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411 Fact or Fiction MMA: Is Joanna Jedrzejczyk Better Than Ronda Rousey?

May 17, 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 bring you another week of Fact or Fiction MMA. By the way, thank you for your votes and comments last week; it is appreciated. Last week, Todd Vote and Alex Rella locked horns over GSP saying he won’t be ready to fight until after October, Nate Diaz needing Conor McGregor to be a seller, and Junior dos Santos’s chance of beating Stipe Miocic for the second time in addition to other topics. Todd wasted no time as he peppered Alex with stinging jabs early and often. Half way through, Alex picked up his pace and found his timing and was able to overcome Todd and grab a strong lead. Congratulations, Alex! And, thank you both for your efforts and contributions.

This week, Kuch returns and looks to give Wyatt Beougher all sorts of nightmares as they battle over Joanna Champion’s reign compared to Ronda Rousey’s, Stipe Miocic becoming the first heavyweight to defend the strap more than two times, Conor McGregor wanting two fights this year, and much more! Strap in because it’s looking to be a barnburner. It’s time for another round of, 411 Fact or Fiction MMA! Let us proceed…

TALE OF THE TAPE
RED CORNER
Wyatt Beougher
Host/Reviewer/Columnist, 411 MMA/TV & Movies/Wrestling Zones
2-7-0

VS

BLUE CORNER
Scott “Kuch” Kuczkowski
Contributor, 411 MMA Zone
1-5-1


Joanna Jedrzejczyk is easily the better mixed martial arts champion than Ronda Rousey; though she has yet to beat Rousey’s record for the number of women’s title defenses, her level of competition raises her stock far above Rousey’s.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT Regardless of your current feelings about Ronda Rousey, I think Joanna Jedrzejczyk was already making a case for being a better champion than Rousey even before Rousey’s loss to Holly Holm. Jedrzejczyk is doing things in the Octagon that no other woman has done before, setting records (most victories in the UFC by a female, most significant strikes landed in a title fight – a record she has broken twice now) and outclassing her opponents in a way that even Rousey should envy. Where the Rowdy One was WMMA’s Mike Tyson, finishing opponents so quickly that her entire fights would fit in a single GIF, Joanna Champion has outpaced her opponents at a stunning rate, landing nearly triple the amount of significant strikes as her opponents through her six UFC title fights. Where Ronda’s dominance was perfect for today’s soundbyte/video clip friendly sports media, Jedrzejczyk, like Demetrious Johnson in the men’s flyweight division, has taken her dominance to an entirely different level. Like Mighty Mouse, she is clearly the best fighter in her division and she seems more impressive with each successive outing. And that’s not to take anything away from Rousey, whose dominance was wholly unprecedented in the realm of WMMA. But in my mind, this is a clear-cut FACT.

Scott Kuczkowski: FACT I can go along with this one, but I think it’s problematic to try and compare fighters from what are essentially two different eras. Rousey was champ during what many people would probably refer to as the infancy of Women’s MMA (particularly in the UFC). Rousey’s heyday was 2 years ago, which should probably be considered a lifetime when speaking about the progression of Women’s MMA. Currently, Jedrzejczyk sits firmly atop her division and has handily dispatched all challengers. Still, though, she’s a much different fighter than Rousey, and so while she may appear more dominant because of her striking prowess, she finishes far fewer opponents than Rousey. This is certainly an interesting comparison to try and make, as I think both champions have differing strengths and weaknesses relative to the competitors they face, but if had to pick who is the better mixed martial artist, I’d have to pick Jedrzejczyk simply because of the level of competition she faces during this more advanced era of Women’s MMA.


Stipe Miocic looks poised to be the first UFC heavyweight fighter to defend the golden strap three or more times.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT Granted, this is the heavyweight division, where the talent pool isn’t spectacularly deep and a Derrick Lewis or Alistair Overeem is always only one good shot away from ending Miocic’s run as champion; however, barring a Cain Velasquez return and immediate title shot (or, alternately, Velasquez retiring and his training partner Daniel Cormier moving up to heavyweight), I’m not sure who in the top ten could actually beat Miocic. He’s already beaten Andrei Arlovski, Mark Hunt, Overeem, Junior dos Santos, and former champion Fabricio Werdum, and his athleticism and technical ability would almost certainly make him a favorite against Travis Browne and Derrick Lewis. That leaves prospect Francis Ngannou, who has only been training in MMA since 2013. He’s been impressive thus far in his MMA career, to be sure, and a fight with Miocic would certainly do good business for the UFC, but I think at this point, Miocic’s experience advantage would give him the edge against the youngster. I would honestly prefer the UFC wait to schedule a fight between the two to give Ngannou some more “big fight” seasoning, especially considering that the biggest win on his resume by far is Andrei Arlovski; however, with Miocic basically blowing away the rest of the division already, it also wouldn’t surprise me if these two locked horns in the fall. And while I think Ngannou has arguably the best chance against Miocic, I still see the champion retaining his title, which is why I’m going FACT here. That doesn’t change if Derrick Lewis starches Mark Hunt next month and earns a fall fight with Miocic.

Scott Kuczkowski: FACT Miocic has looked great since winning the championship and seems to have really come into his own as a fighter. I’d expect him to next face the winner of Overeem/Werdum or the winner of Hunt/Lewis. Miocic has already beaten 3 out of those 4 competitors though, with Lewis being the only fresh matchup he could face. A fight against Lewis would be tough, but a challenge that I’d still pick Miocic to win. Francis Ngannou is also waiting in the wings and would also be a stiff test for the champ. I guess Cain Velasquez could also be added to the mix if he ever returns, but his durability issues would make it difficult to choose him over Miocic.


You’re not so comfortable saying Demian Maia can beat Tyron Woodley; especially, after watching him struggle and narrowly beat Jorge Masvidal.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION I’ll admit up front that I’m a not a big supporter of Tyron Woodley, as I feel like he is the UFC welterweight champion largely as a product of circumstance, having been on the lucky end of a Carlos Condit injury and a close decision over an overweight Kelvin Gastelum. Plus, in my book, he lost three rounds in both fights with Stephen Thompson, and it was only one dominant round that saved his title the first time and a poor decision that saved it the second time. Basically, Woodley is no GSP, and outside of Mark Munoz and maybe Jake Shields (who Woodley did lose to a few years back), I don’t think he’s in the same caliber of fighters who have beaten Maia. Did Maia eek out a win of his own against Jorge Masvidal? Yes, he absolutely did, but that doesn’t shake my confidence in him going up against TWood at some point in the near future. Maia said it best when he said that his opponents might know his gameplan, but they don’t know the little things that go into his strategy (I’m paraphrasing), which is what makes him so difficult to stop. For as lauded as Woodley’s wrestling is, Maia is basically a BJJ deity, and if he manages to get the champion to the mat, the fight is going to end. Maybe it’s just my dislike for the champion, but I think when these two do finally square off, the end result will be #AndNew.

Scott Kuczkowski: FACT Truth be told, I wasn’t ever confident Maia would beat Woodley even before he faced Masvidal. I like Maia and his style is unique, but Woodley is a different type of wrestler than the opponents he’s previously faced. In a sense, I feel like this is Jake Shields against George St. Pierre all over again. Maia is going to have to avoid Woodley’s power while shooting from the outside in an effort to get him to the ground. And make no mistake about it; Maia would have to get this to the ground to even make it a challenge. Woodley is a very good wrestler with plenty of explosive power and timing, which makes that endeavor very complicated. While I think Maia will make it an interesting matchup and may even succeed in getting the champ to the ground, I don’t think he’ll be able to hold him down and dominate him like he’s done to so many of his other opponents. When these two meet, I’ll be picking Woodley to retain his title.


SWITCH!

Junior dos Santos’ loss can be contributed to Stipe Miocic’s improvement, in addition to, his two wars with Cain Velasquez affecting his durability.

Scott Kuczkowski: FACT Junior’s been in more than a few wars, and those wars have taken their toll on him as a fighter. I think we all saw that when he lost to Alistair Overeem. Heck, even when he beat Miocic, he still had to go through hell to do it. My point is that at Heavyweight, I think those wars take a toll on fighters much faster than they do at any other weight. Junior dos Santos is the perfect example of the effects of those wars.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT First off, I don’t want to take anything away from Miocic – as I said in my response to the second statement this week, I think he’s a tremendous heavyweight who should be favored against pretty much everyone in the UFC’s top ten, and if he hadn’t matured a great deal as a fighter since his UFC debut, I don’t think that he’d even be in a position to potentially break the record for most UFC heavyweight title defenses. That said, look at the career trajectories of both Cain and JDS since their three brutal fights – Cain has enjoyed almost constant success (minus the Mexico City setback against Fabricio Werdum that cost him his title) but has been unable to remain healthy, only fighting twice in the last three and a half years. dos Santos, on the other hand, has traded wins and losses and has struggled with the occasional injury of his own. Again, Miocic’s improvement over the past two-plus years had more to do with his victory in the rematch with JDS than any other single factor, but to rule out the lasting damage that two especially brutal fights with Velasquez did to dos Santos seems wrong to me.


If Michael Bisping vs. Yoel Romero really happens, and Romero beats Bisping, Georges St-Pierre will abandon his quest for the UFC Middleweight Championship Title.

Scott Kuczkowski: FACT In my opinion, though, I don’t think GSP had his sights specifically set on the Middleweight Championship so much as he wanted to fight Michael Bisping. I think GSP needed a really good comeback fight and Bisping was the type of person that GSP could capitalize on by challenging him and trying to take his belt. I think part of this is because of Bisping’s unpopularity amongst fight fans, the perception that Bisping won the title with a lucky punch, and that he’s seemingly avoided defending it against genuine contenders. In true professional wrestling fashion, I think GSP wanted to play the returning babyface against the heel champion. I somehow feel that a matchup against GSP and Yoel Romero, while still an intriguing fight, would be less promotable than GSP against Bisping for the casual fan. If Romero wins the middleweight belt, I see GSP perhaps still facing Bisping, or maybe just taking a fight at welterweight.

Wyatt Beougher: FICTION I think, if anything, a Yoel Romero middleweight championship victory would make GSP more motivated to pursue that title than if Bisping is champion. Not only would St-Pierre add a tremendous feather to his cap if he could outwrestle such a decorated freestyle wrestler, but it would also give him the opportunity to prove that he can beat fighters with questionable drug testing backgrounds, something he mentioned as a reason why he retired from the UFC back in 2013. Granted, having been out of action for over three years and coming off of two serious knee injuries, I don’t think it’s a guarantee that GSP would be able to outwrestle Romero en route to his preferred method of victory; however, I think St-Pierre is a fierce enough competitor that he would be willing to test himself against a world class athlete like Romero. Plus, I don’t think it hurts that Romero is both older and possessed of less MMA experience than Michael Bisping, two factors that should go a long way towards assuaging any doubts St-Pierre might have about stepping into the cage with as impressive a physical specimen as Romero.


If the claim that Conor McGregor wants to fight twice this year is true, then, we can expect to see him fighting in the octagon by late summer or early fall and then maybe a fight against Floyd Mayweather.

Scott Kuczkowski: FICTION I don’t think anyone can really ‘expect’ or even ‘predict’ what Conor McGregor is going to do with his fight career. While he may have said that he wants to fight twice this year, he may have meant he wanted to fight twice in boxing – we just can’t be sure. And this puts fans and the UFC in a rather odd position. On one hand, we have a fighter who has dispatched so many champions and challengers with relative ease that people clamor for his next matchup, but that same fighter seems intent on seeking out the next bigger, more lucrative challenge, which may be outside the world of MMA. I for one like Conor and I’d love to see him fight Mayweather, but I’d be just as happy with him defending his Lightweight belt. If the fight with Mayweather gets booked, then I see that being his only fight this year. If the fight with Mayweather falls through, then I see him begrudgingly returning to MMA and maybe defending his belt. And I say maybe, because he may just decide he wants to fight in another weight class instead. So in regards to the statement that he wants to fight twice this year and that one of those fights might be Mayweather, I think that statement is Fiction.

Wyatt Beougher: FACT I think this is an easy FACT, considering Dana White has said that he and Conor have worked out their end of the promotional deal for the fight with Mayweather, and also that upcoming Canelo Alvarez/GennadyGolovkin fight has usurped their original proposed date for the Mayweather fight on September 16th, we can either assume that any fight between McGregor and Mayweather would take place either in the summer or late in the year. And while I’m sure Uncle Dana would prefer to have his biggest moneymaker on his year-end show, I just can’t see Floyd NOT dragging these negotiations out, especially if it means he gets to fight Conor after McGregor has already had another MMA fight. Of course, McGregor has repeatedly said that his next fight would be against Mayweather, so perhaps saying that he wants to fight twice this year is just optimism that negotiations with Mayweather will work out sooner rather than later. At any rate, if McGregor does fight twice in 2017, I think it’s far more likely that the first of those two fights takes place in the Octagon.


So who won? Did Kuch strike down with thunder and lightning, or was Wyatt too slick to get caught? 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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