Identical to that, life feels slightly extra regular, proper?

Three UFC occasions in eight days will definitely try this.

After two months of uncertainty, we’re again to arguing about late/early stoppages, title photographs and all of the wacky, enjoyable stuff that makes being an MMA fan a lot enjoyable.

It additionally means I’ve numerous ideas. So with out additional ado …

1. I’ve determined that I’m all-in on Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou. This took numerous soul-searching, however I’m right here to proclaim that I am bought. I need it to occur. It must occur.

I made this determination Monday evening. For per week earlier than that, I did not like the concept. I did not prefer it as a result of I believed Jones vs. Dominick Reyes 2 was the battle to make. I believed Jones had enterprise to take care of at mild heavyweight, and it would not be honest to Reyes or Jan Blachowicz, the opposite prime contender at 205 kilos, for the champ to abruptly transfer as much as heavyweight. A yr in the past, positive. However not now. Jones’ most up-to-date two performances gave me critical doubts about whether or not he may grasp with the elite at heavyweight.

Then I remembered that I used to be the primary individual within the media — or one of many first — to recommend that Jones transfer as much as heavyweight to battle Ngannou. Let me be clear: The concept of Jones shifting up has been mentioned for years, however final yr, after his win over Thiago Santos, I mentioned Jones ought to transfer as much as battle Ngannou — not battle for the belt however take a look at the waters towards one of many division’s greatest and see the way it goes.

In case you recall, Jones teased us final yr by speaking a few Stipe Miocic battle at heavyweight, just for us to seek out out he had agreed to battle Santos already. That wasn’t good. So he has been doing this for some time now, and there was part of me that thought he was simply trolling us once more. However this appears extra actual. (At the least, I hope it’s.) It looks as if Jones is down for the problem, and this looks as if one thing that needs to be explored. I am all-in.

2. Why? It is freaking Jones vs. Ngannou. Arguably the best ever, definitely the best mild heavyweight champion ever, versus the blazing-hot, hard-hitting Ngannou, who has seemed just like the second coming of Mike Tyson currently. What’s to not love? This may be one of many best fights to promote for the UFC due to how Ngannou seems and fights and due to the truth that Jones has by no means actually been defeated and has by no means fought at heavyweight. The concept of Jones lastly shifting up is intriguing sufficient. If he have been combating some scrub heavyweight, individuals could be intrigued. However Ngannou? How may you not love that?

3. Look, Ngannou has nothing higher happening. He is the odd man out within the Miocic-Daniel Cormier saga. So we all know he’s good to go. Jones, for his half, has appeared slightly bored at 205 currently, although the competitors has change into stiffer for him. A motivated Jones is a harmful Jones, and this appears to have him motivated. And so, for all these causes, I am in. I really feel dangerous for Reyes, however we have been speaking about Jones shifting as much as heavyweight for therefore lengthy — and I have been speaking about this explicit matchup for therefore lengthy — that we have to strike now.

Now, if Jones is messing with us once more, so assist me God …

4. Value noting, I am advised the UFC hasn’t engaged in critical talks about this battle with both occasion. Shocking? Not likely, and this is why.

(a) The promotion simply completed a extremely busy two-week stretch. Nothing else mattered to the oldsters on the UFC aside from pulling off these three occasions in Jacksonville, Florida, within the most secure, healthiest and best method as a result of they knew that so many eyes have been on them. Upcoming fights, particularly ones that will most likely require slightly bit — or rather a lot — of negotiations, have been placed on the again burner. I believe we’ll begin to see an entire lot extra summer season fights made now.

(b) There’s additionally an excellent, old school recreation of hen happening. You see, when Jones tweets about his curiosity on this battle, he is not doing it to get the followers’ consideration and even Ngannou’s. He is doing it to get the UFC’s consideration. And his intentions appear very clear: He’s prepared to do that battle, however he needs to receives a commission. Simply have a look at his tweets. He is not hiding from this reality. The UFC sees this, and the matchmakers know that if they arrive to him first, he’ll really feel like he has all of the leverage. That is why they have not mentioned a lot about it, and that is why Dana White, when requested concerning the battle throughout Saturday’s postfight information convention, did not appear all that into the concept. Clearly, the UFC would like to make this battle occur. It likes earning money. The battle could be huge. However the UFC does not need to appear, as the youngsters say, thirsty. And neither does Jones. If he makes the primary transfer, he comes throughout as determined, so he’ll simply proceed with the tweets. It is going to be attention-grabbing to see who breaks first.

5. All I do know is Jones and Ngannou have gone too deep now. Neither has a battle booked. The followers love every part a few matchup between the 2. If the UFC finally ends up reserving Jones towards one other mild heavyweight subsequent, it should really feel like an enormous disappointment. There is not any turning again.

6. It is also price noting that if worldwide journey restrictions persist, the cabinet is about to change into actually naked for the UFC. I imply, have you ever seen the UFC 250 lineup? A marquee battle equivalent to Jones-Ngannou could be a present from the MMA gods, contemplating how intriguing it’s and the truth that each males stay in america.

7. What do you do with Reyes, you ask? E-book him towards Blachowicz in a No. 1 contender battle. Appears simple sufficient, no?

8. I would not hate the concept, by the best way, of the UFC instituting a brand new rule by which if a champion strikes up or down in weight — to battle one other champion or anybody else — she or he has to relinquish the title. I do know this may hinder the promotion of these attractive champion vs. champion fights, however I believe it is not honest when contenders have to sit down and wait when they’re so near realizing their goals of combating for a belt. There is not an ideal reply, however I really feel for many who are left on the surface.

9. Talking of champions, has a fight sports activities retirement been dealt with worse than Henry Cejudo‘s? For all we all know, he may by no means battle once more. I wish to consider that he was being honest when he mentioned he was completed after his win over Dominick Cruz two weekends in the past. I additionally assume his causes for retiring within the Octagon have been legitimate sufficient. However then he began speaking about cash on the postfight information convention, and he picked a battle with boxer Ryan Garcia on social media. Now it looks as if this was all a ploy to get extra money from the UFC.

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Brett Okamoto and Ariel Helwani talk about Henry Cejudo’s retirement announcement, with Helwani not believing Cejudo is stepping away.

10. I believed the three exhibits in Jacksonville have been entertaining for probably the most half. Here is whose inventory rose within the remaining two exhibits:

(a) Alistair Overeem: His determination to coach with Elevation Struggle Staff in Denver has confirmed to be a really clever one. As he begins his 40s with 92 professional MMA/kickboxing fights beneath his belt, I’m shocked that his chin has held up so nicely and shocked by the evolution of his recreation.

(b) Walt Harris: I’m blown away by the grace and sophistication with which he dealt with every part main as much as and after his battle towards Overeem.

(c) Glover Teixeira: That was a stable win for the 40-year-old, his fourth in a row. If Reyes and Blachowicz battle for a No. 1 contender spot, Teixeira must be proper behind them. Additionally, how may you not love a man who apologizes to his opponent midfight for beating him up?

(d) Drew Dober: I am a giant believer in Dober. He’s a very completely different fighter than the one who entered the UFC seven years in the past. Talking of which …

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Drew Dober knocks down Alexander Hernandez with a strong left hand in Spherical 2.

(e) Elevation Struggle Staff: We have to speak extra about what is going on on in Denver. This squad is residence to Overeem, Dober, Justin Gaethje, Curtis Blaydes, Cory Sandhagen and Neil Magny, amongst others. Elevation is on some sort of roll.

(f) Brian Kelleher: The Lengthy Island product entered UFC 246 in January on the ultimate battle of his contract and on a two-fight dropping streak that had seen him stopped in each fights. He beat Ode Osbourne on the undercard of McGregor vs. Cerrone, bought a brand new contract and knocked out Hunter Azure on Wednesday. What a distinction a few fights make.

(g) Others: Cortney Casey, who seemed actually good at 125, Kevin Holland, who has simply scratched the floor, and Chase Sherman, who unexpectedly bought a second probability within the UFC and made probably the most of it.

11. whose inventory did not go up final week? MMA officers. That features referees and judges — however primarily the judges. I believed the scorecards bought the primary 4 fights of Saturday’s principal card flawed, and it wasn’t simply these 4 fights. There have been a bunch of wacky scorecards everywhere. I’m wondering if the judges having the ability to hear the commentators and the corners so clearly affected their decision-making. That is the one factor I can consider. In that case, I’m wondering if something will likely be achieved to vary this as a result of although MMA judging is commonly erratic, these current selections have been slightly too unpredictable for my liking.

12. Every week later, I really feel the identical method concerning the Anthony Smith vs. Glover Teixeira battle. Briefly, it went on too lengthy. Arguably eight to 10 minutes too lengthy. I respect the truth that Smith does not assume it ought to have been stopped. I respect the truth that, as he advised me Tuesday, he has advised his cornermen that he’ll fireplace them in the event that they ever cease a battle. However that does not imply you may’t say it was reckless and/or egregious to let Smith take that a lot harm when he was clearly injured. The referee, Jason Herzog, got here out of the scenario wanting elegant after making a press release taking all of the blame. Herzog is likely one of the greatest referees within the recreation. It was good of him to try this. However I hope he did it as a result of he meant it — not as a result of he was getting warmth on-line.

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Anthony Smith tells Ariel Helwani he is glad his nook did not name his battle off vs. Glover Teixeira as a result of he does not need that sort of legal responsibility in another person’s arms.

13. Can I begin a motion to mix the Could 30 card with the UFC 250 card on June 6? I do know the UFC needs to make up for misplaced time, however I believe that pay-per-view wants slightly beefing up. Tyron Woodley vs. Gilbert Burns, which is scheduled to be the Could 30 principal occasion, could be a welcome addition to the next week’s pay-per-view lineup.

14. I believe we’ll discover out this week if the UFC can resume holding occasions in Nevada. I imply, now we have to seek out out this week, proper? Subsequent week could be Woodley-Burns battle week. I do know it is exhausting to maintain observe of time today, but it surely’s slightly bizarre that the cardboard is 10 days away, and we nonetheless do not know the place it should happen. In fact, the best answer could be to carry it on the Apex in Vegas.





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