Did anyone else feel the need to light a cigarette after all the fights were over Saturday night?
I exaggerate of course, but holy freakin' crap. Holy freakin' crap. I realize I'm speaking with all the eloquence of a five-year-old on a Skittles binge, but so what? Holy. Freakin'. Crap.
It's such a rarity when something in life you have high expectations for actually exceeds said expectations. Yet that was exactly how Hendo vs. Shogun was for me (and everyone else too, I'm guessing). It was like meeting Don Fry's mustache and finding out that not only is it the manliest thing ever, it's also a big Jimi Hendrix fan.
So, the question becomes: After a night of fights like that, where do you go from here? How exactly do you follow up an act like that?
Glad you asked. Below are all the fights I feel MUST be made after last night. And because this is my article, MY opinions will be expressed in ALL CAPS. But only in this paragraph. For convenience's sake, the fights are listed in the order in which I thought of them. I meant my convenience, of course. SO SAYETH THE BLOG WRITER!
Ahem. First up...
Cung Le vs. Randy Couture
...in “Expendables 3,” inevitably coming to a theatre near you...oh, let's say in 2013 sometime.
Yes, this is my cheeky way of saying Le should probably hang 'em up after his loss Saturday night. No, I'm not going to be one of those hysterical keyboard warriors who writes stuff like “Le should retire! He looked like crap!” or “Le is overrated! He's a can!” from the safety of Daddy's basement.
Instead, this hysterical keyboard warrior thinks Le should hang 'em up out of good ol' common sense. See, fighting is hard. Fighting hurts. Fighting, in Cung's case Saturday, leaves you looking like you lost a headbutting contest to a belt sander.
Fighting, on the other hand, is a nice easy paycheck and screen time with Channing Tatum. You see my point?
Cung looked fine against Wandy, as good as he ever did. To put his performance in context, two fights ago, Le was KO'ed by Scott Smith. He's a fighter with a truly unique style, not a whole lot of experience and a penchant for excitement. He's also 39 years old and coming off a long layoff.
My point is that going hellbent-for-leather with a badass like Wanderlei Silva is nothing to hang your head over. At his age, Cung would probably have a better go fighting weird alien-looking monsters on the silver screen, not in real life.
Dominick Cruz vs. Someone who isn't Urijah Faber
There is no UFC bantamweight division. It's a lie, a carefully crafted illusion. What there is is Dominick Cruz, Urijah Faber and a bunch of other guys standing in the way of their rematching each other.
Listen, I don't want to slag Urijah Faber here, who was fantastic against Brian Bowles Saturday. He threw with power, used great movement, mixed it up well and showed his usual awesome finishing instinct.
And I get Urijah Faber is Urijah Faber. I get that he's handsome, exciting, well-spoken, a California hero, friends with Kenny Powers and all that. I get that he's GSP for the 135 lbs set. I get that his chin is so cleft one wonders if you could pop open a beer bottle with it.
But another title shot? Really? Was anyone in the world calling for Cruz vs. Faber 3 before Saturday night? Is there anything even approaching buzz now that it's on?
One gets the feeling that the UFC brass desperately wants Urijah, possibly the most well-known fighter south of 155, to wear a UFC belt. And I get that. I really do. I'm usually pulling for Faber in his world title fights.
The problem is that these repeated losses in seemingly “gifted” title fights can seriously erode a fighter's credibility no matter how good they actually are (see Florian, Kenny). It also hinders the UFC”s attempt to craft a divisional hierarchy at bantamweight.
So give someone else the title shot, I say. Or at least get one more fight out of Urijah before you throw him back in a title fight.
I hear Miguel Torres is free.
Rick Story vs. a past version of Rick Story
Remember when Rick Story was the biggest prospect at welterweight; a surefire top-10 guy who just ran over former title challenger Thiago Alves? Man, those were the days, weren't they? Way back in...
Oh yeah, it was only this past June. Just goes to show that everything can change in MMA in no time at all.
Whatever Story once had, he hasn't had it his last two fights. Against Charlie Brenneman, a last-minute replacement, Story looked sluggish and even tentative. If his original opponent, Nate Marquardt, hadn't been popped for chemicals, steroids, HGH, horse meat, whatever it was, Story would have been slept that night. Count on it.
And this past Saturday, Story started strong before fading in the later rounds and dropping a one-sided decision to Martin Kampmann. Yes, the decision was “one-sided” even if one judge gave the fight to Story. Everyone knows MMA judges are incompetent imbeciles who couldn't tell a heelhook from a fish hook. I'm just going by what I read on Sherdog, mind you.
My point is that Story needs to find his old form, and find it fast. If not, he could very well be the next welterweight the UFC cuts to keep room on the roster for Dan Hardy.
Michael Chandler vs.
Eddie Alvarez The Next Bellator Lightweight Tournament Winner!
ZOMG BELLATOR HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE UFC WHAT ARE YOU DOING RAAAAAAAAGE! Just getting that out of the way.
If Mike Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez had happened in the UFC, there'd be no question of a rematch. I mean you have the most dominant champion in the promotion, unseated by an exciting up-and-comer in a potential FOTY performance. The UFC would build a whole PPV card around Chandler vs. Alvarez 2.
Instead, there's a good chance we never see this fight happen—that is, if Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney sticks to his guns about only giving title shots to tournament winners.
“Where title shots are earned, not given!” is one of Bellator's slogans, and the no-gifted-title-shots rule has helped add emphasis and importance to their unique tournament format.
Only now what?
Do you really make Eddie freakin' Alvarez go all the way to the back of the line? After a fight like that? Do you let your new champion sit on the shelf while any hype or buzz about him is lost? Do you risk not getting to see Alvarez/Chandler 2 if Eddie ends up washing out of the tourney?
If you're Bjorn Rebney, you've got a hard choice to make.
Hendo AND Shogun vs. a pat on the back, a cold beer and mad props for as long as you live.
Yeah, that sounds like fine matchmaking to me.