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411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Is Colby Covington the Next Big UFC Star?

June 13, 2018 | Posted by Lorenzo Vasquez
Colby Covington

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 you the extravaganza that is Fact or Fiction MMA. Thank you, for your votes and comments last week, it is sincerely appreciated. Last week, Robert Winfree and Evan Zivin gave us a scrap for the ages. They battled neck to neck, and it came down the wire. Fortunately for Robert, he was able to pull-off another victory. Congratulations, Robert, and thank you both for your contribution.

This week, Alexx Rella straps on his boots to battle the biggest hitter of them all, Dino Zee. They will lock horns over the classic match-up of Robert Whitter vs. Yoel Romero, Holly Holm’s next fight, and Colby Covington taking over the show. Grab some grub and sit back because it’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA!

TALE OF THE TAPE
RED CORNER
Jack “The Ripper” McGee
Contributor, 411 MMA and Wrestling Zones
14-1-3

VS

BLUE CORNER
Alex “Little Mac” Rella
Contributor, 411 MMA Zone
6-9-1


There is no sense in talking about or booking a third fight between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero at this point when Romero has missed weight twice in a row and it can be argued Whittaker’s last win over Romero was legitimate.

Dino Zee: FACT Full disclosure, I freaking love Romero. That said, he’s now 0-2 against Whittaker (no matter what one may actually believe about either decision), and his misses for both the Title Eliminator against Rockhold as well as the rematch with Whittaker have me feeling like he needs to do some other things before he gets the third fight. Beat some top contenders, and make weight while doing so would be my advice to him. I’m not a big fan of Romero possibly moving back to 205, so hopefully, he’ll just fix a couple things and get it together. Either way, I definitely don’t need to see this fight dialed back again, even if both were entertaining scraps.

Alex Rella: FACT Please, please no. I have no desire to see a third fight or having Yoel Romero in any middleweight title fight anytime soon. That was a very close fight, I personally had Whittaker winning, but it wouldn’t be outrageous if Romero got the call. That being said, he has lost twice to Whittaker now and he’s also missed weight in his past two title fights, so he has no right to any rematch at this point. Romero needs to either win a couple fights in a row at 185 (while making weight) or he should move back up to light heavyweight. Kelvin Gastelum is much more deserving at this point and that is a more intriguing fight too.


Yoel Romero moving up to light heavyweight to fight in a title contender eliminator bout against Alexander Gustafsson isn’t a bad idea and poses a fresh start for a man who has come up short on his two title fight opportunities.

Dino Zee: FACT I know I just said I don’t love the idea of him going to 205, but just because I don’t like it, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea in some form. I understand the idea, but I still remember Romero’s loss to Feijao all those years ago and don’t know that he needs to fight the bigger light heavyweights. My personal feelings aside, Romero would be a fresh face at 205 and gives Gus a good opponent as well. Plus, if Romero won and got a shot at Cormier, we’d have one of the highest level wrestling matchups in UFC history, which is also pretty neat. I don’t love it, but I can see the logic behind it.

Alex Rella: FACT My initial thought was FICTION because I think fighters should earn opportunities when they change weight classes, but the light heavyweight division is in a very weird place. Gustafsson is a perpetual number one contender having defeated almost everyone of value in the division. Jan Błachowicz and Shogun are both on 3 fight winning streaks, but they’ve already lost to Gustafsson. Dominick Reyes and Sam Alvey have some potential at light heavyweight, but they aren’t ready for such a big fight. So giving Romero the number one contender fight at this time makes sense. While controversial, he’s been an elite fighter the past couple years and he just lost a title fight that truly could have gone either way. So sure, give him the opportunity. At the very least it’s a fresh match-up for Gustafsson and their styles should make for a fun fight.


Holly Holm, after a strong showing at UFC 225, versus Amanda Nunes makes better sense than Holly Holm vs. Cris Cyborg.

Dino Zee: FACT With Holm, sense rarely matters. Still ranked #1 in the Bantamweight rankings off the strength of beating Bethe Correia and losing at Featherweight a couple times, it’s clear that Holm will always be kept in a solid spot because she beat Ronda Rousey once. So, let’s get this fight with Nunes done, so she can either get her belt back or fade away a bit. I have no interest in watching a rematch with Cyborg, regardless of Holm’s performance against Anderson. Yeah, I like her at 135 much more, and it’s the best fight to make for the title. Plus, the video package for the fight should make the non-fans of Rousey pretty happy.

Alex Rella: FACT That’s another rematch I really don’t have any desire to see anytime soon. The UFC’s women’s featherweight division is a sham, so they’ll likely throw Nunes or Holm up against Cyborg, but I would much rather see the two fight each other. Their first fight was solid and their second would likely also be good, but I think Holm vs Nunes is more intriguing at this point. Holm is the former champ at 135 lbs and I think their styles will be fun to watch. Nunes comes striking super strong, but Holm is a patient and powerful counter-striker. For Cyborg, throw in some random bantamweight for her to destroy or bring back Cindy Dandois to take her on. Maybe I’m crazy, but other than Julia Budd, I think Dandois is the last somewhat possible threat out there for Cyborg among the true featherweights.


SWITCH!

The UFC may have its next Conor McGregor if Colby Covington can keep winning and building heat by evolving his trash talking and attention-grabbing ways.

Alex Rella: FICTION Comparing the two is just unfair and unrealistic. Colby Covington is an elite fighter and his heel personality has certainly helped make him a draw, but Conor McGregor is one of the most compelling athletes of all time. The first fighter to win titles in multiple divisions simultaneously, he took on Mayweather, has every pay per view buy-rate record, and he made $99 million last year. Covington is a great fighter and will likely get even better, but nobody will ever compare to McGregor when it comes to attention-grabbing.

Dino Zee: FICTION I just don’t see Covington galvanizing an entire populace behind him the way McGregor had Ireland in the back of his pocket. And, without that massive swell of fan support to gain momentum, he’ll never match what Conor does. Besides, a lot of what Covington says and does feels like a pro wrestling heel while Conor, at least for a while, felt genuine. Sure, he has a mouth on him, but it always felt like he truly believed the things he said. Covington has basically admitted that he’s just doing an act, even if he tries to backpedal on that every once in a while. Some fans dig the Covington/Sonnen stuff, and some don’t, but I don’t think Colby’s walking the path to multi-million dollar fights and superstardom by any stretch.


Curtis Blaydes is the next in line for the heavyweight title shot after Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier lock horns.

Alex Rella: FICTION I wouldn’t be upset or shocked if they went with Blaydes, but I think Alexander Volkov is the better choice at this point. Right now he’s training to be the alternate in case Cormier or Miocic get hurt and I think he’s earned the next shot. Blaydes is on a great run having defeated Hunt and Overeem, but he’s still young too. Volkov is undefeated in the UFC, he just knocked out Werdum, and he’s previously held titles in Bellator and M-1 Global. Volkov has 30 wins to Blaydes’ 10. Plus, he can be a legit star in Russia as the UFC is looking to expand there. Blaydes will get his chance, but Volkov should get it first.

Dino Zee: FACT I was hoping Tai Tuivasa would make his mark on the division by starching Arlovski, but that didn’t happen. Some will say that Blaydes should have to run back that loss to Francis Ngannou before getting a crack at the title, but I’m more than fine with Blaydes getting the next title shot instead. We can do Blaydes/Ngannou 2 as either a title fight with Blaydes as champ or as a way to rebuild two recent title contenders that fell short. The only way this doesn’t work is if Stipe loses a close, disputed fight of some sort. He probably gets a rematch no matter what, but if Cormier humiliates him, I can see the division moving on for a second. Let’s see what Blaydes can do after his great showing against Overeem.


You can justify saying Robert Whittaker has the potential to be next long-reigning middleweight king, like Anderson Silva, by looking down the middleweight division rankings and analyzing how he handled himself in both fights with Yoel Romero.

Alex Rella: FICTION Nobody will have a reign like Anderson Silva. Whittaker has been amazing since moving up to 185, but Silva was arguably the greatest fighter of all time during his title run. He was champ for over 6 years and defended his title 10 times, with a bunch of non-title thrashings in the middle. Whittaker is a great fighter, but there are also still legit threats in the division with Gastelum and Weidman. So he might not even be the champ this time next year. Whittaker is elite, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves just yet.

Dino Zee: FICTION I just know better than this. We all thought we were witnessing the Machida Era; Cain Velasquez was going to rule forever; Benson Henderson was a puzzle no one could figure out; you get it. Yes, sure, Whittaker definitely seems to have all the skills to stay on top, and he beat many top middleweights on his way to the top and has followed that up with two wins over the menace of the division. Everything seems like he should be on top forever. But no, I can’t justify saying someone that was out for a year and just had his first successful title defense is going to be the next long-reigning champ. He could easily lose his next fight. Just gotta wait a bit longer before we crown him.


So who won? You’ve got until midnight eastern on Tuesday 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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