MCGRATH: 8 things I learned attending UFC Brooklyn

By David McGrath, MMATORCH contributor

Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw, David McGrath

Sights and a few things I learned from UFC Brooklyn

Admit it. You thought TJ Dillashaw was the superior talent. The superior martial artist, hell maybe you just straight up undervalued what Henry Cejudo is.

I guess I told you so. Now even I, an admitted Henry Cejudo lover did not think in a million years that Cejudo was going to finish Dillashaw like that.

Anyway, I was in the house last night on a miserable freezing cold night in Brooklyn for the debut of UFC on ESPN. The show, of course, was 30 minutes preempted for Duke basketball which subjected the live crowd to 30 minutes of Biggie Smalls and Jay Z tunes (not complaining) much into the 8:30 half hour. Nobody had a clue what was going on, I just assumed it.eas typical slagging behind UFC. Once the game ended things really picked up and the pacing as a whole was far superior to FS1. I have been to a ton of UFC live events and the ovation when Donald Cerrone finished Alex Hernandez was one of the biggest I have ever heard. Even rivaling Conor McGregor when I was in the building for UFC 189. Anyways, here are some takeaways from the live feel in the building.

This was not close to a sellout

Listen, this card was not a casual fan card. This was a hardcore MMA fan card. The casuals have no idea who Henry Cejudo or TJ Dillashaw is. If the proposed Stipe vs. Derrick Lewis happened it would have sold out. If Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafson got moved to this even they would have been hanging from the Brooklyn rafters next to # 5 Jason Kidd’s jersey. The whole upper level was wide open, and I counted all but 6 luxury boxes 100% empty.

Gregor Gillespie is dominant

That being said, he will never be a big star. I could her Dana White cringing at his wrestle heavy style. That being said the man is utterly dominant. Nancy Medieros is a war machine and he literally landed one yes ONE significant strike. Gillespie’s pressure is overwhelming and it was as dominant a performance as I’ve seen in a Long time. I even wondered out loud what a Gillespie – Nurmgomedov fight would look like. We will never know though because it will never happen.

No juice at all for Ostovich

I was expecting the biggest ovation of the night to be for Rachael mainly because of the backstory. There was nothing. Paige was far more over and Rachael got nothing for juice on her entrance. After she lost she did not get a chance to speak and basically walked away to absolutely zero fanfare. Van Zant was the far bigger star from start to finish, and there was little to no energy for the fight in the building. I was surprised.

Cowboy F@$ing Cerrone

By far the biggest star of the evening in New York City was a Cowboy billed from Albuquerque, NM. Cerrone is a treasure and a legend of the game, and at age 35 he is turning in his best work ever. I expected Alex Hernandez to win and for Cerrone’s horse to be stopped right there in Barclays. I will never make that mistake again. The most exciting sequence of the night was Cerrone finishing the young future star off with beautiful counter combinations. The ovation was a loud as I have ever heard in a UFC arena. The UFC NEEDS to strike why the iron is white hot, and book Cerrone and McGregor ASAP. Check your Twitter timeline to see if both fighters have mutual interest. Side note: I still believe Hernandez is going to be a contender.

Meh on Joseph Benavidez and the flyweights

It was as dead as a doornail when the flyweight bout between Benavidez and Ortiz got going. It was a momentum killer and mostly served putting people to sleep or the beer lines. Obviously, I enjoyed Benavidez’s win. And also, the flyweights are going away. The reason? Last night said it all. Nobody cared. Outside of Cejudo, there is not a single compelling flyweight and that’s the proof as far as I can see it.

Nobody likes Greg Hardy

Greg Hardy is like every James Bond villain, Dr. Evil, and the IRS mixed into one. And he has zero cool factors. By far, Hardy was loathed detested and nobody paid a penny to see him. He has booed without Mercy the whole fight. Can he fight? I have no clue. Clearly, he is athletic and a massive man. He fought an unskilled Allen Crowder and I really learned nothing. The best part was when Crowder decided to talk some trash to hardy mid-fight. The fight ended on an illegal knee strike from hardy, just adding to his most hated guy in the room status. The UFC should cut Hardy, he is terrible for business and I can assure you: he will never draw.

Henry Cejudo has passed Demetrious Johnson as the greatest flyweight ever

Cejudo blew me away last night, and I expected him to win. Cejudo criminally is slept on and he finished Dillashaw in style shocking the Barclays crowd. In person, Henry looked huge and cut up. Dillashaw looked small, drained and anything but crisp. Just so you know, it was not a bad stoppage. All it did was save Dillashaw from getting literally getting knocked out. The sequence of a head kick, small scramble, and right hand to the head made Dillashaw limp. He was out on his feet and way to tough for his own good. Then spin can be spun however Dillashaw wants and I get it, it was a shocking defeat. I have no interest in seeing this fight again at 125. The proper thing to do is this fight at 135 for Dillashaw’s title.

TJ is devoid and sickly looking at 125 and honestly, Henry is a class above

That being said, I believe Cejudo had already eclipsed Demetrious Johnson as the greatest flyweight ever. Cejudo with a win over Johnson and a defense against Dillashaw already has a more impressive resume than Mighty Mouse. Johnson cleaned out a terrible division and lost to Dominick Cruz at 135. Let’s not overreact here and pretend Johnson fought a murderous row of challengers. Cejudo had already done way more form the weight class than Johnson ever did, winning over Dillashaw and championing the flyweight cause. Cejudo’s combat sports resume is head and shoulders and shoulders than Johnson’s at this point. Cejudo cemented his legacy last night. What’s he do to pour gasoline on the flames? Beat Dillashaw at 135. We Shall see.

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