Disclaimer: These opinions are 100% dead serious, as are the facts and figures laid out in my arguments, which therefore makes them all indisputably correct.
UFC 193 is wrapped up, but the hot takes are only just getting started. I figured I'd throw my hat in the ring and dish out my Sriracha-spicy hot opinions on what was an incredible evening for MMA. Ronda Rousey was knocked out, and now the only person with a 0 at Glendale Fight Club is Edmond Tarverdyan's annual income sheet. But I'll spare Tarverdyan the unfair criticism tossed his way a little later on in this piece, let's get right to the biggest takeaways from this weekend's super-card in the land of Men at Work.
Boxing trumps MMA once and for all
One of the long-standing grudges between MMA fans and boxing fans is the belief that boxers would stand no chance in the cage with an MMA fighter. Round 1 went to boxing when former heavyweight champion Ray Mercer knocked out former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia in 8 seconds. MMA evened the score in round 2 when Randy Couture submitted James Toney at UFC 118, although Toney had abandoned boxing to become a legbar specialist, so the validity of this surely must be called into question.
Round 3 was the decider. Ronda Rousey was MMA's representative, and Holly Holm was boxing's. Sure, Holm had as many years competing in pro MMA as Rousey, but Holm had over three-dozen pro boxing bouts and was widely regarded as the best women's boxer in her heyday. Rousey had her own striking credentials to brag about, most notably KOing Bethe Correia and dropping boxing champions with body shots. No one has released footage of this happening, presumably because it's in the same secret vault where all the VHS tapes of Dana White destroying Tito Ortiz with his mad boxercise skills are kept.
Not only did Holm make Rousey look utterly foolish with her boxing from the get-go, but she had the gall to take Rousey down at the end of the 1st round. The final insult from the boxer was to finish Rousey with a head kick, which is completely illegal in boxing and would've resulted in a DQ loss. Game, set, and match.
Holm has proven to everyone that any high-level boxer who seriously commits to training in MMA will become a championship caliber fighter in MMA. If a high-level MMA fighter were to commit to pro boxing and face elite opposition, they would not have the same level of success. There's a greater chance of Wladimir Klitschko beating Junior dos Santos in MMA than JDS beating Wlad in boxing.
Alas, we will likely never see a Rousey vs. Holm equivalent in boxing (male or female), as boxing is dying and very soon we'll see world class boxers head to MMA for the ultimate goal of being a multi-thousandaire.
Holly Holm can beat at least 50% of the men's bantamweight division
Holly Holm should legitimately go down as one of the most successful athletes in combat sports. She spent years as a world champion in boxing, losing only twice in her entire career and immediately avenging her loss to Anne Sophie Mathis. Having conquered the best in boxing, she went to pro MMA and within 4 years she completely flattened out the widely proclaimed greatest female MMA fighter of all-time. No other fighter, male or female, can claim to this day that they've won major boxing and UFC belts. This is something that unquestionably must be hailed a phenomenal achievement for a fantastic fighter.
Instead, let's completely ruin the moment and talk about how she'd fare against men. Why? We did that with Ronda Rousey for at least a year, of which much of the conversation was sparked by the UFC's own talking heads. As I mentioned in my first Hotpinions post, "the American obsession with how top female athletes/teams would fare against their male counterparts is healthy and sensible."
If Holm beat the woman who would beat 50% of the men's bantamweight roster, then by transitive theory then so can Holly. Here's my handicapping of how she'd fare against a selection of the top 10 (champ included):
T.J. Dillashaw - 0-1 vs. Greg Jackson fighters. The precedent has already been set. Advantage: Holm
Dominick Cruz - Those peanut brittle knees sure won't hold up to any oblique kicks. Advantage: Holm
Renan Barao - The male Ronda Rousey of his time. Beat everyone, looked invincible, literally fished people, then a heavy underdog deemed "not ready" came in and kicked his ass (head kick included in the finish), and then did it again in the rematch. Advantage: Holm
Urijah Faber - Team Alpha Male guy fighting a UFC champion? You gotta be kidding me. Advantage: Holm
Thomas Almeida - I honestly can't bring myself to stay in character here. Advantage: Almeida
Bryan Caraway - Miesha Tate is 0-2 vs. Rousey, who is 0-1 vs. Holm. That means Bryan Caraway has a clear chain of failure towards the top by virtue of being Tate's boyfriend. Advantage - Holm
Michael McDonald - It's really hard to resist the soothing sounds of some blue-eyed soul from Michael McDonald. That might distract Holly, but I don't hold that against her, because that duet with Patti LaBelle was some hardcore 80s music. Advantage - McDonald
Takeya Mizugaki - Best known for being KO'd in the WEC by George Roop's head kick. Advantage - Holm
6/8 for 75%, which is perfectly reasonable. I think I'm onto something here, folks.
Tarverdyan a bad coach? I think not.
Edmond Tarverdyan is getting a lot of flak for his coaching of Rousey after the end of round 1. He said it was a "beautiful round" for Rousey, which has been used as more bulletin board material that he's not a high-quality MMA coach and is riding the coat tails of a remarkably talented fighter who would likely succeed with any coach.
Well I'm here to defend Tarverdyan from the scoundrels trying to sully his good name.
This is Rousey's first loss of her professional MMA career. Upsets happen. When the New England Patriots lost to the New York Giants in their quest for a 19-0 Super Bowl winning season, the Pats didn't fire Bill Belichick, did they? No, they stayed the course because he's a proven winner. Tarverdyan is a proven winner with Rousey and this may have just been a bump in the road.
Tarverdyan reminds me of another fantastic trainer: Tim Lane. Boxing's Lane turned Chris Algieri from unknown Long Islander into a world champion at 140 lbs, with a stunning decision win over Ruslan Provodnikov (no relation to the injured UFC lightweight, Khabib). A perfect 20-0, Algieri fought the great Manny Pacquiao in Macau. From facing nobodies in New York to facing a global superstar in a PPV main event, Tim Lane turned Algieri into a household name. He carved out a brilliant gameplan that involved Algieri falling to the ground many many times as a way to goad Pacquiao into a false sense of security, before his fighter, whose career KO rate stands a deadly 40%, would perform sweet chin music on the Pacman. I even have video evidence of Lane saying it to HBO's Max Kellerman during the fight.
Algieri fired Tim Lane immediately after the fight, but is 0-1 without his services. Ronda should learn a lesson from this cautionary tale.
Greg Jackson ruins MMA again
A lot of observers felt that Dana White looked and sounded dejected over his biggest star getting crushed in one of their biggest shows ever. There's one man to blame for all of this: Greg Jackson. Once again, Mr. Jackson and his army of point-fighters and lay-and-prayers killed this sport we've come to know and love. This isn't the first time that Jackson's minions have sought to destroy all the good that the UFC has brought us. Here's just a brief summation of his worst acts:
- Georges St-Pierre turned into one of the most boring fighters in all of MMA by occasionally training with Greg Jackson's fighters, as well as having him as his cornerman for a few fights. This is the MMA equivalent of a contact high.
- Marred what was supposed to be a thrilling fight between Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz by daring to make Condit comply with an effective fight plan to nullify much of Diaz's success. Entertainment for the fans should always be above the success of the prizefighter.
- Evilly booked a depressingly bad undercard to "support" a Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson main event, before telling Jon to turn down the last-minute fight with Chael Sonnen, resulting in UFC 151's cancellation.
- Invite Alistair Overem to train at his gym and help Jon Jones prepare for Daniel Cormier, only for Overeem to injure Jones and force the fight's postponement. Another ploy to mess with the UFC's PPV business.
- Fans were pouring out of the arena at UFC 191 when the big screen showed Greg Jackson cornering John Dodson in his fight with Demetrious Johnson. This is the type of oversight by the UFC that is the direct result of the lack of interesting Mighty Mouse.
This man must be stopped before we see Carlos Condit vs. Robbie Lawler become the welterweight version of Guida vs. Maynard.