McGrath gives thanks for best of MMA, plus names an MMA turkey

By David McGrath, MMATORCH contributor

Oct 5, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis is pictured during weigh-ins for UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

What we all should be thankful for this year in MMA

It’s Thanksgiving time. It’s the time when we all reflect and think of what we’re thankful for in our daily lives. Maybe we’re thankful for the day off? Or finally, you’re able to splurge on that new car? In the MMA world, there was plenty in 2018 to be thankful for. Let’s reflect a little on the year so far and also, what’s to come still, in 2018.

Conor McGregor’s return

I’m as critical as anybody on McGregor. His cardio issues, his lack of heart on the ground and his seemingly stagnant skills. One thing that’s for certain is he is the single most important MMA fighter of all time. And in 2018 he returned to the octagon and gave us the single most anticipated and biggest money fight of all time. We’re certain Dana White is grateful for that! UFC 229 was a blockbuster success on pay-per-view, and we have McGregor to thank for that. Here’s to hoping in 2019 we get a little more McGregor.

Jon Jones’ return

I know the bullshit with Jones is tiring. He’s always doing something stupid, running down pregnant ladies and taking dick pills aside, Jones is the single greatest fighter I have ever personally witnessed. Jones’ in-ring work is so inventive and so creative. Here’s to hoping Jones does not rob us as fans of his brilliance anymore and gets his act together. If not, will be one of the most wasted talents of all time in any sport. Seriously, this guy is approaching Brien Taylor territory. For now, I’m thankful Jones has a fight lined up against another brilliant opponent that should burn the house down come Dec. 29.

Derrick Lewis

Mr. Hot Balls himself was the gift that kept on giving in 2018. Lewis turned in two impressive performances against Francis N’Gannou and Alexander Volkov. The Volkov fight was especially impressive. Lewis walked off with a knockout win in a fight he was losing handily on the judge’s scorecards. Never mind the quick loss to Daniel Cormier at UFC 230, Lewis did his part by saving that card by stepping in and fighting on three weeks notice. It was a big 2018 for Lewis and we should all be thankful.


Biggest Turkey: Ben Askren

Last I checked Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz, Colby Covington, and Mike Perry have all won fights in the UFC. What else do they have in common? Ben Askren has called out and or eviscerated all of them on Twitter at one point. Dude, win a single UFC fight before you start calling out big names. Your wrestling is incredible. However, your stand up makes Demien Maia look like Sugar Ray Robinson. Also, there’s a narrative floated out there, mostly by Askren, that “he’s never been touched” I beg you watch some tape, this man has been touched plenty. His first UFC matchup is against Robbie Lawler, Lawler is a killer, and his stand up is on point. I could see Askren getting put to sleep in his first UFC matchup, easily. Hell, I might even predict that.

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