No, I’m not answering questions about what’s burning in your mother’s crotch region. What I’m here to address are some of the more prevalent questions that have been floating around the MMA blogosphere in the wake of Saturday’s UFC 128 card. Let’s get to it.
Does Jim Miller deserve a shot at the UFC Lightweight Title?
I can’t believe how often I’ve seen this question posed, and I also don’t really understand why it’s being framed like that in the first place. The short answer is yes, Miller absolutely deserves a shot. The Jersey-based fighter is now on a seven-fight win streak, having stopped two previously unbeaten fighters in his last two trips to the Octagon. If that doesn’t scream “championship worthy” to you, then I’d have to seriously question your judgment on all life decisions. But the question shouldn’t be whether the younger Miller brother deserves a shot at the title, but what he’ll have to do to actually get one.
What stands in Miller’s way right now is a combination of bad timing and those lone two losses he has on his twenty-two fight resume.
Despite earning his seventh consecutive win this weekend, Miller has entered the short list to a title shot at a time when there is already a fight booked that will produce a clear-cut #1 contender: Clay Guida vs. Anthony Pettis. Say what you will about how Miller might deserve it more than either of those two, but the fact is that both Guida and Pettis are each coming off a higher profile victory than anything Miller has done as of late. On top of that, Pettis has already earned a title shot, so it follows that the winner of his fight with Guida should produce the next title challenger. Barring an injury to either of those two, Miller simply isn’t getting the next title shot.
More after the jump.
While the presence of the Guida-Pettis fight is enough to derail Miller’s immediate title aspirations, there’s also the fact that his two losses have come against the two men currently fighting for the championship. Sure, Miller is a much better fighter than he was back when he fought Edgar and Maynard, but the fact is that fight fans (as well as the UFC brass) prefer fresh fights over rematches that aren’t exactly being clamored for. Yet another reason why the Guida-Pettis winner is in line before Miller.
With all of this in mind, Miller is just going to have to wait, which means taking another fight before he gets his shot at gold. This is going to have to come against one of the top fighters in the division, just so there will be no denying Miller his shot. That means somebody like the Siver-Wiman winner, the Guillard-Roller winner, former champ Sean Sherk, or even the loser of the Maynard-Edgard rubber match.
Should Jon Jones versus Anderson Silva be booked instead of GSP vs. Silva?
Put as simply as possible: no.
This idea has gotten a bit of press after UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta tweeted something about a potential Jones vs. Silva super fight, but these things need to be taken into context. First, both Dana and Lorenzo are huge fans of the sport, on top of their obvious business interests. This means sometimes these guys are talking with their promoter hats on, while in other situations they’re speaking with their fan hats on. This was most definitely the latter. Second, just because one of the owners of the UFC mentions the idea in a tweet in no way means it’s a realistic possibility in the near future. Perhaps Fertitta was just gauging fan interest for a future fight down the road.
Putting the tweet aside, there’s also a giant, massive, overpowering reason why Jones vs. Silva shouldn’t be seriously considered just yet: Jones has yet to even defend his damn belt. The argument as to why that fact shouldn’t matter is that Jones was so effective against Shogun, the top fighter in the division, that it’s hard to visualize anyone at 205 being effective against him. The hole in this logic is that the same shit was said about a guy whose name rhymes with Kyoto Fachida. Back when “The Dragon” knocked out Rashad Evans to win the strap, people immediately began talking about the possibility of a Machida vs. Silva superfight. And then Machida had a controversial fight with Shogun before ultimately dropping the belt.
So, what’s the point? The point is that we can all prematurely annoint Jones the next coming of Christ, which he may turn out to be, but the better strategy is to wait til the man actually goes out and proves it. Let him beat up his former pal Evans and then defend it a second time against one of the other former champs in the division — then we can all start talking about super fights.
Plus, has Jones’ ridiculous performance made you all forget about that Canadian guy who is one fight away from cleaning out the most competitive weigh class on the planet? If so, I just reminded you, so cut the shit.
Should Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz be the next set of coaches on The Ultimate Fighter?
Dana has gone on record with Ariel Helwani (I think) and said that Faber and Cruz are not, in fact, going to be the coaches of the next season. I take that comment with a grain of salt, as Dana’s often changes his mind with these types of things.
Jonathan Snowden over at Bloody Elbow thinks that Faber’s “performance” (read: he didn’t finish Wineland in highlight reel fashion) has cost him the opportunity to be a coach. I think Snowden’s reading too much into this. The fact is that Faber put on a dominant performance (mostly in rounds two and three) against a world-class opponent who also happens to be a former champion. Sure, a sweet finish would’ve upped his stock even more, but the fact that that didn’t happen should have no bearing on the TUF situation.
The reality is that Faber and Cruz almost make too much sense as coaches. First, with a cast of fighters from the bantamweight and featherweight divisions, it makes sense to have coaches from those divisions as well. Second, with the injection of the 135 pound and 145 divisions into the UFC, it would be a good idea for the Zuffa execs to create some stars from those divisions if they want to start making some bread off of them. No better way to do that than coaching positions on TUF. Plus, it would be the perfect build to the first ever UFC show headlined by a fight in one of the new, lighter weight divisions.
The only real hurdle in the way of this becoming a reality is possible better alternatives. One that might seem more appealing to Dana and company might be a possible Michael Bisping versus Chael Sonnen season. While both men are already established UFC stars and don’t necessarily need the TUF platform, the potential trash talk and awkward confrontations would be so epic that it would be damn near impossible not to cast them as the coaches. This, of course, would be contingent on Sonnen clearing up his legal troubles in time for the show. Another alternative would be pitting GSP against Anderson Silva, should GSP beat Jake Shields in April. Setting up the biggest fight in UFC history with a 13 week infomercial in the form of the reality show would only help increase business even bigger than it already would be. Finally, the UFC could always decide to push Jon Jones even more and build his feud with Rashad Evans by tagging the two as TUF coaches.
All options considered, I still like Faber and Cruz. The other fighters I’ve mentioned are already known commodities and don’t really need the TUF platform to grow their celebrity in this crazy MMA world we all are apart of. Faber and Cruz, on the other hand, do. Plus, if ratings are a huge concern for the UFC and Spike, there really isn’t anyone aside from a giant persona like a Kimbo Slice or a Brock Lesnar that is goint to make a huge impact on the ratings. Maybe GSP opposite Silva, but that’s about it, so why not put Cruz and Faber on there?