UFC 192 is in the books and it was the second-greatest UFC event I’ve ever seen. (Right after UFC 189, of course.)
Top to bottom, each fight had me on the edge of my seat. I will forget that I was 0-4 in my picks, and you should too. What you should take from my picks? In the sport of MMA, conventional wisdom or your gut can be wrong. Here are my thoughts on the Pay-Per-View.
Julianna Pena is the real deal. And she’s mean.
Defeating any top-10 opponent, like Jessica Eye, will insert you in the title picture. Julianna Pena used vicious ground and pound to neutralize the striking prowess of Eye. Many thought Pena would be the one to give Rounda Rousey her toughest challenge due their identical fighting styles. We may be closer to that matchup if Pena can get one more win under her belt. “I’m 6-0 in the UFC and so is Ronda Rousey,” Pena said after her victory. “Dana White calls her the Mike Tyson of MMA — well I’m Evander Holyfield. I’ll be your huckleberry.”
Who is Sage Northcutt?
Honestly, I’m not sure. Northcutt is currently studying Petroleum engineering at Texas A&M while moonlighting as a fighter-interesting. The 19-year-old karate phenom smashed through Francisco Trevino in just 57 seconds. I have a soft spot for karate so he will be someone I keep an eye on. He dragged Trevino to the cage in the clinch and threw bombs after dropping him to the ground. It will be interesting to see where this career will go. One thing is certain: the whole world will be watching.
The main event was one of the greatest fights I’ve ever seen.
Daniel Cormier and Alexander “the Mauler” Gustafsson put on a show. Early in the first round, Cormier executed a beautiful WWE-like bodyslam that would’ve made human fighters give up. Problem is that “The Mauler” is not human. The back-and-fourth battle almost came to an end in the third round when Gust landed a beautiful knee to the face of Cormier that would’ve ended most fights against humans. Problem is that Cormier is not human. The fifth round was the deciding factor in the fight. Gustafsson was gassed while Cormier, in his own words, “kept punching and kicking and punching. Even with a broken foot, I kept kicking.” Pulling out a tough victory like this is the true sign of a champion.
Is Ryan Bader ready for a title shot?
Dana White seems very non-committal on a Bader title shot. Ryan “Darth” Bader looked really good in this matchup-probably the best of his career. The evolution of his skills were on full display in his matchup with Rashad Evans. His counter-striking was precise, while his jab took Evans out of his game. This was technical striking that we haven’t seen from Bader. There was a lot of trash talk coming from Evans in the weeks leading up to this fight. “You start disrespecting me, calling me the easiest fight in the division — look where that got Rashad,” Bader said. Does he deserve the next title shot? Conventional wisdom says-yes. But there is one proverbial GIANT Light Heavyweight Elephant in the room that needs to be addressed.
The Proverbial Giant Light Heavyweight Elephant in the Room (PGLHWEITR?)
Jon Jones. With his legal situation currently settled, barring any stupid decisions on his part (he likes stupid decisions), it seems like a foregone conclusion that Jon Jones will be reinstated and back as the No. 1 contender since he never lost the title in a match. If this is fact, then it will push Ryan Bader back to the front of the line, only to have other fighters leapfrog him in that line. Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones 2 has a nice ring to it; the perfect matchup for Madison Square Garden.