HYDEN’S BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC Fight Night 138 and the Johnson-Askren trade

By Frank Hyden, MMATorch contributor

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UFC Fight Night 138 was this past weekend, let’s get right to the rundown. Also, I’ll be giving my take on the Demetrious Johnson for Ben Askren trade between the UFC and ONE Championship.

UFC Fight Night 138

BAD/GOOD- Court McGee vs. Alex Garcia
I didn’t want to seem too harsh so I added a GOOD at the end of this, but this really wasn’t a very good fight. I mean, McGee did his thing but it was his usual boring grindfest stuff. He got Garcia down and kept him there for a lot of the time. He did land a few good shots but, by and large, this was a skippable affair. McGee won the decision.

GOOD- Gian Villante vs. Ed Herman
These guys just stood in front of each other and traded punches the whole fight. It was a nice and fun little brawl. Villante won the split decision in a very close fight. This wasn’t the most technical of fights, but at least it was entertaining.

GOOD- Jonathan Martinez vs. Andre Soukhamthath
Soukhamthath took over and nearly had the fight stopped in the second round, but the ref jumped in because he thought Soukhamthath landed an illegal knee. It wasn’t, and Martinez came back to possibly win the second round. Big mistake there. However, Soukhamthath won the third round and got the decision to avoid any controversy. Nice win for Soukhamthath.

GOOD- Misha Cirkunov submits Patrick Cummins
Cirkunov slapped on an arm triangle about halfway through the first round and got the stoppage. Really good win for him as he rebounds from a few losses.

GOOD- Artem Lobov vs. Michael Johnson
Johnson won the decision and likely took rounds one and three. Lobov was game and kept pushing ahead but Johnson seemed a little bit better. It was close, but I agree with Johnson winning.

GOOD- Anthony Smith submits Volkan Oezdemir
Oezdemir was in clear control in the first two rounds, but he faded in the third and that’s when Smith took over. He started punishing Oezdemir with shots and got the fight to the ground, where he locked in a tight choke to force the stoppage. Really good win for Smith as he tries to make his name in the UFC light heavyweight division.

Mighty Mouse-Askren Trade

There was a trade of sorts in MMA this past week, as the UFC sent Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship for Ben Askren. All sides are said to be very happy with the trade. I can understand that from the perspective of Johnson, who was never treated fairly by the UFC. I can also understand it from the point of Askren, as he now gets to try to defeat some of the biggest names in MMA and boos his own profile. I also understand it from the viewpoint of ONE Championship, Askren had recently retired and they now replace him with a fighter who wants to keep fighting and has to be considered one of the greatest fighters of all-time.

Where I don’t understand is from the UFC’s point of view. Demetrious Johnson is one of the best ever and you botch that. You somehow manage to not make him into a star. He’s got the record for most consecutive UFC title defenses and you can’t do anything with him? He’s a flyweight, and smaller guys don’t sell, right? Okay, maybe that’s true, though Conor McGregor proves it’s possible. Ben Askren is a welterweight, not exactly a huge guy in his own right. Of course, to be real, it wouldn’t matter if he was a heavyweight because the UFC couldn’t do jack with Stipe Miocic and that guy is a firefighter in his off-time. He’s literally got a job most, if not all, would consider heroic, and you fail there too? I mean, come on.

Then, let’s look at the actual fighting styles of both men. Don’t get me wrong, I respect what Ben Askren can do, but he’s maybe 1/10th as exciting a fighter as Demetrious Johnson is. I know Johnson has had boring fights in the past, but seven of his last ten wins in the UFC were finishes. They weren’t all super exciting slugfests but how many fights are? You can’t expect every single fight to be a barroom brawl.

Perhaps I’m being too harsh on Askren. I mean, after all, his last three fights have been stoppages. And seven of his last nine wins have been stoppages. As a matter of fact, I feel like I’m being way too harsh on Askren. At the same time, though, about half of those wins came against guys who don’t even have Wikipedia pages. So I’m torn, and I don’t want to be dismissive towards Askren, I just don’t see how the UFC thinks Askren is going to be a bigger star than Johnson. And that’s the only reason they did this, that’s all the UFC cares about. They’re a business, I have no problem with that.


For what it’s worth, I hope I’m wrong. I hope Askren comes in and becomes a big star and we get several big fights. That would be awesome. I personally would really like to see Georges St-Pierre fight Askren, that would be a really good fight. There’s others, of course, but that’s the big name for me. We’ll have to wait to see what happens, but if nothing else, it should be interesting.

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