UFC 120 Reactions: What Does UFC 120 Say About The State Of British MMA?
Last night's UFC 120 certainly had it's share of shockers, from the war between Cyrille Diabate and Alexander Gustafsson to the main event madness between Yoshihiro Akiyama and Michael Bisping.
No doubt that the local fans at The O2 Arena in London were excited to see Bisping score a hard-fought win at home, but unquestionably British MMA took a big hit on its own turf.
How big of a hit was it?
Well, Bisping was the only main-carder from the UK to win, and he was only one of three British fighters to win at all last night.
James McSweeney was knocked out in an upset against Fabio Maldonado, Kurt Warburton lost a decision to Spencer Fisher, James Wilks and John Hathaway both lost painfully lopsided Unanimous Decisions to respective opponents Claude Patrick and Mike Pyle, and Carlos Condit handed Dan Hardy a loss by putting him to sleep the same way Hardy puts people to sleep: Knocking them out with one solid hook dead-on on the jaw.
With all but three Brits losing on their own soil, you'd think that maybe British MMA is in danger of fading to where eventually people forget that even Bisping was around in the UFC, right?
Well, that's not exactly the case.
British MMA may have to look away from just Bisping, Hardy, and Hathaway as international sensations that can draw on a UK card, but they aren't in danger of fading away at all.
British MMA is as strong as it's been with the exposure that UK fighters have been getting recently, but will it have to grow just a little bit more before we can go back to talking about the first English-born UFC Champion?
That just might be the case.
Hardy finally suffered a knockout loss in his fight against Condit and Hathaway got slowly dismembered in three rounds against Pyle -- resulting in a lopsided, can't-even-argue-for-Hathaway Unanimous Decision that saw Pyle snap Hathaway's formerly unbeaten record.
Some even noted that the first shot Akiyama threw against Bisping did hurt him as Joe Rogan noted, yet few of the shots Bisping landed were enough to hurt Akiyama or make him wobble despite the decision.
What does this and everything else that happened last night mean for British MMA?
The sport doesn't move back any, but it's clear that one of two things will happen.
Either we wait until Bisping's next fight to play out before we decide that he'll be the next or somewhere-close-to-next contender for the UFC Middleweight title, or we look to guys like Paul Sass and Rob Broughton now.
The two young prospects, who fought last night on the UFC 120 undercard, could lead the next generation of UK-born fighters in a new British Invasion in MMA, and out of the new invasion could be a UK fighter that finally becomes a UFC Champion.
The way I look at it, though, it'll take more prospective talent than just Hathaway to raise any beliefs about this generation of UK-born fighters being the generation that spawns a UK-born champion, especially now that Hathaway has lost a fight.
As for Hardy, the only hope would be that he spends less time knocking the way certain fighters work their game plans and more time working on his own game.
Wilks, McSweeney, and Warburton had their own flaws which showed in their respective fights, but I still wouldn't be surprised if these guys prove their merit as serious contenders.
Either way, British MMA will have to realize that their two big stars may be the "present" of the sport, but after Hardy and Bisping, there are few that can be looked as the next big Brit in MMA.
Hathaway was supposed to lead that generation, but now it seems that while British MMA isn't dead, the timetable for a major title reaching our neighbors across the pond just got longer with Pyle's victory last night.
What will the next generation have to bring in order to put British MMA back in the public eye?
Who knows, but I can tell you that from here on out, the fighters need to deliver once again—especially when they're doing what most of the UFC roster isn't getting to do and fighting in their home country.
If they do, we may see an English-born UFC Champion yet.
If not, British MMA fighters will keep one similarity between them and Mexican MMA; They produce dominating fighters, but the country doesn't have a champ to call their own.
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