Hot Tweets: UFC on ESPN 11, Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker, and Cody Garbrandt’s return

Hot Tweets: UFC on ESPN 11, Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker, and Cody Garbrandt’s return

We’re now fully into the summer, and the UFC is in full swing, just grinding out events every weekend, creating storylines to keep up with, fights to debate and discuss, and a whole host of fight-related content to parse through. Given all that, things are going to be a bit different this week.

Usually in this space, I’ll pick out a few questions and do deep dives into subjects I feel particularly compelled to talk about. But given the breadth of questions received this week, instead we’re going to try and cover as much ground as possible and see where that takes us. So without further ado, let’s get it on.

Curtis Blaydes vs. Alexander Volkov

Does Volkov have the ground skill he will need to be a threat from his back.

— JW (@liberallife_04) June 19, 2020

He does not. Alexander Volkov is screwed six ways to Sunday tonight. He just has no viable method of victory. Volkov is one of the few heavyweights in the UFC who doesn’t really possess one-punch KO power, meaning he needs to either land one of his best shots ever, or he needs too wear Curtis Blaydes out. And it’s pretty tough to wear someone out by having them smash your face into mat at will, just ask anyone who has ever fought Khabib Nurmagomedov.

If Blaydes wanted to, he could probably be competitive in a striking bout with Volkov. But he doesn’t want to. Curtis Blaydes is going to march across the cage, dump Volkov on his ass, and beat him up until Herb Dean pulls him off. Curtis Blaydes is a serious problem in the heavyweight division (unless your name is Francis Ngannou).

Cody Garbrandt’s return to form

Here’s a Q) Do you think Cody Garbrandt becomes champ again?

— Morbid Stuff (@OliHChapman) June 16, 2020

ICYMI: Cody Garbrandt looked as good as ever, torching Raphael Assuncao at UFC 250.

Probably not, but it’s not inconceivable. Garbrandt became champ because he is a tremendous athlete with a defined game that he knew how to leverage. Those traits still exist within him and at UFC 250 he looked as good as he ever has against one of the most underrated fighters in UFC history.

That being said, bantamweight is probable the second-best division in the sport (behind lightweight) and the road to the top is littered with hard fights. Aljamain Sterling, Petr Yan, and Marlon Moraes would all give Garbrandt problems and just because he had one good performance doesn’t mean he’s turned off that part of his brain that will let him run recklessly into a hook-throwing contest. I need to see more before I think he’s back on the championship trail.

Speaking of bantamweight

In your opinion, who is the best bantamweight of all time?

— Aundre Jacobs (@Aundrejacobsmma) June 16, 2020

GOAT arguments are always subjective but to me, it’s T.J. Dillashaw.

I care not at all about PEDs, banned substances, or EPO. Partly because I ascribe to the Diaz school of thought – “Every you motherf*ckers are on steroids” – but also because I just don’t care. I’m not going to turn this into a treatise on the many reasons that drug testing in MMA is completely asinine, so it’s enough to just say, if you don’t factor drug use into your opinion, Dillashaw obviously has the best resume at 135 right now. Especially because he beat Dominick Cruz.

That being said, if you think it’s Cruz, sure. The truth is, no one has really done enough to separate themselves truly in the division. Cruz probably could have were his knees not made of paper-mache, but thems the breaks. If only there was some kind of medical treatment, or performance-enhancing substance that could’ve helped him recover faster/keep his knees intact, then maybe we’d know for sure. But then again, who would want some kind of wonderful science like that to be part of the sport?

Fantasy matchmaking

2 dream matchups you’d love to see?
Doesn’t matter if they sound realistic or not.
And who’d win out of those 2 fights aswell.

— MaanTariq (@MuhammadOsmon) June 16, 2020

The number one with a bullet is Justin Gaethje vs. Conor McGregor. Legitimately, they are probably the two most exciting fighters in the history of the sport, they fight in the same weight class, and are one Khabib weight miss from facing off. They also perfectly match up with one another style-wise. There’s no fight in the sport I’d pick over that one.

For number two, honestly, Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou. Ngannou is like super-charged Anthony Johnson and that was always the one fight that seemed legitimately threatening to Jones. And that was before Jones started looking straight up bad. Now, there’s a damn good chance “The Predator” sparks him and if not, it’s probably a return of dope Jon Jones instead of awful-ourfighter-Jon-Jones.

Oh, and I think Gaethje beats Conor (leg kicks are the difference) and Ngannou bolts JBJ.

Weight-cutting fix

Safe weight brackets – monitored like drug tests. Fail and you have to move up.

What say ye?

— Derek Smith (@iamdelboy) June 16, 2020

Much like my feelings on PEDs in MMA, I don’t care too much about weight-cutting in the sport. To be sure, I think fighters are making an awful decision to do so, but I’m not really trying to police what fighters do with their own bodies, and I’m damn sure not trying to invest substantial resources into doing so while violating fighters’ privacy.

It’s also a futile effort. You’re not going to eradicate weight-cutting from the sport. If you wanted to implement a rule where more than one failed weight cut and the fighter was forced to move up, sure. It’s just gonna lead to more people gaming the system though. It’s a culture that needs to be changed and until that happens, you’re treating symptoms, not the disease.

So along those lines, I offer two rule changes to fix weight-cutting. First, move weigh-ins to 48 hours before fights. That allows fighters more time to rehydrate their bodies and brains before taking blows to the head, and overall improves the safety for everyone. Or, make all fights 5-minute rounds. Like anything else, cutting weight has tradeoffs. It’s harder to fight 25 minutes than it is to fight 15, especially if you sucked a bathtub’s worth of water out of your body the day before.

Tyron Woodley

Do you think Tyron Woodley should fight a big name next?

Or is it perfect for him to continue as planned for Leon Edwards?

— Palmwinepapi (@bluudclarrrt) June 16, 2020

I think Leon Edwards shouldn’t take that fight. Woodley has lost 10 rounds in a row, IN DOMINANT FASHION. They weren’t even close to being close. Woodley got humiliated to the point that is seems impossible to think anything other than he’s completely washed right now. Edwards should be trying his level best to make a fight with Jorge Masvidal happen instead.

For Woodley, he legitimately should retire. He never was that great at pulling the trigger in his career at the peak of his powers, but now he seems completely incapable of it. If Woodley keeps fighting, he’s going to keep getting shut out. That being said, if he still wants to compete, move to middleweight. It’s a soft division, he’s got a name, and he’s only a couple wins away from a title shot. Woodley should’ve moved up immediately after the Usman loss but now there’s no reason not to.

Fight Island

Which fight in Fight Island U think is the most exciting one ?

— HONG KONG (@AbdullahShwihdi) June 16, 2020

Honestly, none of them. Don’t get me wrong, most of the fights being held on Fight Island are good fights, but none of them really have that spark that gets the blood flowing. If I had to pick one though, it’s Pert Yan vs. Jose Aldo.

Jose Aldo is one of my favorite fighters ever, and should be in any GOAT conversation you want to have. Had Dana ever let him fight for the lightweight title, he’d have smoked whoever had it and he might get more respect than he does now. So though he doesn’t deserve this title shot (like, not even a little bit) it’s karma setting things right. And in Petr Yan, he actually faces one of the best possible chances for him to win the belt. Still probably not great, but Yan is an imminently more manageable fight for Aldo than Aljamain Sterling would be.

So all that is to say, WAR Aldo, get you a strap.

Anderson Silva

What two fights would you like to see Anderson Silva finish his career with?

— Chris (@MapleBacon88) June 19, 2020

I’ve been beating the drum for an Anderson Silva vs. Robbie Lawler fight for almost two years now and I still maintain that’s the fight that should be made. After that, I honestly don’t care. He should retire really, but if he’s going to insist on another fight, sure, let’s do Conor McGregor. MMA could use another insane fight, just for funsies.

Rapid fire

1 – why not anderson silva vs rockhold?
2 – will Max Holloway make the adjustments for the rematch?
3 – whats next for Amanda Nunes?
4 – why do people like O’malley so much?
5 – why does a guy like dc doesnt support fighters like Jorge fighting for better pay?

— PericuluminMora (@periculumin) June 16, 2020

  1. I mean, sure but seriously, Robbie Lawler is the only correct answer.
  2. I’m sure he’ll try but I’m not sure what he can really do. Volkanovski is really damn good. Plus, I’ve been saying this for awhile now, Max is at that age where he should start to drop off (not actual age, but fight years).
  3. Hopefully a professional boxing match while the UFC develops a contender for her.
  4. I dunno. Star power is hard to explain. Also, people really like weed.
  5. In any situation, it’s always useful to think of what someone might have to gain by taking either stance in the argument. That goes doubly for discussions about pay, and triply when those discussions are being had by someone with a potentially long and lucrative career working for a company both on camera and behind the scenes. I’m sure DC supports Jorge getting more money. But I’m also sure he’s not trying to stir waves with the UFC by co-signing his statements.

The UFC’s new apparel deal

Nike, Venum, or Under Armour and why?

— Alex Scaffidi (@alexscaffidi_) June 19, 2020

My real answer: Nike is definitely going to win. The cache of Nike is too good to pass up, especially as the UFC is now on ESPN. Bragging rights alone will make Dana pick them. But Venum is quite obviously the correct choice if you have any understanding of what MMA actually is.

The Ultimate Fighter

Dana White is adamant that The Ultimate Fighter will be back. Describe the perfect scenario in which you’d be intrigued by another season of TUF.

— Nick Baldwin (@NickBaldwinMMA) June 19, 2020

Clarification: Describe what changes you’d make to TUF to make it enjoyable for yourself.

— Nick Baldwin (@NickBaldwinMMA) June 19, 2020

The only time TUF has been intriguing since like, the fifth season were the times when it was introducing a new division. So if the UFC is going to bring it back, from sheer necessity they need to make it a women’s featherweight season. Also, they should really just reinvent the whole show. Living in pure isolation is completely unnecessary.

Or they could just turn it into MMA Survivor. I’d watch the hell out of that.

Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker

How much of a world is Dan Hooker going to be in next week?

— tim van der heiden (@limsma) June 19, 2020

I think maybe a big one. I think Dan Hooker is a very good fighter, and I think City Kickboxing is probably the best gym going right now, but I also think Dustin Poirier is the best lightweight in the world not named Khabib Nurmagomedov. Hooker is sharp and tactical and has excellent knees, but Poirier is a much bigger hitter and I think, over 25 minutes, that difference in power is going to be a major factor. I’ll tell you what though, I’m excited to see it.

Thanks for reading this week, and thank you for everyone who sent in Tweets! Do you have any burning questions about at least tacitly related to combat sports? Then you’re in luck because you can send your Hot Tweets to me, @JedKMeshew and I will answer them! Doesn’t matter if they’re topical or insane. Get weird with it. Let’s have fun.

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