...OH, ONE MORE THING - PLEASE BOOKMARK US & VISIT DAILY!
By Rich Hansen, MMA Torch Columnist
I'm back for the UFC 178 fights to make column because Dan Moore, who took over this column for me a couple months ago bought tickets for UFC 178 and came over from the UK. Well, actually what happened was that Dan decided that he didn't want to go to Las Vegas in September to witness the best UFC pay-per-view offering in years, because damn Vegas is cold in September. Of course it was in the 80s all weekend and the pools were open, but whatever, Dan. Who needs pools, hot weather, and a night full of great fights with a lot of title implications. Donald Cerrone, Conor McGregor, Cat Zingano, and Dominick Cruz all could be looking at title shots coming out of UFC 178.
MAIN CARD WINNERS
Demetrious Johnson: Look. If you thought this was going to be Buster Douglas vs. Mike Tyson, keep dreaming. This fight was over thirty seconds after it was announced. Johnson has cleaned out the division, and beaten the number two guy in his division twice. Johnson isn't going to move to 135 lbs., bantamweights aren't dropping to 125 lbs. because they know they can't beat Johnson, so Johnson's going to break the record for most title defenses in UFC history. Does it really matter who's going to be next? Nope.
Next Fight vs. the winner of Ian McCall vs. John Lineker
Note: If Lineker misses weight and wins, Jussier Formiga's getting the shot.
Note: If If Lineker misses weight and wins, and Jussier Formiga loses to John Moraga, the UFC will pay Demetrious Johnson a million bucks to move up to 135 lbs so that they can fold the flyweight division and call it a sunk cost.
Donald Cerrone: Cowboy could very well get a title shot, but he wants to fight tomorrow, and the next Lightweight Title fight is still ten weeks away. Don't be surprised if Cerrone winds up getting himself booked on the same UFC 181 card that already hosts Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez. And if either Pettis or Melendez get hurt, Cerrone can step into the co-main event for a(n) (Interim) title shot. Who will Cerrone be fighting next? Well, the fact that he wants to fight before the year's end narrows the pool of candidates. But even if every lightweight in the company were available, one name makes perfect sense.
Next fight vs. Myles Jury
If Jury isn't ready for a top five guy like Cerrone, or if they just want to give Cerrone an entertaining, keep-busy fight, don't be surprised if they put him against Joe Lauzon or Michael Johnson
Conor McGregor: In a just world, the winner of the upcoming fight between Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson will be getting the next shot at the Featherweight Championship. But in UFC Land (credit Karyn Bryant) where the UFC has managed to sabotage the drawing power of Jon Jones, where the UFC has chased off Georges St-Pierre, where the UFC has put Anthony Pettis on the shelf for so long that the public is turning on him, where the UFC put on a disgraceful public shaming of Renan Barao, where the UFC spent years shoving Chael Sonnen down your throat while he was shoving every needle he could find into his ass, Conor McGregor is the only conceivable candidate to receive the next title shot, because he might be the first in-house star they've created since GSP debuted more than a decade ago.
Next fight vs. the winner of Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes
If the UFC gives the title shot to Edgar or Swanson, don't be surprised if McGregor gets Ricardo Lamas or Dennis Bermudez. It's remotely possible that McGregor could get the winner of Edgar vs. Swanson if something screwy happens between Aldo and Mendes
Yoel Romero: That was some dirty, funny, bizarre shit, wasn't it? Mistakes were made by all parties; McCarthy lost control, Ricardo Liborio and Romero's corner pulled out every dirty trick in the bag, and most overlooked, Tim Kennedy fought sloppy to begin the third and got caught because his head was jammed so far up his ass he could see the inside of his stomach. Controversy aside, Romero's proven himself to be a very dangerous third round fighter. His last four fights have seen three third round finishes of Tim Kennedy, Derek Brunson, and Ronny Markes, along with a decision victory over Brad Tavares in which Romero dominated round three. Assuming the UFC doesn't grant Kennedy a rematch (and Kennedy might not be ready to fight for quite a while), Romero needs a top-five guy. He's 37, and deserves a chance to make a run.
Next fight vs. Jacare Souza
If the UFC disagrees with the notion of Romero getting Jacare, I wouldn't mind in the least a fight with Thales Leites.
Cat Zingano: Between you and me and nobody else, we both know Cat Zingano's got zero chance against Ronda Rousey. The way she takes people down is from an upright posture in the clinch, and that's not going to fly against Rousey. Well, something will fly, but it'll be Zingano flying through the air with the greatest of ease. Factor in the fact that Zingano lost the first two rounds against Miesha Tate, and the first round against Amanda Nunes, and it's safe to say she's a slow starter. And the last I checked, Rousey is kind of effective in round number one. So even though it's sage to say that the sun is about to set on Cat Zingano: Number One Contender, let's appreciate what she's gone through and what she did to get here. In a rare display of tact and discretion, the UFC chose not to mention the passing of her husband while she was rehabbing from her ACL surgery. Between those two traumas and a first round against Nunes that would have been stopped if she were a bleeder like Fedor Emelianenko or Nick Diaz pre-facelift, Zingano had been put through more than any person should be asked to bear. But she came back, won round two, finished the fight in round three, and won hearts and souls world wide with the most honest in-cage celebration I've seen in maybe forever. Best moment of the year.
Next fight vs. Ronda Rousey
Dominick Cruz: OK, so maybe Dominick Cruz forgetting everything about his 61 second destruction of Takeya Mizugaki was the best moment of the year. Certainly he and Zingano are 1 and 1a. And in back to back fights, to boot; what a great series of events. Cruz landed one of the rare double leg takedowns that make the non-wrestling geeks out there jump out of their seats. I couldn't break it down for you, but BE has a great analysis of it here: http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2014/9/29/6862621/ufc-178-judo-chop-dominick-cruzs-double-leg-from-the-heavens-dominick-mizugaki). Once Cruz got on top he didn't screw around. He wasn't patiently waiting for the perfect moment, he just unleashed three years on Takeya Mizugaki, and that was the end of the fight. Can he hang with T.J. Dillashaw? Maybe. Maybe not. But I can't wait to find out.
Next fight vs. T.J. Dillashaw
Jorge Masvidal: Masvidal's an entertaining striker who gets hit a lot, and he's a fringe top-15 guy. That's like the perfect definition of gatekeeper right there. He's going to make a good living for the next five years testing up and comers who think they're the next big thing in his division.
Next fight vs. Al Iaquinta
See? Ross Pearson could be next, as could the aforementioned Myles Jury.
MAIN CARD LOSERS
Chris Cariaso: I hope Cariaso enjoyed the attention he got over the last two months, because the next five or six fights of his career or going to be on Fight Pass. Unfair, but likely true.
Next fight vs. Josh Sampo
Live from Macau!
Eddie Alvarez: Hindsight is a hell of a weapon, ain't it? Kickboxing > boxing, yet I went all-in on the boxer because of the story. The idea of Alvarez overcoming all of the shit Bjorn Rebney threw in his face warmed my heart. But it wasn't to be because he couldn't handle the leg kicks and Muay Thai, not to mention the talent level of the sixth or seventh best lightweight in the UFC. Think about it. Pettis beat Cerrone. Dos Anjos beat him. Henderson beat him twice. Melendez would be favored over him, as would Nurmagomedov. Diaz might be an underdog to him, but Diaz destroyed him just a couple years ago, so yeah, Eddie Alvarez lost soundly to the sixth or seventh best lightweight in the UFC. Was it rust? Inactivity? Was he overrated, or never elite? Well, those questions are out there now, and his next fight should answer all of those questions.
Next fight vs. Benson Henderson
You put Alvarez in against Henderson in a cage and make 'em fight, you're going to learn everything you need to learn about Eddie Alvarez. That's a Fox main event, people. Other possibilities include Josh Thomson, or the loser of Melendez vs. Pettis (which would be Melendez, of course).
Dustin Poirier: Whoops. That ceiling Poirier keeps bumping his head on isn't made out of glass. It's a real and legitimate ceiling. Put him in the cage with a top five guy, he's doomed. Anything less, and Poirier's going to whoop that ass. Poirier should be given someone he can dominate next time out. But the next time he looks like he's almost in the mix, a better fighter will take advantage of his defensive liabilities and pound him back in to the pack yet again.
Next fight vs. Clay Guida
Don't be surprised if Jeremy Stephens or Robbie Peralta get the next call to fight Poirier.
Tim Kennedy vs. Gegard Mousasi makes all the sense in the world. Then again, the Bears firing Mel Tucker in January made that much sense too, but I'm still waiting for that to happen.
Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm would be the perfect welcome to the UFC fight for Holm.
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Eddie Wineland makes a lot of sense. Winner gets to be the #1 gatekeeper in the company, and the loser gets to fight Marlon Moraes next year.
James Krause vs. Michael Chiesa would be the prefect rebound fight for both guys.
DON'T GO YET... WE SUGGEST THESE MMATORCH ARTICLES, TOO!
Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
STAFF COLUMNISTS: Shawn Ennis - Jason Amadi
Frank Hyden - Rich Hansen
Chris Park - Matt Pelkey
Interested in joining MMATorch's writing team? Send idea for a theme to your column (for Specialist section) or area of interest (i.e. TV Reporter) along with a sample of writing to email@example.com.