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411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Does Tyron Woodley vs. Nate Diaz Make Sense?

November 22, 2017 | Posted by Lorenzo Vasquez
Tyron Woodley

Welcome back to another edition of 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! I’m your host, Lorenzo Vasquez III, and it is my pleasure to bring another round of Fact or Fiction MMA. Thank you, for your votes and comments last week, it is appreciated and encouraged. Last week, Dan Plunkett and Evan Zivin laced up the boots and locked horns over topics like GSP vacating the UFC middleweight title, Michael Bisping making a quick turnaround, and Conor McGregor taking Bellator’s ratings up a notch. Both came in looking for a war and they delivered! Evan fought tooth and nail while Dan countered with beautiful precision. When the dust settled, Dan was left standing over the defeat Evan Zivin. Congratulations Dan and thank you both for your efforts and contributions.

This week, Wyatt Beougher and Alex Rella will try to tear each other into shreds as they lock horns over the idea of Conor McGregor not returning to MMA until spring 2018, who should challenge Derrick Lewis upon his return, the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix, and much more! So grab some grub and strap in because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA!

TALE OF THE TAPE
RED CORNER
Alex “Little Mac” Rella
Contributor, 411 MMA Zone
5-8-0

VS

BLUE CORNER
Wyatt Beougher
Host/Reviewer/Columnist, 411 MMA/TV & Movies/Wrestling Zones
2-11-1


Like it or not, with Conor McGregor likely not fighting until spring 2018, Tyron Woodley vs. Nate Diaz is the fight to make to cap off 2017.

Alex Rella: FICTION No, no, no, please no. I see no reason at all to make this fight. There has been some outlandish fight making recently, but this would be the worst by far. Nate Diaz does not deserve a welterweight title shot at all. He’s 3-3 at 170 lbs, he hasn’t fought since August 2016, and he’s never defeated a top welterweight. This is Woodley/UFC hoping to get a big money fight, but I don’t even think that many people would be excited to watch this. Plus they don’t even need a big draw for Woodley’s next title defense. If the UFC is looking to book a welterweight title fight for UFC 219 on Dec. 30th, it won’t even be the main event on the with the Cyborg vs Holm featherweight title fight being on the same card. So make Woodley vs Covington instead. Covington is third in the rankings, he just beat the last number one contender in Demian Maia, and he has a true feud with Woodley, Make that fight instead and don’t put the division on hold for Nate Diaz.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION I’m going FICTION here mainly because I’m not sure how anyone could’ve watched the fights between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson and think that any fight involving “T-Wood” is “the” fight to make. Generally, the UFC likes to book fights for their year-end card that fans really want to see, and I’m not at all sure this fight qualifies. Sure, Woodley’s doing his best to sell it by claiming that everyone from Michael Bisping to Georges St-Pierre to both Diaz brothers are afraid of him, but honestly, at this point in any of those guys’ respective careers, they should be afraid of him – all four of the aforementioned fighters are looking for fights that will boost their overall appeal and allow them to cash out while they still have value in the cage, and Woodley has proven, not just with Wonderboy, that he can take an exciting fighter that people love to watch and derail any positive momentum that they have going into a fight with the current welterweight champion. Honestly, if Colby Covington is good to go for 219, give him a fight with Woodley, as that actually makes sense, and if he wins, Woodley is out of the title picture for a while, which benefits the welterweight division. If he loses, then at least he might actually shut up for a minute, which benefits the entirety of MMA’s fandom.


Fabricio Werdum did nothing against Marcin Tybura to indicate that he would beat Stipe Miocic in a rematch; hence, the winner of Alistair Overeem vs. Francis Ngannou should get the next title shot.

Alex Rella: FACT Yea, I have no desire to see Werdum get a rematch against Miocic at this point. He was the clear winner of the fight, but I didn’t see anything that would lead me to believe he would have a chance against the champ. Plus his last win was against a light heavyweight who stepped up on short notice. Nothing against his two wins (those were fights he was supposed to win), he just needs to win another fight or two to get another chance at the title. Overeem vs Ngannou will give us the true number one contender. Overeem’s previous fight with Miocic was exciting and he’s won two since then (including a victory against Werdum). Ngannou is the only rising prospect of the division and he’s been straight up killing people since he got to the UFC. The winner of this fight is more deserving than Werdum and it’ll be a much more exciting fight

Wyatt Beougher: FACT For all of the hype surrounding Tybura going into this fight, I think Werdum proved more about Tybura than he did about his readiness for a rematch with Stipe Miocic. I don’t want to bag on Tybura too much, as he’s still got some time to improve himself in a relatively shallow division (after all, Werdum was five years older than Tybura when he first captured the UFC heavyweight championship), but he showed that not only wasn’t he ready for a fighter of Werdum’s caliber, he wasn’t anywhere near the level of the current heavyweight champion. And while I’m not crazy about giving Overeem another title shot as I’m not sure he’d fare any better against Miocic this time around either, if Ngannou wins, he’d be my first choice to fight Miocic, with Overeem still coming in above Werdum. The problem with Ngannou winning, though, is that it could lead to another fight between Overeem and Werdum, and I don’t think anyone wants that. Even in the face of that nightmare matchup, though, I think my order of preference for Miocic’s next opponent would probably go Ngannou, Overeem, and then Werdum, so yeah, this one is a FACT for me.


With Derek Lewis looking ready to return now is the time to rebook Lewis vs. Werdum.

Alex Rella: FACT Sure, it makes sense. The heavyweight division is incredibly thin right now and they are two of the best in the world. Lewis is looking to get back on track after he had his impressive 6 fight winning streak snapped by Mark Hunt earlier this year. And as I previously mentioned, I still believe Werdum is at least another win away from getting another crack at the title. So book it, it has potential to be a fun fight and the winner might even get a title shot next.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT This is doubly true if, as mentioned, Ngannou defeats Overeem, because Werdum/Lewis means we wouldn’t have to worry about Overeem/Werdum III. Seriously, though, if you look at the UFC’s official rankings, Werdum/Lewis makes the most sense – Werdum is currently second-ranked and Lewis is sixth, but if you look at which guys are between them and aren’t currently booked for a fight (the aforementioned Ngannou), you’ve got Cain Velasquez and Mark Hunt. Hunt is currently on the outs with the promotion and may not ever be cleared to fight by them again (regardless of what a doctor says), and I’ve got a better shot at completing a full camp and taking a heavyweight fight in the Octagon in 2017-2018 than former champion Velasquez. Plus, I think he’s going to be super busy in the upcoming calendar year, what with the movie of his life being released in January of 2019 (I’ll save you the Google – that was a joke about Cain’s fragility and the upcoming release of M Night Shyamalan’s Glass).


SWITCH!

Will Brooks has replaced Hector Lombard as the biggest disappoint to come out of Bellator MMA.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION This one is pretty much a matter of semantics, consider neither guy has exactly set the world on fire since jumping to the UFC, but to damn Brooks with fain praise, at least he was never billed as anything more than an above average fighter who excelled against lesser competition and looked ready to make the jump up in competition. Lombard, on the other hand, was billed as a legitimate killer and a guy would likely run roughshod through the UFC’s middleweight division. Instead, we got a guy whose longest streak in the UFC is a losing streak that’s currently twice as long (and counting) as his longest win streak, with a PED failure and suspension to boot. Plus, if you needed any more evidence, both guys got a decidedly middle of the pack UFC fighter in their UFC debut, and at least Brooks won his debut. Now, if his 1-3 UFC record surpasses Lombard’s 3-6 record (with the aforementioned drug test failure adding a no contest as well), then I’m willing to revisit this, but for now, it’s a FICTION for me.

Alex Rella: FICTION Nope, that glorious and highly respected honor still belongs to Hector Lombard. While Will Brooks’ 1-3 run in the UFC has been rather lackluster, Lombard is the much larger disappointment. Will Brooks’ run in Bellator was impressive and he looked like he was one of the best lightweights in the world at the time, but Lombard looked unstoppable before coming to the UFC. He destroyed almost everyone during his 24 fight winning streak from 2007-2011. This included wins over UFC caliber fighters and a couple fights at light heavyweight too. Some people thought Lombard would come in and win the UFC title, but he has instead gone 3-5 with a suspension for steroids thrown in for fun. He’s the bigger disappointment by far.


If the UFC wants to be on par with big mainstream sports they will have to begin a consistent approach to appropriately discipline their fighters for misconduct regardless of how big of a star the fighter is.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION I think this depends on which “big mainstream” sport you’re comparing them, too, honestly, and even absent of that context, I think there are different standards in pretty much every major sports league for superstars vs guys buried deep in the roster. For as poorly enforced as the UFC’s fighter conduct policy is, can you honestly tell me it’s any more poorly handled than that of the biggest sports league in the United States, the National Football League? We can’t even get through a whole season anymore without Roger Goodell bungling some kind of investigation and/or punishment. And what about the most popular sport in the world, soccer, which is ruled by a governing body so well-known for its corruption that it took a massive, massive bribery and money laundering investigation to actually make positive changes?

Do I think the UFC needs to be more consistent in enforcing its fighter conduct policy, regardless of whether it’s a fighter debuting on short-notice on the prelims or Conor McGregor, the current top draw in MMA?

Absolutely.

But that has nothing to do with MMA’s (or, more specifically) UFC’s standing within the national or global sports landscape, it’s just because it’s the right thing to do, especially if they don’t want to be the target of a slew of lawsuits down the road (lawsuits not unlike those being faced by WWE, an organization with a similar fluid set of standards that its talents must abide by). After all, even if the UFC were run in a completely consistent manner without a bloviating man-child as its public face, its detractors, especially those who belong to the fanbases of more mainstream sports, would still find something to complain about.

:Alex Rella FACT It only makes sense that they should have a uniformed code of conduct by now. If you break a certain rule, it should have a specific consequence regardless of who you are. Most other sports have this. I understand certain things like jumping in the cage during another promotion’s fight is hard to predict, but it’s not difficult to implement something better than what they have now. I just doubt they care about being unbiased towards their star fighters. I don’t expect a change coming anytime soon and they’ll likely continue to discipline fighters on a case by case basis.


Bellator’s Heavyweight Grand Prix is nothing but a joke of a heavyweight tournament; however, it is just the thing that will bring Bellator MMA decent dividends.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION For clarification’s purposes, I totally agree with the second part of this statement – tournaments, especially those featuring heavyweights, tend to draw a lot of eyes to an MMA promotion, and I have no doubt that this tournament will serve Bellator well on that count. What I don’t agree with is that this tournament is a joke. Sure, you’ve got half of the field filled out with light heavyweights, and sure, the two most prestigious heavyweights in the tournament are well past their respective expiration dates, but that doesn’t change the fact that this tournament could bring us some extremely entertaining fights, and since Bellator has given up on ever becoming a true competitor to the UFC and has embraced PRIDE’s more flamboyant side, I think this tournament is actually a perfect idea for Bellator. I don’t think they’ll end up with a Brock Lesnar or Daniel Cormier coming out on top (like the UFC’s mini heavyweight tournament or Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix), but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a fun watch, and honestly, when I turn on a Bellator event these days, that’s all I’m really asking for.

Alex Rella: FICTION Besides Chael Sonnen’s spot, I actually don’t think this tournament is a joke. I disagree with Sonnen getting a spot and the lack of Bobby Lashley or Sergei Kharitonov, but otherwise this isn’t a bad group of people. I’ll go through the names. Frank Mir and Fedor are past their primes, but they’re still two of the greatest heavyweights of all time. Ryan Bader is their light heavyweight champ and has been one of the best light heavyweights in the world for years now. I see nothing wrong with him moving up to heavyweight. Mo Lawal is a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champ, won the Rizin Heavyweight Grand Prix in 2015, and he beat Cheick Kongo in Bellator at heavyweight (while not the best, Kongo has been a top 15 heavyweight for most of his career). Rampage recently had a solid five-fight winning streak snapped and has fought at heavyweight a bunch of times already. He’s way past his prime, but he still has potential to knockout anyone. Roy Nelson has been a top 10 or 15 heavyweight for most of his career and it looked like he finally realized he needs to do more than throw haymakers to win in his last fight. Then you have Matt Mitrione, who just knocked out Fedor and is probably the best heavyweight in Bellator today. It’s not perfect (I would swap out Lashley or Kharitonov for Sonnen), but it’s a solid list and it will most likely yield good numbers for Bellator.


So who won? 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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