UFC has taken over the role that Boxing once held in the world of contact sports. One of UFC’s top fighters, Conor McGregor recently made Forbes Magazines Top 100 of the World’s Richest Athletes list. News like this should come as no surprise. Boxing has left little to be desired for quite some time. Arguably, there hasn’t been a real heavyweight contender in years. Not since Tyson and Lewis. Floyd Mayweather hasn’t fought any real competition for quite some time. The highly anticipated Mayweather-Pacquaio fight that grossed $600 million dollars was easily the worst fight of that caliber in the history of the sport.
People want to see action. No one wants to watch round after round of dancing. If I wanted that I would watch Dancing with the Stars. UFC is the answer. The high level of competition and the unpredictability of the sport are without a doubt, two of the high points. No longer are we seeing champions hold their title for years, maintaining their title with the occasional bout with lesser competition. Upsets have become quite the norm. Holm over Rousey, Tate over Holm, Diaz over Macgregor, Rockhold over Weidman, now Bisping over Rockhold.
Still, I may be one of the very few, but I would like to see a dominant player in the sport with longevity. It appears as though all of the upsets I just mentioned have something in common. The fighters became too cocky, started to believe their own hype and underestimated their opponent. Never, in any line of work, underestimate your opponent. That can be deadly.
UFC 199 was scheduled to be a rematch between Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman until Weidman dropped out due to an injury, allowing his vacant spot to be filled by English fighter Michael Bisping. Rockhold an overwhelming favorite beat Bisping previously in November of 2014. Bisping shocked the world with a devastating first-round knockout. Needless to say, hardly the fight for the ages, yet the post-fight press conference was most exhilarating.
Days later in an in-depth Instagram post, Rockhold said, “Allowing the pressure of the situation get to me, I felt the need to perform and make a statement as opposed to staying calculated and winning the fight. I underestimated my opponent and paid for it. Forcing a fight that was unlike me, which left the door open.”
In UFC 196, the ever so confident Conor McGregor moved up two weight classes to fight Nate Diaz. Many experts picked Diaz before the fight for various reasons, size, reach, physical advantage and track record on takedowns by submission. McGregor, king of the microphone went into this fight unprepared, that fact was evident shortly into the fight due to lack of conditioning. The rematch is scheduled for UFC 202 in August, McGregor vows that it will be different this time. He is in full beastmode training, with the focus on grappling and striking (a Diaz specialty).
Ronda Rousey, the former queen of the Octagon, disappeared into La-La-Land shortly after the shocking loss to Holly Holm. However, Rousey wasted no time licking her wounds jumping on the Hollywood Train. Fight again? Who knows? It appears that Dana White keeps pushing the date back, most recently set for December of this year. Rousey isn’t ready. Or did she just get sucked into the Hollywood life and wants to act now. Only time will tell. Nevertheless, with all this time off, she better have quite the crew to help get her prepared, both mentally and physically. Some suspect she is still not mentally recovered from getting knocked out by Holm. I’m sure Rousey felt a little satisfaction when Meisha Tate gave Holm a little taste of her own medicine. Will Ronda ever return to glory? Personally, I don’t see it.
It seems that lack of preparation, getting caught up in your own hype and underestimating your opponent seem to be the main reasons for the “champs” to be upset. It would be nice to see a “champ” enter the ring and do what they are supposed to do at some point. It seems as though that rarely happens lately.
Lastly, to those who paid good money to see the Rockhold-Bisping fight at the Forum, my condolences to you. But, hey at least Henderson-Lombard was highly entertaining.