Ever since his debut in the UFC, I’ve never been a fan of Jamie Varner. Although I admired his crisp boxing and great wrestling, I detested his antics and generally just him as a person. I didn’t like his haircut, or his tattoos, or the way he looked into the camera. I would go nuts when I saw him calling time-outs in the middle of a match. I was infuriated in his first bout with Cerrone, faking that he had been injured by the knee that missed his head while he was down. I’m a hug Ben Henderson fan, and when Ben won and in the post-fight interview he talked down about Ben’s win, that was the nail in the coffin for me, I would never root for the man. Saturday night however, that nail was removed after his performance against Lauzon.
When he pulled off the upset in defeating Barboza, I’m not going to lie, I was impressed. Saturday I was rooting with everything I had that Lauzon would put a hurting on him, but as the fight progressed, something very strange happened. Like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, the darkness in my heart started to clear up, and I actually began to erase my dislike of Varner. His sportsmanship in the cage put a smile on my face. He looked determined, disciplined, and very mature since his WEC days. In the 3rd round when he gave Lauzon a hug before they slugged it out, I turned to my daughter and said, “Hey honey, I was wrong about this guy.” When he lost, I actually felt bad, and am now looking forward to seeing what he does in the future. I really do feel that him working with the MMA Lab has done wonders for his skills, but more importantly, himself as a person. Congrats Jamie, best of luck to you in the future.
Also, Benten really needs a hug, the way Bader rushed forward like that…ouch!!!