Hello, everyone, welcome to the first edition of the Monday Morning MMA Round-Up, where we look back at the week that was and look ahead to the week that is in the world of MMA. I will be providing thoughts on everything that has happened in the world of mixed martial arts over the past week as we look back at events, fights, and news, and then get you prepared for what’s coming up this week. Let’s dive right in.
Looking Back At UFC 249 And More
- UFC 249 was an excellent event on Saturday, especially given all of the circumstances surrounding it. If you missed it, I suggest you going back to watch it as soon as possible.
- Empty arena MMA comes off so much better than empty arena pro wrestling.
- The lack of crowd didn’t bother me one bit. Then again, I’ve been in the building for countless events, especially in Las Vegas, that didn’t have much of a crowd for the early fights, and it felt like that.
- Justin Gaethje has improved so much. The brawler mentality is still there, but he also shows so much more patience when he can’t finish you quickly. He poses such an interesting match-up for Khabib Nurmagomedov.
- You can’t help but feel bad for Tony Ferguson. He took a dangerous gamble in accepting the fight against Gaethje, giving up the Nurmagomedov fight in the process, and it didn’t work out. I hope he takes the time off to heal, and then comes back and fights more than once a year.
- Ferguson against Nurmagomedov can still be a big fight. If Ferguson comes back, and gets two wins against top opponents like Dustin Poirier, Dan Hooker or Paul Felder, and Nurmagomedov is still the champion a year from now, they can still go back to that fight and fans will still be interested.
- Henry Cejudo proved that he is the best 135-pound fighter in the world on Saturday. His performance against Dominick Cruz was flawless.
- I don’t buy Cejudo’s retirement for one second. It felt really like a contract negotiation retirement and he has been vocal about money recently, saying he felt he deserved to be paid like he’s one of the best in the sport. He does deserve that. I hope he keeps fighting.
- Cruz came off really badly with his post-fight comments of referee Keith Peterson. The stoppage was justified, and attacking Peterson in the way he did was uncalled for.
- I do hope Cruz comes back and keeps fighting, and is more active, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t fight again.
- Post-Derrick Lewis fight Francis Ngannou is the best heavyweight in the world, and he’s back to being the absolute most dangerous man in the sport.
— Fight Game Media (@fightgamemedia) May 10, 2020
- I wouldn’t want to fight Ngannou if I was Stipe Miocic or Daniel Cormier.
- If Anthony Johnson comes back as a heavyweight, imagine a fight between him and Ngannou.
- Calvin Kattar is a real threat at 145 pounds and should not be looked at as a dark-horse contender any longer.
- The fight between Greg Hardy and Yorgan De Castro was bad, and Hardy has no business being on pay-per-view main cards.
- I really don’t know what you do with Donald Cerrone any more. It’s the first time he’s lost four straight fights, and while he didn’t look bad against Anthony Pettis, the wars have definitely caught up with him.
- I hope Pettis goes back to 155 pounds. I know it was hard to train under these circumstances, but he didn’t look in the best of shape.
- Speaking of not looking in the best shape, hello Fabricio Werdum.
- Vicente Luque is fun to watch and is a tough fight for anyone at 170 pounds, but I’m afraid we’ve already seen his ceiling in the division in the Stephen Thompson fight. He will always provide an entertaining fight.
- Speaking of someone who will always provide an entertaining fight, I hope Niko Price’s new UFC contract is a lifetime contract. He brings all sorts of fun, energy and entertainment.
- Carla Esparza has quietly gotten better at 115 pounds, but I don’t find her near the elite of the division.
- Bryce Mitchell is so fun to watch and his grappling display against Charles Rosa was something else. Please, he better get his camo shorts.
- Sam Alvey playing to the empty crowd was fun to see. And, even though he lost to Ryan Spann, for once, he wasn’t in a boring fight.
- Georges St. Pierre is the most obvious choice for the UFC Hall Of Fame ever. There may have never been a better fighter inside the Octagon, and there was definitely never a better representative for the sport outside of the Octagon. He is an all-around class act and is a first-ballot Hall Of Famer. When you’re looking for a true definition of GOAT in MMA, there isn’t a better option.
- A lot of criticism shown towards the fights listed for UFC 250 on the broadcast. That was just the five fights they have finalized, not the main card. There are other fights being talked about and targeted, including Cody Garbrandt vs. Raphael Assuncao and Aljamain Sterling vs. Cory Sandhagen, though the latter could change depending on the situation with Cejudo. While it was also planned to take place on June 6, it could possibly be pushed back one week.
- Stipe Miocic has every right to take off until the pandemic is over. I do feel Dana White resents the decision and they haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on things. I also feel White resents it because he’s the only UFC champion not willing to fight right now.
- Bellator won’t be back until July at the earliest. They are planning a huge card for their return should everything line up right. There’s a good possibility it could end up on CBS.
- The Jacare Souza situation was handled the best it could’ve been, and there were mistakes made on both ends, and I hope everyone involved learned from those mistakes so they don’t happen again, especially considering everything going on in the world.
- I was glad to hear the UFC asked fighters on the cards this week, before they traveled to the event, about whether anyone they’ve been in contact with possibly had COVID-19. It should have been already asked, but again, glad to know they are reacting to the mistakes they’ve made.
- If you are a fighter who has been in contact with anyone who may have had it, please disclose it immediately. Don’t hide it. I know the fighter mentality is to hide injuries and illnesses because you don’t want to be pulled from your fight, but this is a disease that can easily spread and have deadly results. It is a lot different than hiding that you tore a knee ligament in training. It affects more than just you.
- The plan for the UFC is to return to Las Vegas on May 23. It looks to be on track for that happening, but is not a lock at this moment. If they are unable to run the UFC Apex on May 23, it is possible they remain in Florida, with moving to Texas being another possibility.
- Yes, Fight Island is going to happen. They still can’t get their international fighters into the US. Those guys want, and need, to fight.
- I am glad to have fighting back. I’ve missed it. Hopefully they can continue to do it safely.
Coming Up This Week
We have two UFC events coming up this week, both of them taking place in Jacksonville, Florida, in the empty arena.
- On Wednesday, UFC On ESPN+ 29 takes place, headlined by Anthony Smith taking on Glover Teixeira. The entire card will air on ESPN+. Other fights on the card include Ben Rothwell against Ovince Saint Preux and Alexander Hernandez against Drew Dober.
- On Saturday, UFC On ESPN 8 goes down, with Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris in the main event. That entire card will air on ESPN. Also on the card is Claudia Gadelha vs. Angela Hill, Dan Ige vs. Edson Barboza, and Matt Brown vs. Miguel Baeza.
This Week In MMA History
In this section, we will look back at a famous fight or event that took place during this week in the history of the sport.
On May 15, 2012, Chan Sung Jung defeated Dustin Poirier in one of the best fights in UFC history.
It won Fight Of The Year in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards.
It also won Fight Of The Year at ESPN MMA, MMAFighting.com, Bleacher Report and Sherdog.
You can watch the fight on UFC Fight Pass here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/29699
Enjoy the fights this week everyone!