Henderson en route to a unanimous decision title defense of his Strikeforce middleweight title.

Welterweight was supposed to be Shields' optimal weight class, but after an uninspired 2-2 UFC run that included two razor-thin wins, a lopsided decision loss and a 53-second knockout, Shields is back up to 185 lbs to try his luck against Ed Herman.

Herman is a tough draw for someone looking to re-energize their career, and his wrestling abilities should make it hard for Shields to get the fight to the ground and work his Jiu-Jitsu game. Switching weight classes is hit and miss in terms of success rate, but a win over Herman would get Shields back in the right direction and help him to regain a little of the hype he enjoyed when he first entered the Octagon. But a loss would be a pretty significant nail in the coffin for the former top 10 fighter.

4. How high is Justin Lawrence's career ceiling?

Josh Koscheck and Gray Maynard have proven that you don't need to win the six-figure contract to become a UFC star and challenge for a title. When he makes his featherweight debut against Max Holloway in the first fight of Saturday's main card, 22-year-old Justin Lawrence will hope to follow in their footsteps.

Despite just having four professional MMA fights, Lawrence's striking experience and credentials—a six-time kickboxing national champion and two-time Golden Gloves boxing champion to name a few—have already earned him a Knockout of the Night in his one UFC fight, and his fighting style could quickly turn him into a fan favorite.

But most importantly for his career trajectory, Lawrence is moving to a featherweight division that is still without a laundry list of established stars. Given two years to progress and improve on his wrestling defense, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Lawrence challenging for the belt in 2014.

5. Does MMA belong in the Olympics?

I know it doesn't pertain directly to UFC 150, but the Olympic discussion has permeated every other aspect of our lives during the last two weeks, and figuring out how our beloved sport could exist on a global stage is a fun discussion to have in between bouts.

For one thing, would the tournament be comprised of amateur or professional fighters? Seeing all of the best fighters in the world compete in a month-long tournament for their countries would be a spectacle that would rival the PRIDE-era Grand Prix, but that would also mean that basically every top-tier UFC fighter would be unavailable to fight from about April (factoring in training camps) until mid-August at the earliest. If you think UFC cards are stretched thin now, imagine if they had no top 10 talent to pull from for a four-month stretch. Amateur fighters are probably the way to go, but amateur MMA is still a developing and unorganized mishmash of promotions and gyms. A national MMA governing body would need to be established in this country to determine which fighters to send, and I have a hard time seeing that moving swiftly when we can't even get the sport legalized in New York.

My feeling is that most fans want MMA in the Olympics because it would add another level of credibility to a sport that is constantly under attack and fighting for mainstream acceptance. But football isn't in the Olympics, and baseball was just voted out, and both of those sports are doing fine. As for myself, I think Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lends itself better to the Olympic format, and the 2016 Summer Olympics just happen to be in Rio de Janeiro. Is that perfect, or is that perfect?

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