411 MMA Fact or Fiction 2.28.14: Daniel Cormier, Nick Diaz, More
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 02.28.2014
Is Nick Diaz delusional for saying he's the UFC's only draw? Does Daniel Cormier need another win at light heavyweight before challenging for the title? 411's Eric Moore and Koeddy Laemmle debate these topics and more!
Welcome back everyone to another edition of 411's MMA Fact or Fiction, and I'm your host, Wyatt Beougher. It's day three of this year's tournament, and so far we're off to a great start. If for some reason you've missed the beginning of the tournament, let's start with the brackets and go from there:
And make you check out Wednesday's column and yesterday's column and vote for who you think won. Just like last year, the voting window for each column will be approximately 73 hours from the time they go live on the site, so you've got until midnight EST on Saturday to vote for Wednesday's, midnight EST on Sunday to vote for yesterday's. Today, we've got a play-in matchup for the eighth seed in the East and the right to face returning champion Alex Rella in the opening round. Both of these guys are making their MMA Fact or Fiction debut, but don't let that fool you, as they've both provided excellent responses to all five statements.
1.) In spite of an impressive win against Patrick Cummins, Daniel Cormier still needs at least one more win at light heavyweight before he challenges for the championship.
Eric Moore:FACT While the win was impressive, it was against an unknown and it was his debut at 205. Would his bout have been against Evans as planned and the result been similar to what we saw against Cummins, then he would definitely be in the conversation to face the Jones/Teixeira winner later this year. But, as it stands now, I definitely feel he needs one more, and he has competition in Gustafsson/Manuwa should Gus win in impressive fashion over the hot up-and-comer next month. Maybe his one more will be against the winner of that bout on March 8 to determine a clear-cut #1, maybe it will be against Evans when he returns or the likes of a Phil Davis should he beat the returning Johnson. Time will tell, but barring injury, he is definitely one away from a shot in my eyes.
Koeddy Laemmle:FICTION In an era where Nick Diaz, Chael Sonnen and, and most recently, Miesha Tate got title shots after coming off losses, I don't believe this is as much of an issue. Cormier, undefeated at 14-0, would be the #1 contender in the Heavyweight division right now, whose champion is injured for the foreseeable future, and he has beaten big name heavyweight fighters. The only other guys who could make a legitimate argument for a title shot are Cormier's original opponent Rashad Evans and Alexander Gustafsson, who hasn't fought since he lost his legendary encounter with champion, Jon Jones. If Evans hadn't injured himself and lost the fight, nobody would question whether Cormier deserves his shot or not.
Even without GSP in the division, can Rory become the champion?
2.) Even though he's now willing to fight for the UFC welterweight title now that his teammate Georges St. Pierre has relinquished the title, Rory MacDonald will not win the title in the next two years.
Koeddy Laemmle:FACT I went back and forth on this one since Rory MacDonald was the guy I really thought was going to be the future of, not just the Welterweight division, but MMA in general after his 2010 encounter with Carlos Condit. Without a doubt, Rory will challenge for the title at some point, but GSP will be back within two years and unless he comes back as a Middleweight, Rory will end up in the same situation where GSP is champion and he can't challenge. Rory could always move up a weight class but I think he'd flounder in the Middleweight division which has seen a sudden increase in title contenders over the last year.
Eric Moore:FACT MacDonald has shown immense skill and ability, but he has seemed to struggle of late. His win over Maia was very encouraging, yet this was against a man whose striking is not exactly deadly. Maia also showed the ability to get on top of McDonald, which raises questions in a wrestler-heavy division. I am going with the (kind of) bold prediction that not only does Hendricks win his bout with Lawler, but he will retain in a rematch against Condit, win over McDonald, and possibly beat Shields, assuming he keeps up his winning ways over Lombard and his opponent to follow (he's two away in my eyes). There is also the lurking Matt Brown, who could very well cause some chaos on his return. I feel Hendricks will remain at the top of the mountain for the rest of 2014 and all of 2015, leaving no room for McDonald to capture gold in the next two years.
Will Assuncao get the next crack as Barao?
3.) With six straight wins inside the Octagon, Raphael Assuncao should be the next challenger for Renan Barao.
Eric Moore:FACT Though Assuncao didn't look his best, he did pick up a good win this past weekend against Munhoz to solidify his case. He has one of the best streaks right now of any fighter not holding gold, which only backs his claim up even more. Add in that Barao has recently dispatched the other top 3 guys in Faber, McDonald, and Wineland, and you are left with Assuncao and Dillashaw, which I give the nod to Raphael and his split win in their fight (pretty good one, too) from October.
Koeddy Laemmle:FACT He has to be the next challenger, it makes the most sense at this point. Faber just lost and I don't believe there's justification for an immediate rematch and Michael McDonald hasn't fought since he lost to Faber. This would leave Assuncao as the most logical contender. There is a lack of real title contenders in the men's Bantamweight division and Renan Barao already ran through the top contenders during his time as interim champion. The next guys in line are TJ Dillashaw (who Assuncao recently beat) or Takeya Mizugaki. The Bantamweight division desperately needs Dominick Cruz to get healthy before they run out of contenders!
Has Nick Diaz finally lost his damned mind?
4.) Nick Diaz claiming to be the UFC's only draw and refusing to come back for anything less than a title fight is laughable at best and a worrying indicator of his mental state at worst.
Koeddy Laemmle:FACT It would be asinine for the UFC to bring back Nick Diaz and put him in an immediate title match. First off the welterweight division is already set for the foreseeable with Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler fighting for the title at UFC 171 and Carlos Condit earns himself a title shot if he beats Tyron Woodley. Not to mention Rory MacDonald is one big win away from earning himself a title shot as well. There are also plenty of other guys who will shoot up the Welterweight rankings by year's end. Also, Diaz is 1-2 since he originally returned to the UFC, which doesn't exactly scream title shot.
Eric Moore:FACT You know, I am not one to defend a Diaz in general, and that stance doesn't change much here. Now, it is true he has been part of very large cards, but to say he is the ONLY draw is where I draw the line, finding it very laughable indeed. While I do agree the UFC is headed for its worst PPV year numbers-wise with the loss of GSP and Silva, they still have marketable stars in Jones, Velasquez and, of course, Rousey, among others. Are they better than Diaz? I cannot say. What I can do is look back at the numbers and see that Diaz was part of a near million buy card, but that was mainly due to GSP and the marketing effort behind it. His other cards saw 400k versus Condit (if you remember, this was initially the GSP fight, but injury interjected) and less than 300k versus Penn. With numbers like this, he is right on par with the main event field. His belief that he is the only draw left goes well into laughable territory and his demand for a title shot is, quite frankly, par for the crazy course as far as Diaz brothers go, so I don't think his mental condition is really any worse than it was before.
Is either of them a "good" role model?
5.) Arianny Celeste suggesting that Ronda Rousey isn't a good role model for young girls because she's not "nice" to her opponents is laughable, considering what Celeste's primary responsibility is on any given UFC show.
Eric Moore:FACT It's laughable, but only in the "shake my head and sigh" kind of laugh since, you know, she's more or less a pair of boobs walking in circles with a numbered card. I guess she didn't say that she would be a better one, so there's that. But seriously, I honestly couldn't care less about the role model argument. Fighters are fighters. If they respect their opponents, great. They are then also decent human beings. If they choose to respect some and disrespect others, well, that's on them. Parents should teach their kids right from wrong anyway so they can identify when someone is being a colorful c-word and make their own judgments about their role models from there.
Koeddy Laemmle:FICTION I think Arianny misspoke a little bit but she's not completely wrong. Rousey's backstory is one of hardship and triumph, from competing in the Olympics at age 17 to conquering the MMA world and becoming unarguably the most popular female fighter ever. However, Ronda's attitude as of late doesn't fit that of someone who is a "role model". I think this is more or less what Arianny was trying to say and I can totally understand where she's coming from. Rousey has the opportunity right now to be the biggest female role model in sports today, but she is more focused on in-ring performance to care. As of late, Rousey has accepted the role of bad guy, even referring to herself as a "heel". This sounds like a person who would rather use the crowd's resentment towards her as motivation than their cheers, making it impossible to be a full blown role model. Nobody grows up wanting the rest of the world to hate them.
Who do you think won this play-in contest? Did Eric make a strong showing for commenters everywhere and earn your vote, or did Koeddy make his MMA Zone Fact or Fiction debut in dominant fashion? Voting will be open until midnight EST on Monday, so make sure you vote and make your voice heard! This tournament can't progress without you!
And that's it for today, but we'll be back next week with more opening round action! As always, if there's anything you'd like to see featured in a future edition, leave your statement in the comments and I'll add it in. Let us know what you thought in the comments, on Twitter, or on Google+. And please, be sure to vote!