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Bleacher Report lead mixed martial arts writers Jonathan Snowden and Jeremy Botter have banded together—much like a modern-day version of Wham!—to take on the most important questions facing the MMA world. Welcome to The Question

In his last two fights, the once-great Anderson Silva was knocked unconscious and had his leg snapped into pieces. It seemed like an ignominious end to an amazing career. 

But rather than go gently into that good night, the 39-year-old Silva decided to carry on. He main events UFC 183 this weekend, taking on former welterweight challenger Nick Diaz.

Does Silva still have what it takes to compete with the world's best? Let's discuss.

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The Mauler has known better days.

Alexander Gustafsson finds himself at loose ends after Saturday’s first-round TKO loss to Anthony Johnson at UFC on Fox 14. Once thought to be among the biggest threats to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, he now faces a long road to rebuilding his standing in the fight company’s marquee division.

It’s been a precipitous drop for a guy who appeared on the verge of winning the gold for 20-odd minutes at UFC 165, back in September 2013. But at 28 years old, he’s obviously far from done.

Here are the most likely places matchmakers will look to find Gustafsson his next fight.

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It took Anthony Johnson all of two minutes, 15 seconds on Saturday to change the trajectory of the UFC light heavyweight division.

Johnson’s unexpected first-round TKO victory over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on Fox 14 effectively took a sledgehammer to the 205-pound status quo. It scuttled best-laid plans and sent the fight company’s marquee weight class streaking off in an exciting new direction.

Scariest part is, the former welterweight and one-time UFC washout might just be getting started.

Provided champion Jon Jones can free himself from his current drug-related scandal, Johnson should get the chance to alter everything we think we know about this sport when the two meet in a suddenly hotly anticipated title bout later this year. Jones commented on the bout via Twitter:

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Twenty-four hours ago, my colleague Jonathan Snowden and I put together the latest edition of our new series, The Question.

In it, we tried to answer two questions:

1: Did the UFC miss the boat by not forcing an immediate rematch between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson after their classic bout in September 2013?

2: Did Anthony Johnson have a chance to delay that rematch even further by beating Gustafsson in the UFC on Fox 14 main event?


This Saturday, the UFC heads to a massive indoor arena in Sweden for UFC on Fox 14. The main event features the ultra-smooth Alexander Gustafsson taking on Anthony Johnson, who used to be a welterweight but is now one of the most terrifying men in mixed martial arts.

To the layman, this might feel like a setup for Gustafsson. Win the fight, get a rematch with Jon Jones.

They faced off back in September 2013, and Gustafsson took Jones to the limit in the best fight of the year before losing a unanimous decision. It was close enough that many observers actually gave Gustafsson the fight. MMA fans, not known for embracing shades of gray, immediately proclaimed it a robbery of the highest order and demanded a rematch.

But the immediate rematch never happened. Jones allegedly turned down a second fight with the Swede. Gustafsson had to face Jimi Manuwa before earning his rematch, but he then got injured and saw Daniel Cormier step in to take his place. And now Gustafsson must win another fight—this time in front of his fellow countrymen—before punching his ticket back to Jones.

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Even as the UFC light heavyweight champion finds himself mired in the flat spin of a drug scandal, the division rolls on around him.

Saturday's UFC on Fox 14 features two potentially meaningful 205-pound scraps. Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson battle for likely No. 1 contender status, while perennial contenders Ryan Bader and Phil Davis continue to search for the signature win that will put them on the fast track.

In addition, all-time great Dan Henderson returns to the middleweight division, looking to break out of a 1-4 slump dating back to Feb. 2013.

The fact that it all goes down inside a stadium-sized arena in Stockholm, Sweden and will air live on network television in the U.S. only adds to the grandeur.


Bleacher Report lead mixed martial arts writers Jonathan Snowden and Jeremy Botter have banded together—much like a modern-day version of the Justice Leagueto take on the most important questions facing the MMA world. Welcome to The Question

Now that Conor McGregor has proven he's got legitimate star power, setting ratings records on Fox Sports 1, a new question comes to the fore. Will he prove to be equally as devastating in the cage as he is at the box office? He's established himself as a legitimate contender—but can McGregor beat featherweight world champion Jose Aldo?

Jonathan: Well, Jeremy, it's official. Although a few naysayers will continue to lurk in comments sections everywhere, it's clear to everyone with a functional cortex that Conor McGregor is the real thing. He didn't just beat a tough fringe contender in Dennis Siver—he demolished him. 

We've always suspected McGregor had the potential to be a box office sensation. His record-breaking performance on Fox Sports 1 proves there is fire alongside that smoke. And that success came before he had established himself as a legitimate contender. Now that he's officially the top contender, and looks like he'll be competitive against Aldo at the very least, I'm hopeful MMA, at long last, has a new star on its hands.


Anthony Johnson is a night owl these days.

The UFC’s No. 3-ranked light heavyweight arrived in Stockholm, Sweden, late last week to prepare for Saturday’s title eliminator against Alexander Gustafsson. At least some of that prep work involves keeping late hours.

To stay acclimated for an event scheduled to kick off at 2 a.m. local time, Johnson told Bleacher Report he’s keeping his body clock on Florida time. That means he’s staying up all night, starting his hotel training sessions at 2:30-3:00 a.m. and getting what little sleep he can—he says he doesn’t need more than a few hours each day—during normal business hours.

Oh yeah, and for a native of Georgia who now makes his professional home with the Boca Raton-based Blackzilian fight teamStockholm in January? Not necessarily his choice for the best weather.

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Our enduring memory from UFC Fight Night 59 will be Conor McGregor, moments removed from his easy destruction of Dennis Siver, leaping over the Octagon in search of his next foe.

McGregor found him. Jose Aldo, located in the second row—next to McGregor's stunning girlfriend, no less—stood with a smile on his face. McGregor, held back by a security detail that included Dana White's massive personal bodyguard, Kea (no last name needed), screamed at Aldo. In return, the UFC featherweight champion simply smiled. Aldo's daughter, standing in front of him, beamed at McGregor as well. Aldo continued smiling as McGregor climbed back on the cage and made the classic pro-wrestling "I'm taking the belt" motion with his hands.

It was an interesting moment. In McGregor, Aldo must see a chance to finally make the kind of big money he has watched other famous Brazilians bring home but has never quite obtained himself. The loudmouthed Irishman has been selling a fight with Aldo for what seems like ages now. He has constantly ensured that his current opponent was not overlooked but continually reminded fans of the ultimate goal: a championship fight with Aldo.

And now that moment is here—or at least it will be in a few months—and I wonder if Aldo will hold up his end of the deal. He has complained about his pay on a regular basis for quite some time. And there are signs that Aldo understands that he needs to be a little more vocal when it comes to McGregor; he took a photo of himself wearing a robe, crown and scepter while holding a drawing of McGregor as a court jester. 

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The narrative on Donald Cerrone is that there is no narrative.

Honestly, it’s getting to the point where there just isn’t a lot left to say about the guy.

Cerrone did his “Cowboy” thing again on Sunday at UFC Fight Night 59, showing up on impossibly short notice to eke out a close but unanimous-decision win over his friend and frequent foe, Benson Henderson.

"Ben is one hell of a guy," the ever-honest, ever-plainspoken Cerrone told UFC color commentator Joe Rogan in the cage when it was over. "Fighting him on short notice, he's a stud man. My hat's off to him."