My MMA “Hot Takes”

By Brad Walker MMATorch Columnist

I am here, I have returned, I am back and I am going to absolutely enrage a ton of you wonderful MMATorch readers with this column, and I’m pretty ok with that. We all inherently love this sport, we look forward to wild and crazy fights that are both unpredictable and fights that we know (or believe) that our favorite fighter is going to steamroll some Joe Schmoe and throttle them into the gulag. I apologize to absolutely nobody (but also everybody, and Uncle Dana) for what I’ve got to say here. This is Brad’s MMA Hot Takes … PART 1 (in absolutely no definitive or particular order because…random train of thought).

1. We all would’ve (and still would) welcome back Brooooooooock Lesnnaaaarrr.
Yeahhhhhhh, I said it. Brock was god-tier entertainment, he was obnoxious as all hell, he actually had an iota of talent, and everytime he pulled up for a fight – it felt like a damn freak show. I will absoluetly lead with – in his first UFC fight – he should’ve won, back of the head be damned – decisions were made. This man sold the UFC well over 4 million PPVs, he annihlated Frank Mir (twice in all fairness), Randy Couture, outlasted Shane Carwin whom at that time was an unstoppable goliath, and at the time set a record for UFC Heavyweight title defeneses. If we’re being fair –  there is still heavyweights on the landscape peak Brock would wreck, up to and I believe including current champ Jon Jones (more on him later), Ciryl Gane, and dont tell me any of you fully believe he wouldnt stand a chance against Cormier or Miocic. Right place righ time, hes would still be top 5 in his prime, and maybe he coulda just skipped the whole NFL thing.

2. Ped using fighters likely have more success in title fights than non users.
Again, I said it, I dont condone it, I dont like it, its disgusting, but TRTor Belfort will come haunt your dreams if you tell him its bad. Jon Jones (again, more later), Anderson Silva, TJ Dillashaw, Brock Lesnar, Tim Sylvia, Josh Barnett, Fabricio Werdum, Ken Sharmock, Royce Gracie, Alistair Overeem … alright look I can do this forever, literally. The UFC was complicit in a TON of this hot flaming garbage – and that is undeniable. They let guys fight after out of competition tests that popped positive and the “LoL We DiDnT kNow” excuse is absolutely false, they know as soon as USADA knows, if I play stupid at my day job, I get fired – Daddy Dana apparently not so much. PEDs cost Michael Bisping his freaking eye – lemme repeat that for those who didnt know this – HE LOST A FRIGGING EYEBALL TO TRTOR (who will also haunt you in your sleep). This is the kinda failure in command that no other sports league or company whatever you want to classify them as, would lose not only their reputation but an absolute damn fortune in a court. Things STILL haven’t fully cleaned up, and that is sad its been too long for this to still be a theme in fights.

3. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson Couldve Beat Jon Jones.
This is not an opinion, it is however a fact. Once Rumble lost to Vitor Belfort at UFC 142 during his “why am I cutting weight to this class” days, he only lost to one more fighter in the remainder of his career – that man was former UFC lightheavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. In that time he took out; Anrei Arlovski (at heavyweight), Mike Kyle, Phil Davis, Little Nog, Alexander Gustaffson, Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira. The closest we can come to a comparison is this – he absolutely wrecked Gustaffson in 2:15, where as it took Jones an average of 21 minutes to defeat the same top contender (and duely note Jones second defeat of Gustaffson was 3 years after Rumble crushed his soul). We can also absolutely not forget that Rumble nearly knocked out Daniel Cormier in the first 2 rounds of their initial meeting more than once. Rumble was bigger, stronger and badder than Jones ever was (pick a weightclass, LHW, HW, it doesnt matter). If these two had come face to face in the octagon (as they should have in 2015, before Jonny Bones became Jonny hit and run) Rumble wouldve been the UFC light heavyweight champion.

4. Pride had better fights…..AND rules.
Call me a liar, I dare you, all I’m going to do is drop you the Pride FC video library and tell you to give me notes on where the UFC coudlve topped that product, EVEN if it was current. Soccer kicks? Hell yeah. Knees to grounded opponents? Lets do it. Stomping? LETS GOOOOO. The Pride product was both hilariously unhinged and incredibly unpredictable. What the hell are they doing – why is this legal – but WHY CANT I TURN IT OFF? Well, let me tell you (to borrow the words of WWE Hall of Famer Paul Heyman) because it is the freak show, mildly insane, or some times totally insane things we saw on the screen that drew us all in like moths to a lamp. It was amazing, on first exposure most of us didnt even know what in the world was going on. Thank god for great commentary (shout out my boy Bas Rutten) as they never stopped explaining the rules while never contrast and comparing unless there was a UFC star in the ring like Chuck Lidell. The all time match ups absolutely crushed the UFCs offering at the time. Oh, yall have Randy Couture and Tim “Nobody cares” Sylvia – how about Mirko Cro Cop vs Fedor or Wanderlei Silva? Cooooooooked! There woudlve been no chance that UFC defeated Pride if Pride didnt let themsleves slip into the shady underground with the (ahem, allegedly) Yakuza and the sorts.

5. Speaking of Pride, Fedor is the Heavyweight GOAT.
Oooohhhh I said it fam. Fedor had an amazing, astounding, undisputed, incredible and untouchable win streak of 28 fights from roughly 2001 to 2010. Please, allow me to look down my list for another heavyweight who did that while not only holding one title (Rings) but two (Pride). The man crushed every fighter you loved at one time or another, and gave absolutely no damns while he looked soulessly into the camera during dead pan interviews and made you wonder where you failed in life to be in this position. GOD FORBID he had ever gotten the Randy Couture fight, he wouldve absolutely crushed him with little or no effort, thats how far ahead the guys across the pond were vs the UFC at the time. Yes absolutely later in life he came to the US well (and damn I mean WELLLLLL) past his prime and got his booty whooped by more than a few younger stronger fighters, in his prime – do you really think any of those guys aside from MAYBE Dan Henderson would ever touch him? Hellllllll to the no. This is a man who defeated *unleashes scroll of destiny* Ricardo Arona, Babalu Sobral, God Tier Kickboxer Semmy Schilt, Big Nog, Gary Goodridge, Kevin Randelman, Big Nog (again), Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Coleman, Mark Hunt, Matt Lindland, Andrei Arlovski, Pedro Rizzo, Frank Mir, Chael Sonnen annnndd Rampage Jackson. The man is the HVW goat until someone can stand up and do what he did – title or not. Show me that streak again, especially with the rules he had to deal with up to and INCLUDING fighting freak show fights like Zuluzinho and Hong Man Choi. It was absolutely insane.

6. BJ Penn Wasn’t That Good
He wasnt’t by any standard as good as people want you to believe he is, he was simply the first hybrid striking BJJ guy to really come into the weightclass. He still had a glass ceiling, his only giant accomplisment was beating Matt Hughes – no disrespect to Jens Pulver but its not quite the same. Penn constantly ran into guys he had no way to defeat, say hey to Lyoto Machida, but the dude still took the fight. He then returned to the UFC and got beaten by GSP, I dont believe for a second anyone who looks back and rewatches that fight thinks Penn earned a split decision. One crappy scorecard doesn’t make you a threat to one of the GOATS. (more on GSP and GOAT arguments later). His best shot at breaking through the ceiling he had was if he had defeated GSP in the rematch at UFC 94, wher the corner stopped the fight because he was getting throttled. He then went on to lose 9 of his final 13 fights, not counting that dude who iced him in a barlot brawl, which would make it 10 of his final 14, oh and that draw against Jon Fitch.

7. GSP had NO right not to find a time and place to defend the middleweight title
Im legitimately taking no prisoners here, even a GOAT such as GSP is, this man shouldve healed up and let a title unification bout happen – with an interim title in the … interim. Anyway, Bisping grabbed a giant brass ring and blasted Luke Rockhold over the dome with it. Then, he won a great decision against Dan Henderson, whom I thought was going to barrel roll him, and then out came G-S-F’n-P, and said “nah fam, this aint yours”. Given, not many people anywhere in the realm of MMA who could make 170 or 185 would have a fractional shot in hell of defeating GSP at either weight class. (Cough Hendricks won) However, he then quickly retired – obviously his health is more imporant, but if he knew that going into the fight, why didn’t he change the situation? Non title perhaps? Dont bury an entire division because you want one more notch big guy, thats booty-licious. It just comes off as selfish, and pretty brash – I get it hes top tier it probably sold a ton of PPVs but, it took until Adesanya wrecked house for the division to feel important again.

8. The UFC never had a legitimate challenger
Nope, not one. Pride was the closest, Bellator never stood a chance and companies like Affliction, Strikeforce, et all just no absolutely not. M-1? Nope. This doesn’t even need to be long, PFL is probably the best opportunity anyone has had to upend the UFC, but lets be really real – that is never going to happen. UFC is presently valued at right around 12 billion dollars – which is more than every combined fighter in the UFC will probably ever make, combined. The UFC is going absolutely nowhere, they will remain and always be as long as MMA exists, is beloved and watched the best, the premiere and the penultimate organization in the realm. Besides, who doesnt want to be on Uncle Dana’s buddy-buddy list and squeeze your way into the hierarchy of such an expansize company? (CALL ME DANA – I regret nothing)

9. Anderson Silva had it coming.
Ope, now you’re mad mad, and I might kinda apologize on some days for this one, but as a whole right now at this exact particular moment – I won’t. His tactics were often funny as hell, and at the very least entertaining how he could clown people and still annihlate them with little to no effort. (Forrest Griffin anyone?) But there was also fights where he got so clowny with it that it was almost impossible to watch, I’m looking directly at the Demain Maia fight at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi. That was borderline disasterous, even looking at the one sided score cards, the fight was absolutely god awful, it was miserable to watch. Maia got burried under 30 pounds of well ground dog crap, and Silva danced around with his shovel doing the least. Then came Chris Weidman, the all american, 10-0 at the time, and Silva – well he got the clown shoes on. He pretended to be rocked, and he got absolutely smoked for his antics – rightfully so. IIII SAIIIIIDDDD ITTTTT. He shouldve approached Weidman as the threat he was at the time and not been playing around, his career wouldnt have seen the nose dive that came after. Post Weidman 1, Silva fought 8 times, lost 7 (you bet your bottom dollar Im counting the steroid pop as a loss), was knocked out 3 times (Weidman and the leg, Cannonier and his leg kicks, and then Uriah Hall.) His career went down, at full speed, his aura faded immediately, and the man just lost his confidence. Imagine what could’ve been had he taken it seriously?

SCREAM AT MEEEEEEEEE. I’m not wrong. Captain out of competition criminal! The mans been stripped, fined, suspended and tested positive more times than anyone I can even begin to name thats not a Diaz, and weed is not equal to steroids. Jones has cheated his way through his entire career while being an absolute all around scumbag outside of the sport as well. Lets not even discuss the questionable leg kicks he uses to injure people both in the cage and in sparring (yes you can argue in the cage its fair, but in sparring? Get outta here). The man is an all around capital L  as a human being. No one has been so protected either, you’d think Dana was playing captain save – a – champ with how many opportunities this dude has gotten. He started out with a glowing image, and then he brought out a missile launcher and sabotaged himself in ways no other fighter has even begun to try. I’m not saying he cant fix his image in time, but hes got to WANT to fix his image, right now he looks like the biggest jerk in the history of the sport who keeps getting handed big money, title fights and doing the least to deserve them in any way possible. I WILL DIE ON THIS HILL!

However – Feel Free to @me, on X/Twitter you can find me at @MMATorchBrad – lets argue, or agree! You choose!

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