411 MMA Fact or Fiction 7.02.14: Cub Swanson, Nate Marquardt, More
Posted by Wyatt Beougher on 07.02.2014
Is Nate Marquardt's future as a fighter at middleweight? Is Cub Swanson in line for a title shot after his win over Jeremy Stephens? Should Chael Sonnen head to professional wrestling? 411's Jonathan Solomon and Dan Plunkett debate these topics and more!
Welcome back to 411's MMA Fact or Fiction, and, I'm your host, Wyatt Beougher. Last week, Todd Vote took to the ForF cage and he was hoping to face someone other than me. Thankfully, Robert Practor was up to the task, and they had a very closely-contested bout, and, for once, the final vote reflected that, as Todd picked up the hard-fought 22-19 victory. A big thanks to both guys for knocking it out of the park last week, and I look forward to seeing them both in action again in the future..
This week is something of a dream match for me as Fact or Fiction host. Both these guys have been personal favorites of mine since well before I started writing for the site, yet somehow, I wasn't ever able to get them into head-to-head competition during my tenure as host (fun fact: they did square off in 2010 while Lambert was hosting though). That all changes this week!
TALE OF THE TAPE RED CORNER
Jonathan "The Juggernaut" Solomon
Contributor/Rankings Compiler, 411 MMA Zone
Dan "The Man" Plunkett
Contributor/Roundtable Compiler, 411 MMA Zone
Is Swanson in line for a title shot, or does he need another win?
1.) Cub Swanson remains at least one win away from a title fight.
Jonathan SolomonFICTION With the next title fight between Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes set for August 2nd, Cub Swanson should definitely fight the winner between November and February. He has won his past six fights and between them, he has earned four different official bonuses (two "Knockout of the Night" honors and two "Fight of the Night" honors). Assuming all principal parties are healthy, there's no reason to pass on Cub in favor of Frankie Edgar (assuming he beats B.J. Penn again) or Ricardo Lamas and Dustin Poirier's biggest win came against Erik Koch. If Swanson needs another win to get to Aldo (or Mendes), the only realistic situation would be that the champion needs a prolonged period to recover from the August championship fight.
Dan Plunkett: FICTION Despite his unwillingness to even ask for a title shot, Swanson should be next in line after Chad Mendes. There are only a few scenarios that could result in someone other than Swanson getting the title shot. One scenario is the upcoming Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes title match ending in some type of controversy that necessitates a rematch. Should Mendes beat Aldo, it's very possible Aldo will receive an immediate rematch much like Renan Barao. Then there's the possibility Dennis Bermudez, who has won as many matches consecutively as Swanson, looks great on July 26 against Clay Guida and leapfrogs Swanson for the title match. The last possibility has very low probability, that being BJ Penn beats Frankie Edgar, looks great, and decides to remain at featherweight for a title shot. Should all those scenarios fail to materialize, and it's likely they will, Aldo vs. Swanson II is the clear direction.
Is middleweight the best place for Nate the Great?
2.) If Nate Marquardt's training at welterweight was suffering because of his dietary issues, as he believes, then moving back to middleweight was the right decision for him.
Dan Plunkett:FACT If those issues were what led to a disappointing 1-3 welterweight run, sure, moving back to middleweight was absolutely the right decision. That disappointing run could have also been caused by fighting better fighters with knockout power, getting older, or low testosterone, but those are neither here nor there.
Jonathan SolomonFACT If Marquardt was drained in training and even more so during fights because of the dramatic weight cut the week before showtime, I'm surprised it took him this long to return to middleweight. Nate has been competing at welterweight for nearly two years, since the summer of 2012 when he looked tremendous in stopping Tyron Woodley. After that, he had a series of stinkers with losses to Tarec Saffiedine, Jake Ellenberger and Hector Lombard (the latter two by knockouts), so it stands to reason he was not at all comfortable with having to weigh in at 170-pounds. He is 35-years-old and has now competed in 48 official pro fights, so I can only imagine the type of wear and tear on his body (and mind to a degree). The last thing you would want is to push yourself to take an unnecessary and dramatic weight cut that gives you little advantage in fights.
Kelvin kinda looks like a Diaz in this picture. Does that mean I have to hate him now?
3.) Kelvin Gastelum's weight cutting issues mean he'll need at least one more win before he gets a decent step up in competition.
Jonathan SolomonFICTION I don't believe Joe Silva will baby Gastelum with his next fight. Sure, missing weight is unprofessional but Kelvin is considered one of the top welterweight contenders. Heading into his win over the weekend, the promotion had him as their 11th best 170-pounder (Gastelum is not ranked by the 411 MMA Rankings, though it's worth noting that our rankings include UFC, Bellator and foreign fighters). Names of potential opponents I would like to see him fight include Mike Pyle, Gunnar Nelson but how about Jake Ellenberger? A perennial top ten welterweight, Jake is 0-2 in his past two fights, so the prospect of handing Gastelum the first loss of his career seems like it would be worth taking that fight. Regardless of which of these options the UFC pursues, as long as Kelvin is not fighting a UFC newbie or unranked fighter, it's a step in the right direction.
Dan Plunkett:FICTION There's no precedent for holding a guy back from a step up in competition due to missing weight once. Sure, Gastelum needed two more hours to make weight in March, but he still made the weight. Such difficulties will give UFC pause when it comes to handing out a title shot, but that isn't the case here. Anthony Johnson was notorious for weight issues, but after beating Yoshiyuki Yoshida (when he missed by FIVE POUNDS), he was placed in a big fight against Josh Koscheck. Similarly, Paul Daley missed weight against Dustin Hazelett, but moved directly into a title eliminator against Josh Koscheck. John Lineker has had a hell of a time making weight in the UFC, missing three times, but continued to climb the ladder with each win until running into Ali Bagautinov. If Gastelum doesn't face steeper competition in his next fight compared to his last, it won't be due to his issues making weight.
With Pat joining the UFC Hall of Fame, is there any hope for Frank?
4.) Pat Miletich's announced induction into the UFC Hall of Fame is surprising, considering the bad blood between he and Dana White. Even so, with Miletich, Tito Ortiz, and Ken Shamrock inducted, Frank Shamrock's induction is still unlikely to happen.
Dan Plunkett:FACT It's funny. When facing criticism for certain omissions from the all-important UFC Hall of Fame, White would claim the Hall was only for those whose accomplishments came during the Zuffa-era (with the exception of Royce Gracie). Miletich went 1-2 under Zuffa, which by Dana's stated criteria opens the floodgates of those worthy of induction.
Yes, Miletich's induction is surprising, especially considering he didn't seem aware of it when the initial reports emerged. His bad blood with Zuffa goes back to shortly after they purchased the company, when Dana & co didn't give Pat a rematch with Carlos Newton. Things were better in late-2005, when Miletich and Newton was slated to be coaches on season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter, but Dana changed those plans without notifying Pat. Their relationship worsened when Pat became a coach with the IFL – a company Dana was at war with. The two sides never seemed to make up, which I would have expected to come before an induction.
As surprising as the Miletich news was, Frank Shamrock being inducted would be ten times as surprising. The relationship between Dana and Frank seems to be broken beyond repair, as neither has expressed interest in burying the hatchet.
Jonathan SolomonFACT Miletich and White reportedly settled their beef a few years back, so it's not a total surprise to see him named as the next UFC HOF addition. Clearly, his accomplishments as a fighter and coach are more than worthy of being honored. As for Frank Shamrock, I am confident he will never be invited into the UFC Hall of Fame. Unless something dramatic happens one day that leads to both Frank and Dana squashing their beef, it will never happen. Both are stubborn people who do not see the value in being the bigger man and trying to turn the page. It sucks for UFC and MMA fans, particularly fans who have come along post-Ultimate Fighter. Frank Shamrock is legitimately one of the best fighters of all-time and revolutionized the sport. You could argue that the first real mixed martial artist to compete in the UFC was Frank. Unfortunately, he has since been erased from UFC history thanks to the problems between Dana White and Shamrock and evidently, not even Lorenzo Fertitta is able (or willing) to do the right thing.
Is this what the stands for UFC's shows are going to look like?
5.) With two shows on the same day at the end of May, two shows on the same day this past weekend, and two shows on separate days this coming weekend, the UFC is risking fan burnout.
Jonathan SolomonFACT It's not risking anything at this point because there has been a clear case of burnout for fans. Since May 1st, the UFC has produced eight events (with two events taking place on the same day twice). Back in April, the Jon Jones headlined UFC 172 did approximately 350,000 buys on pay-per-view. UFC 173 with Renan Barao defending against T.J. Dillashaw did just over 200,000 buys while UFC 174 with Demetrious Johnson may have topped out at roughly 100,000 buys. The way you will easily be able to tell in definitive terms that there is a burnout amongst fans is when the UFC 175 buyrate comes out in a few months. With Chris Weidman/Lyoto Machida and Ronda Rousey on the card, there's no reason the show should do anything under 700,000 buys on PPV. There are too many shows with cards that are not appealing, so you pick and choose which shows you will pay attention to. It's not good in the long run, especially when the UFC is struggling to build new stars. They are banking on a boom in Mexico beginning at the end of the year but here in the United States, the UFC is not growing anymore.
Dan Plunkett:FACT Aside from UFC's top executives, I don't know anyone who would disagree. UFC has eagerly adapted the model of frequent, diluted shows its owners once criticized boxing for. In the first 26 weeks of 2014, UFC ran 22 events, a number it took the company 36 weeks to reach in 2013. That is too many events for even hardcore fans to keep track of. Personally, aside from the top couple of fights, I usually only find out who is fighting on a card when I put together the roundtables for this site. Did you guys know Stefan Struve is fighting Saturday? I didn't. UFC isn't expecting fans to watch every show, especially the Fight Pass shows which are geared towards the local audience, but the absurd amount of content is making the promotion harder to follow. Once upon a time, a show like Saturday's, which by all rights should be the biggest of the year to this point, would have been looked forward to with excitement a month ago. But in June alone, there have already been four shows, taking UFC promotional and media attention away from major matches like Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida and Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis. That build to big events is nearly non-existent due to UFC's hectic schedule, so fan burnout should be expected.
So who won? Did the wisdom of Solomon win you over, or did Dan score the big win? You've got until midnight eastern on Saturday to vote, so make sure you make your voice heard!
Too funny not to use
Bonus) Chael Sonnen's future lies in professional wrestling.
Dan Plunkett: FICTION I don't see it panning out. He could have some value in a one-off match to boost WWE Network subscriptions, but he's 37 and more likely to want an announcing role. He may be good as an announcer, but I doubt WWE, with all the money they're losing this year, will be eager to bring in a high-priced color commentator. As for TNA, I don't think he'll wind up there unless it's in some type of agreement with Bellator. Ultimately, I think Chael will end up back with the UFC in some capacity. Despite everything he's done, they still like him there and will find a spot for him.
Jonathan Solomon : FICTION The only way I can see Chael Sonnen pursuing pro wrestling on a somewhat steady basis is a long time down the road. A company would have to be oblivious to character to get into bed with Sonnen, a man who has consistently failed drug tests. WWE in particular would not want to start a relationship with Chael when they have their own wellness program that allegedly requires talent to undergo regular drug testing. TNA Impact Wrestling has no such thing and are tone-deaf to reality, so perhaps they would show some interest but even then, I doubt they have enough money to spend on Chael over the next year. I don't know whether Chael has been a smart investor or not, but I would not count on seeing Sonnen in the squared circle or on pro wrestling TV anytime soon. He's much more likely to end up back on Fox after all the controversy dies down.
And that's it for today, but we'll be back next week with another contest! 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!