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411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Is Conor McGregor’s Star Falling?

January 18, 2018 | Posted by Lorenzo Vasquez
Conor McGregor

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 MMA edition of Fact or Fiction. Before beginning, I want to thank you for your votes and comments the last time around, it is appreciated. In the last edition, Jeffrey Harris and Alex Rella locked horns over topics like Jimmy Smith making his way to the UFC, Holly Holm’s loss to Cris Cyborg, and Dana White using Mayweather Jr.’s name for his gain. Alex showed up guns blazing but Jeff was as vile as ever. Alex throw stiff jabs and Jeff countered with slick hooks. At the end of the contest, both men stood untattered and the battle was declared a draw. Thank you, Alex and Jeff, for your contribution.

This week, I’m strapping on the boots on short notice to challenge the witty, Evan Zivin. We will lock horns over Conor McGregor’s train losing steam, Jeremy Stephens’ next foe, Uriah Hall’s UFC career, and much more! 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
Evan “White Tiger” Zivin
Contributor, 411 MMA Zone
7-5-1

VS

BLUE CORNER
Lorenzo “Corpse Grinder” Vasquez III
Host/Contributor, 411 MMA Zone
12-7-2


Conor McGregor can train all he wants, but the longer he stays away from competing in MMA the chances lessen of him successfully defending his title.

Evan Zivin: FACT I agree but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t come back and successfully defend the belt. John Kavanagh said Conor is back in the gym training, so it’s not like he’s just sitting on his million dollar ass at home. Plus, we’ve seen other elite level fighters come back after long layoffs and have successful title wins or defenses. Hell, Georges St-Pierre has done it more than once. So time may not be working in his favor, but he’s Conor McGregor. He’s made everyone regret doubting him before. I guess now he’ll get the concept of time itself to regret doubting him too. Of course, if Tony Ferguson and Khabib stay active while he’s away, it certainly won’t help his odds. Still, it’s Conor.
This is all assuming Conor actually comes back to defend the belt, which we all know he won’t because UFC won’t give him what he thinks he’s worth and because he doesn’t think there’s anyone in the UFC worthy of the challenge. The fact Dana still hasn’t stripped him shows how desperate UFC is for another big payday.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FACT Staying away from the octagon will not have done McGregor any favors unless he handpicks an opponent whom is of little threat or has been absent just as long. It’s great that he is training, but training is never a complete substitute for real competition. You have to say the odds on his side dwindle the longer he stays away. His in-ring conditioning is his nemesis. History tells us he fades. I just don’t see his in-ring conditioning improving if he isn’t fighting real competition regularly. I think that’s what will hurt him the most the longer he stays away from legitimate competition.


In addition, from the fighters’ perspective, the longer McGregor stays inactive, the lesser of a commodity he becomes as the division will move on and fighters will say his name less often.

Evan Zivin: FICTION I’m with you in saying the division will move on if Conor stays inactive. They absolutely will because they have to. There’s little point in waiting for the Irishman, especially if it doesn’t look he hasn’t any interest in fighting anyone in the division, which it really doesn’t look like he does. It’d actually be in the fighters’ best interest to assume he’s not coming back and to stop talking about him entirely, although that’d be easier to do if he wasn’t holding the Lightweight Championship hostage.
What I’m not on board with is the idea that he’ll diminish as a commodity. That’s not going to happen anytime soon. Conor still has a very rabid following that is currently waiting with bated breath for the announcement of his next fight (I have a visual of hordes of casuals fans suspended in a cocoon-like, hibernative state, ready to awaken when Conor has his next fight). If Floyd Mayweather could return after being away for two years and make all the money in the world, Conor can do it too. Granted, it needs to be the right fight but he can face anyone and still draw a decent number. At least for now. We’ll see if that changes the longer he goes without fighting, assuming he does fight again.

Seriously, Dana, stop dragging your feet and do your damn job. Take back control of the UFC. I thought no one was above the UFC. That’s why the company doesn’t promote any of its fighters, right?

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FICTION Sure, the longer McGregor is out of sight and out of mind the bigger the hit may be to his worth. I don’t think it has been that long enough, yet. I also think it will take a few years and a loss before he is no longer a commodity. The fighters are essentially already moving on, but that doesn’t mean McGregor is a lesser commodity. He’s still the biggest name in mixed martial arts, and he will be until he is dethroned either by a big loss(es) or a new and brighter star,


Jeremy Stephens has never, and will likely never, hold a UFC title, but the always entertaining fighter is a future Hall of Famer without certainty.

Evan Zivin: FICTION Jeremy Stephens as UFC Champion? Yeah, that’s not going to happen. He’s good enough that he could probably be champion in a smaller promotion, like LFA or Titan, but no. A UFC title is not in his future. Maybe he could get a title shot in a year or two if Max Holloway manages to clear out the division but that seems doubtful too. His biggest wins are probably going to be the decisions against Renan Barao, who was fighting above his normal weight, and Gilbert Melendez, who was fighting below his normal weight and got injured during the fight. Still, it’s better than nothing, I guess. Aim low, Lil’ Heathen. Just be happy Conor McGregor was even willing to acknowledge your existence.
And I’ll address whether Jeremy Stephens is a future Hall of Famer once I’m done laughing at the notion…

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FACT Stephens’ career in the UFC covers a decade; he’s racked up 27 fights. His record isn’t the prettiest, but he has delivered memorable performances. He’s won “Fight of the Night” five times and has won by tko/ko seven times. I think his tenure and fan-friendly style of fighting will earn him a spot in the Hall of Fame in some way, shape, or form. He deserves it; and, while McGregor might not appreciate the man, I am sure the fans and the UFC brass do for his willingness to leave it all in the Octagon, win or lose.


SWITCH!


Jeremy Stephens vs. Josh Emmett sounds a lot more fun than Jeremy Stephens vs. Brian Ortega.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FACT I’d say so. Though I think Stephens and Ortega could make a fun fight, Ortega will likely look to take the action to the mat. Emmett is likely to keep the fight standing where he and Stephens will trade fire with fire.

Evan Zivin: FACT I know next to nothing about Josh Emmett. He has no quality wins other than the knockout of Ricardo Lamas, which will always have an asterisk next to it because Emmett missed weight for the fight. Still, it was a fun fight. If Emmett fights Stephens the way he fought Lamas, I’d say it’d be a more exciting fight than one with Brian Ortega if only because Emmett seems more willing to give Stephens the dogfight that he thrives in. Ortega is too smart of a fighter to do that. He’d probably just take Stephens down and tap him out. Nobody wants that. We want the dogfight. DOGFIGHT! DOGFIGHT!


Nobody has had a worse UFC career than Uriah Hall.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FICTION Uriah has some nice moments to celebrate in the UFC. His win over Gegard Mousasi comes to mind. He’s had a “so-so” UFC career for the level he occupies. If we are trying to categorize fighters to find out which fighter has had the worst UFC run, others fighters come to mind like Hector Lombard, Gilbert Yvel, Charlie Brenneman, etc.

Evan Zivin: FICTION I hate broad, hyperbolic statements. Uriah’s UFC career has certainly sucked hard but how can I say with any certainty that he’s had the worse UFC career ever, especially right after he failed to make it to the scale for a fight? A bunch of fighters have done that, some a lot more obscure than Uriah. At least Uriah has won fights in the UFC. There are thousands of fighters who entered the UFC and never even did that. At least Uriah has gotten the chance to compete in the UFC. Have you heard about Amanda Ribas? She just got suspended for two years before she could even have her UFC debut. Hall has had a legendary career compared to those fighters.

Another thing: Hector Lombard. I rest my case.


https://twitter.com/MMAFighting/status/952788515720433664

It’s time to throw Kamaru Usman in the cage with either Darren Till, Jorge Masvidal, Demian Maia, or Colby Covington.

Lorenzo Vasquez III: FACT Usman, since joining the UFC, has been on a 7-fight winning streak against fighters on the outside of the top ten. He’s beat some good competition. If you ask me, the only reasonable booking is to have Usman fight someone inside the top ten. It’s time to see how far this guy is going to make it in the welterweight division. I don’t think Covington wants to take a step back, but Till, Masvidal, Maia, and even Neil Magny make sense. Let’s see how far those boots take Usman.

Evan Zivin: FACT Kamaru has won 11 fights in a row but, to date, he has not faced a ranked opponent. His win over Emil Meek wasn’t all that impressive but, if he says he only fought at 30%, and yes, I know what he meant when he said that (unlike some UFC presidents…), then let’s see if he can compete with Top 10 fighters. I don’t know if he deserves a fight with the all mighty Colby Covington but I could see the logic in booking him against Till or Masvidal or even Maia, assuming UFC felt any of those fights made sense. I think a fight with Neil Magny might be a good logical next step. If Usman is ready for real competition, then let’s give him some.
Man, this week sucks. Why couldn’t I have gotten next week? Instead of talking about Francis Ngannou, I have to talk about Kamaru Usman. Nobody wants to talk about Kamaru Usman. Oh well. BRING ON THE HEAVIES! At least the winner of that fight will defend the belt, unlike some champions. Right, Dana? That guy knows what I’m talking about.


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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