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411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Will GSP Avoid Top Middleweight Contenders?

March 15, 2017 | Posted by Lorenzo Vasquez

Welcome back to another edition of 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! I’m your host, Lorenzo Vasquez III, and it is my pleasure to ring-in another edition of 411’s Fact or Fiction MMA. But, before moving onto this week’s shenanigans, I want to thank you for voting and leaving your comments last week. It is appreciated and encouraged. Last week, Wyatt Beougher and Alex Rella locked horns over Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre, Tony Ferguson fighting Conor McGregor, and Demetrious Johnson tieing Anderson Silva’s record for consecutive title defenses in addition to other subjects. Alex was able to open up with a small lead landing beautiful jabs and straights. Wyatt tried to turn up the pressure and disrupt Alex’s rhythm but it was to no avail. Congratulations, Alex, on your 18-to-13 victory. Thank you, bot for your efforts and contributions. We appreciate it.

This week, “Handsome” Dan Plunkett steps into the ring for a contest against “The Toddfather” Todd Vote. This should be a masterful battle of technique and craft as the “Handsome” Dan and “The Toddfather” lock horns over whether or not Edson Barboza vs. Tony Ferguson makes sense, the UFC creating a 165-pound division, Georges St-Pierre avoiding top middleweight contenders if he beats Michael Bisping, and much more! You know the drill, grab some grub and make yourself comfortable because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! Let’s get the party going…

TALE OF THE TAPE
RED CORNER
“Handsome” Dan Plunkett
Contributor, 411 MMA Zone
3-4-0

VS

BLUE CORNER
“The Toddfather” Todd Vote
Contributor, Various 411 Zones
3-4-0


If Conor McGregor is going to be out of the picture while pursuing a Floyd Mayweather fight, Edson Barboza vs. Tony Ferguson for the lightweight interim title makes the most sense.

Dan Plunkett: FICTION If the UFC is going to run with an interim lightweight title, I don’t believe Edson Barboza should be part of that equation as long as Khabib Nurmagomedov (and Tony Ferguson for that matter) is healthy and committed to fighting at 155-pounds. Of the group, Nurmagomedov is easily the biggest star, the fighter with the biggest potential growth as a star, and the most lucrative option for Conor McGregor. Certainly, there are complications to going with Nurmagomedov in the spot. The biggest hurdle is weight. He’s a large lightweight, and the UFC 209 disappointment wasn’t the first time he’d struggled with a weight cut; he’s missed weight in the past. If they aren’t able to rebook the fight before late May, it will likely be pushed back to September at the earliest due to Ramadan. However, even with the disappointment and losses incurred when he was forced out of UFC 209, Nurmagomedov is the correct direction. UFC believes they could have saved the fight if Nurmagomedov’s team went to them before the hospital, and they have already tried to rebook the fight for UFC 210.

We’ve seen Barboza vs. Ferguson once, and while it was great and would likely be great again, Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson is a notch or two above it.

Todd Vote: FICTION The best bet, if Conor is going to be out of the picture is to strip him of the title. Maybe I am in the minority here, but I do not like the constant catering to McGregor. I understand he is the biggest draw they have, I get that. But the man is not responsible for putting a halt to the top of two separate divisions with his “Conor McGregor Show”. While I am sure we will end up with an interim championship fight, I think the best bet is to strip Conor and let the division move on. When he is ready to make MMA a focus then give him a title shot.


With all of Floyd Mayweather’s recent barking you believe now more than ever that Conor McGregor’s next fight will be a boxing match up against Mayweather.

Dan Plunkett: FICTION The UFC being the third party in this ordeal complicates matters to such a degree that I can’t believe with a strong degree of confidence that the fight will ever happen, much less as McGregor’s next fight. While Mayweather and McGregor clearly want the fight, and it’d likely be scheduled by now if they were the only two parties involved, the UFC has the most lose and the least to gain of all parties. Unless the courts are brought into it, this fight hinges on UFC’s prospects of a financial gain, which are in direct conflict with Floyd Mayweather’s prospects of financial gain (because he’s going to want a major guaranteed purse and a piece of every revenue stream). That’s not getting into the issues that would arise amongst the rest of the UFC roster from Conor McGregor being allowed to go into boxing and make tens of millions of dollars; the UFC would have to willingly loosen the tight grip it has on its athletes’ purses.

The fight may happen, but unless the courts get involved or UFC makes unprecedented and uncharacteristic concessions, it will take some time to develop.

Todd Vote: FICTION Look how long Floyd and Pacquio barked before their fight was finally signed a few years too late. While I am not ruling out the possibility of this happening, I’m not ready to just say it is a sure thing. There are still a lot of hoops to jump through. Not to mention the damage it could potentially do to Conor’s drawing power in the UFC. If McGregor gets completely embarrassed by Mayweather (which is a possibility), what does that do to the mystique? I’m just not seeing how this benefits the UFC enough to allow it, unless McGregor somehow won the fight.


After the Khabib Nurmagomedov hospitalization/weight cut fiasco it’s time for the UFC to move welterweight up to 175-pounds and insert a 165-pound division.

Dan Plunkett: FACT In one sense this is fact, and in another it’s fiction. There is no question that there is a need for additional weight classes in order to allow a significant percentage of “borderline fighters” (for example, fighters that are too small for welterweight but too large to make a safe cut to lightweight) to fight at a healthier weight class. It’s a major and necessary step to help solve the weight cutting issues that have plagued the sport for years. In that sense, this is a fact.

On the other hand, it’s not going to benefit UFC’s business to add additional “in-between” weight classes. It will only serve to further confuse the fans that haven’t been able to keep up since UFC made the (smart) jump from 5 to 7 weight classes. Furthermore, the promotion’s heavier weight classes are so lacking in depth as it is, in-between divisions will only create more weak divisions there.

Morally, the UFC should do it. However, if they listen to their bottom line and their fans, they won’t do it.

Todd Vote: FACT While the cynic in me just wants to state that these guys should be better prepared to make these weight cuts, that’s not really a fair assessment for me to make. I’ve never had to cut weight for a fight or anything, so I’m not going to judge how hard these guys work to do so. What I do see is more and more cases of fighters being hospitalized due to bad weight cuts. Something obviously needs to change. Perhaps adding a couple of stop-gap weight classes would be the way to go.


SWITCH!

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Kevin Lee isn’t a bad match up as it would allow Nurmagomedov to try and get back into the groove of things while allowing Lee the opportunity to showcase his potential.

Todd Vote: FICTION Kevin Lee looked good last Saturday in his victory over Trinaldo. While a step up in competition is certainly not out of question, I have to stop short of putting the previously ranked #17 guy in the division in there with the #2 ranked fighter. How about we see how Kevin Lee performs against a top ten opponent before throwing him into the top 5?

Dan Plunkett: FICTION Khabib Nurmagomedov is 24-0, hasn’t lost a round in the UFC, and just big brothered Michael Johnson in November. He should not be fighting anyone less than proven elite talent; a fight with Kevin Lee only serves to stall his progress and put matches against proven elite talent unnecessarily farther away.


Luke Rockhold is correct when he says Georges St-Pierre, if he beats Michael Bisping, will not fight and defend the middleweight title against a top middleweight contender.

Todd Vote: FICTION I really hope Rockhold is wrong. The way GSP talks about the sport, I would like to think that should he beat Bisping, he will be wanting to challenge himself against the best. Unfortunately, the UFC has shown recently that is not the way to the big paydays, so it is really hard to say at this point.

Dan Plunkett: FACT I don’t think anyone sees this as anything more than it is: an attempt by St-Pierre to take advantage of timing and a champion he believes is weak in order to make history by winning a title belt in a second weight class. I would not be surprised if his ultimate goal is to win a belt in three weight classes; he’s about the size of some large lightweights. Georges is very smart and calculated, he’s surely aware that fighters like Yoel Romero, Jacare Souza, and Rockhold are too big for him to beat. However, if he can win the title and split from the division, it’s only a feather in his cap.


Frank Edgar is too big a jump in competition for Yair Rodriguez who should be fighting an opponent ranked much closer to him.

Todd Vote: FICTION Just a couple of statements ago we are trying to talk about matching up #17 with #2 in the Lightweight division, now we are going the other way on matching up to more closely ranked fighters in a different division? I think this is actually a good match up. Giving Rodriguez a shot at a top 5 fighter is a good idea at this point. This could be an exciting fight. I like this much better than the idea of Kevin Lee vs. Nurmagomedov.

Dan Plunkett: FICTION Frankie Edgar could well prove to be too big of a jump for Yair Rodriguez, but I really like the fight. Rodriguez is young, fast, dynamic, and a very good athlete; he brings problems to Edgar on his feet. However, this will be a test of his wrestling and his will. Edgar is really difficult to stop (in fact he’s never been stopped), and he won’t stop coming for three rounds. It will be a great test for Rodriguez, and one that he shouldn’t be expected to pass with flying colors. If he wins, it will say a lot about his level. If he loses, it’s an experience he’ll have a lot of time to draw knowledge from.


So who won? Did Dan out point Todd or did Todd have the finesse to beat Dan? You’ve got until midnight eastern on Saturday to vote, so make sure you make your voice heard!


And that’s it for today but, as always, we’ll be back next week with another contest! And please, be sure to vote!

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