Saturday morning selling points
With dual title fights and overall star power of UFC 136 and the Nick Diaz-fueled intrigue of UFC 137 both being no-brainer buys for MMA fans next month, I could understand if people chose to pass on tonight’s event.
I would think they’re crazy, but I would understand the financial decision.
While not as loaded with names as month’s events, UFC 135 is a very good pay-per-view, one that is certainly worth buying in my books.
Here’s five reasons why.
1. Jon Jones is fighting
You can’t justify not watching a Jon Jones fight to me. You can try, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be unsuccessful. I just don’t understand why anyone who claims to be an MMA fan (or just a UFC fan) can choose not to watch this kid compete.
The 24-year-old light heavyweight champion is on that Anderson Silva level; a guy who could do any number of things in the cage that would force you to pick your jaw up off the floor even if you already expect him to deliver the most dominant performance you’ve ever seen before.
A lot of people thought he was going to beat Shogun Rua. Some expected a dominant win, but I don’t think anybody would have wagered that Jones would have made Rua look like he had no business being in the cage with him.
That’s the kind of special talent Jones possesses, and it shouldn’t be missed.
2. What if Rampage is telling the truth?
Throughout the build-up to this fight, Quinton Jackson has been saying he’s in the best shape of his life, confident he’ll beat Jones, making creepy webcam videos assuring his “true fans” of both, then repeatedly telling them, “I got this.”
There is always a certain amount of fighter-speak to be taken into account when Jackson is in front of a camera or microphone—even one he’s operating himself—but what if he really is in the best shape of his career? What if he really has committed himself 100% to this training camp and bringing the Rampage of old into the Octagon against Jones tonight?
No one can deny that a focused, fit and motivated Jackson doesn’t deserve the same description as Detective John Shaft. While we haven’t seen that guy in a couple three fights now, pull up his one-punch knockouts of Wanderlei Silva or Chuck Liddell if you need a reminder.
3. The odd nostalgia of Hughes vs. Koscheck
Matt Hughes is one of the few remaining connections to the old days of the UFC still competing with the company. While not anywhere near being over the hill, Koscheck has a very veteran feel to him too as a graduate of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter.
They’ve combined for 42 appearances in the Octagon, are two of the most recognizable names in the organization, and it feels like Koscheck has been petitioning for this fight forever.
Now that it’s finally happening, it feels like a fight you want to watch out of respect for the participants. These two are markers of how far the sport has come in the last six years, plus it could also be a surprisingly good fight.
4. You’re going to want to get to know Travis Browne
Let me just lay out my reasons and you can decide for yourself:
– highly athletic for being 6’7″ and an easy 260 pounds
– Superman punch knockout of Stefan Struve last time out
– training with Team Jackson-Winkeljohn now
– also still trains with the Alliance MMA team (Dominick Cruz, Phil Davis, etc.)
– probably going to be fighting somebody in the Frank Mir/Roy Nelson/Shane Carwin range next, so learn about him now
5. Gomi vs. Diaz 2: Kind Of
The original Gomi vs. Diaz happened four-plus years ago in Las Vegas.
Takanori Gomi was then one of the top three lightweights in the world, the Pride lightweight champion, with a record of 27-3. The Diaz involved was Nick, competing for the first time since leaving the UFC. It’s unquestionably an MMA history books fight.
Diaz submitted Gomi with a gogoplata in the second round; that part alone was surprising. What made it crazier is that he tested positive for THC, popping a 175 where the positive test threshold is 50. Now little brother Nate steps in against Gomi in a bout both fighters really need to win.
Gomi is 1-2 since signing with the UFC and coming off a beating at the hands of Clay Guida back in January. The younger Diaz returns to the stacked lightweight division after a 2-2 run as a welterweight. He’s 1-3 in his last four fights at the 155 pound limit and riding a two fight losing streak, so clearly the stakes are high.