Dana White famously said after UFC Fight Night 46, the promotion’s last show in Dublin, that “I have every fighter on the UFC roster telling me they want to fight in Dublin.” The closer their next event in Ireland’s capital gets, the more evidence there is to prove the truth of that statement.
Joining the likes of world-class kickboxer Tyrone Spong, knockout artist Sam Alvey and many more in asking for a place on the card is Sweden’s Ilir Latifi, who took to his Facebook account to make his desire public and even called out the opponent he’d like. Tagging the Brazilian in the post, he wrote “Fabio Maldonado, you are a great warrior and I heard you can get ready in 6 weeks for a fight? I fought last year in Dublin and the corwd and atmosphere was fantastic. What about we put on a show for the Irish fans at UFC Dublin 24th of October?” He then also went on to encourage his fans to help make it happen.
As he mentioned, Latifi fought on the last Dublin card, earning a one-punch knockout victory over Chris Dempsey in a little over 2 minutes. “The Sledgehammer” has lived up to his nickname in his UFC career so far and is coming off an even quicker knockout than his aforementioned win in Dublin; a 56 second destruction of Hans Stringer at UFC Glasgow.
Maldonado is a fighter who fans have really taken a shine to since he joined the ranks of the UFC. When fans see his name on a card, they know his fight will be a serious candidate for Fight of the Night. Like Latifi, he holds a win over Hans Stringer but his last fight was a decision loss to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Interestingly, in a recent interview with MMAFighting.com, Maldonado dropped Latifi’s name when discussing potential next opponents and also said October would be the best month for his next fight. It is likely that this prompted Latifi’s call out.
On the face of it, this fight makes sense for all parties and when two fighters want to square off bad enough, the UFC usually makes it happen. With 8 fights already booked for the Dublin card, space for further fights is already at a premium, especially with hometown fighters like Neil Seery, Paul Redmond and Aisling Daly yet to be booked. With a host of fighters queuing up for a place on the card, it remains to be seen whether Latifi vs Maldonado makes it to the shores of the Emerald Isle, but if it does, it will be a great addition an already promising card and fans will be anticipating the two strikers putting on a highly entertaining fight.
Long Read: King and Conqueror: What makes a better Champion?
King & Conqueror
As it Stands:
In less than 20 years the UFC has become the definitive entity that has risen above the rest to become a household name in MMA. Going from the sport from a sideshow activity to, a leading brand in Sports Entertainment at the highest level.
In a promotion company’s case, they are only as good as their talent so although the cultural elevation of UFC over the years is greatly due to brothers Franklin & Lorenzo Fertitta & friend/business partner Dana White, this “Holy Trinity” in the business of MMA could not have sold the UFC for 3.33 Billion to the talent agency WME-IMG in July 2016 if not for the Infamy of High-Level MMA & Talent displayed by the Hardened, Seasoned, Electrifying Athletes and in the words of MMA Fans, the “Trained Killers” the UFC has on its roster.
Though recently in the UFC, considering its progression and recent decisions and or lack of, I see myself asking a question…
* Are the champions, the Top Contenders & Staple Names, these “Trained Killers” best for the business & the sport when –
- A. They keep humble & fair. They are fighting, fighter after fighter by the numbers. Breaking records, garnering unbroken win streaks, an array of finishes etc, like DJ?
- B. When they are Enigmatic, Polarizing, bypass general rank and file and secure “Big Money Fights” & win or lose they put on a performance, like Conor?
Let’s try answering that. So, it stands to reason B preceded A and got people watching (The Lidell, Rampage era).
It also stands to reason that once people were watching, to sustain and go to the next level, it was A’s turn to preceded B, legitimizing the High-Level credibility (The Silva & GSP Era).
It then stands to reason once more that once legitimized, B needed to lead the charge again to take not just MMA but particularly The UFC into a whole new level of Spectacle, “casual” Viewership & brand recognition at an Increasingly World Wide level, making it irresistible for potential buyers (The Ronda & McGregor era)
Using two fighters as Archetypes for A & B I will elaborate on the strengths & weaknesses of each and finally explain why Both are necessary
– Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson posing with 3 of his 12 UFC Belts gained over Multiple Title Defenses –
Fighter A – Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (27-2 -1)
- Iron Sharpens Iron
- Another level entirely regarding challenges. The Champ has a Giant Target on his back. Maintaining his place on top by constantly fighting the Biggest threats to his throne. Being able to Stay at the top, might be the Hardest thing to do.
- Fighting so many various opponents for rounds upon rounds upon rounds, compounds experience gained. DJ’s fights are always Title Fights so always potentially 5 rounds, at the highest level, against the biggest threats to his throne. He has 12 Flyweight Title Fights on his record. The sheer magnitude of Experience gained from that amount of Octagon time at that high a level is almost beyond comprehension.
- It is easier to extrapolate information in order to assess a fighter’s ability from consistent data. Fight metrics really start to add up especially when combined with experience over time. This makes breaking records not just easier but clear, obvious & definitive eg
– Has made 11 successful title defenses, beating Anderson Silva for most in UFC history
– His Pro MMA Record has 11 Submissions, 11 Decisions & 5 KO/TKO’s
– Total Fight Time is 5h 9m & 12s the longest average is 20 minutes (According to Fight-Metrix).
- This is necessary for the story DJ has written so far, for the credibility of UFC’s claim to have the highest caliber talent & the legitimacy of the sport itself.
- It doesn’t matter what people feel about Demetrious as a person or a “sports star”. His ability, accolades, constantly challenging himself at the highest level & succeeding. Nobody can deny his achievements. It’s rare in MMA to have hazy “was that in or out”, type scenarios that cause confusion and affect the result. It’s far more easy to spot when one human beats up and outclasses another. Not to mention Knocking Out the Knockout Artists in Joseph Benavidez and Submitting the BJJ Specialists in Wilson Reis. As a result, on paper alone based off simple facts, his ability, skill & tenure is Undeniable.
- Polite = Boring.
- When Kings/Queens is too polite, respectful & fair, it may lead to viewers claiming the fighter is “boring”.
- Wolf Tickets.
- When a King/Queen are believed to be so far above their competitors, the matchup can be easily perceived a foregone conclusion, fans can lose faith in the Promotion aspect. I have seen them express that they can feel somewhat hoodwinked in regards to this scenario. This lead can to an indifference about the next challenge to the title.
- No Polls-No attraction, it’s physics.
- Fighters like DJ are a lot of things, Polarising is not one of them. Rarely would you find him express his personality or tell his story in a manner that attracts the casual fan to watch? He doesn’t start arguments/debates so, therefore, no feuds and thus struggles to generate hype outside the hardcore fans. It becomes a “punching the clock” scenario. DJ himself has been found legitimately saying phrases very close to “I’m just going to work” on multiple occasions. This talk can make it difficult for fans to take a deeper interest.
- Can’t spell “Successful Sport” without “Cold Business”
- Taking the above cons into account means the King/Queen can be Extremely difficult to promote. The less promotion, the less interest generated. Less interest means less profit overall. Less profit can mean the promotion machine itself may begin to put less money and time in promoting the next fight if the fighter in question hasn’t yielded the return desired. It is a business at the end of the day.
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists.” Lou Tzu
Conor gaining “Double Champ” status after beating Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight Belt
Fighter B – “The Notorious” Conor McGregor (21-3-0)
- Conquerors don’t need to wait in line, be polite or run through the rank and file. They knock on the door of the loudest, toughest man/woman, defender, guardian and or King/Queen and Demand they come out and fight, in a manner so that all the town’s people can see. This can attract casual to hardcore fan all the way to the average townsperson who happened to get wind of the talk around the town, so to speak…
- Conor has Honed his skill set to end fights quick, sudden and with an exclamation point. If a fight goes on longer, his style again leans to the more entertaining side of the sport. Either way, his fights are memorable and make a lot of noise within the MMA community.
- Conquerors focus on the weakness of their opponents, believe in themselves and have so much drive to the point of obsession that the intensity they can bring to an encounter can have serious effects on the mindset & psychology of the opponent. In some cases, the battle is won before the bell is even rung. Eg. McGregor stealing Aldo’s Championship Belt @ The Convention Center in Dublin, Ireland for the UFC 189 World Tour Press Conference.
- People band together for a conqueror. If they see a person with so much Conviction & drive, creating displays of power & dominance, who shouts to the world that they are coming, with no fear, confident that they will destroy anyone who is in their sights and no one can stop them, people will follow, a country worth of people. Pretty much Ireland as a whole voice walk behind Conor, chanting war cries of the opponents inevitable demise and in the terms of Prize Fighting, that equates to Tickets Sold.
- All the above add to a major factor that separates Conor from Demetrious, Conor can guarantee the UFC a number of PPV’s and Ticket Buys. He garners so much attention, whether he is loved or hated and thusly generates a Lot of money for the UFC. So much so it is arguable that the likes of McGregor and in the past Ronda Rousey helped elevate the name of the UFC to the level where it’s net worth is in the range of 3-4 Billion. This gives him a lot of leeway and weight to move around, the like of which other fighters Don’t have.
- The Khan Empire & Alexander had a philosophy that settling, no longer moving from challenge to challenge, battling from city to city Conquering ruler after ruler taking what they owned, making it yours and absorbing their people into your own army makes you weak, out of practice, complacent and therefore Vulnerable. Conor doesn’t stay in one place. He Conquered Cage Warriors as a Double Champ and moved right on and out into the UFC like it was just another battle. After he sacked the city of the Featherweight division he went on to the next challenge, the Lightweight Title at 155lbs.
- Infamy is its own currency
- Before Conor fought Alvarez he fought Nate Diaz at 170lbs (as a replacement fight when Champ at the time RDA had to pull out of his fight due to injury) for no belt and lost via rear naked choke submission in the 2nd Rnd but his Infamy, conviction & Notoriety gained him a rematch with Nate, again at 170lbs (A weight Neither fighter is Rostered under) and Won by Unanimous Decision.
- This method has got Conor his own records and accolades. After he fought Nate for the second time, on Nov/12/2016 Conor McGregor went on to fight and beat Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight Championship Belt, becoming the first “Double Champ” in UFC History, holding two belts in two weight classes simultaneously. This was his 1st & to this day, Only fight at Lightweight (155lbs).
- Pays to be a Star
- In Short, I’ll use the tagline “For The Love Of The Money” by The O’Jays to illustrate my point on this matter.., “Money, Money, Money, Moh-naay… MOHHHH-NAAAAAY!!”
- Not everyone will agree to your dominance. If you pick the fights, jump from place to place whenever you feel like it. Many claim that Conor is Yet to fight an opponent who is first class at grappling, can take a shot and is happy to lay on Conor and make it a boring fight.
- Jumping from division to division and not defending his belts, never looking back, only forward, has left the division’s top contenders in a mess. As a result of all of this, the ranks say one thing, the fighters say another, fans are usually split and Conor can Never go down as the definitive best in any division he fought in as he has Never secured the Tenure in the divisions in the manner that a fighter like Demetrious has.
- Conquerors are unique and they don’t come around often. People get inspired and driven in themselves by the methods and paths marked by a Conor McGregor type person. This goes bad as they try to replicate the path and method to little or no success and cause even bigger upsets in the division. Eg Tony Ferguson & Khabib Nurmagomedov left waiting for Conor to return. After missing weight again, Tony won’t fight Khabib and wanted the Money Fight with Conor. Khabib also shared that goal. Meanwhile, luckily a fighter named Kevin Lee made his way up securing a fight with Ferguson for the Interim Title at 155lbs which Ferguson Won via Triangle Choke in Rnd3 making him the interim Champion (Interim meaning next in line for the belt). Though many think (fans, fighters, journalists, even Conor’s striking coach Owen Roddy alike) the more likely person Conor fights next is Nate Diaz for the Trilogy fight but this time at 155lbs and possibly for the belt. Effectively making the Interim Belt for Ferguson won pointless.
- Conquerors make a lot of enemies, people will always hate someone who Conquered them more often than them and won’t ever, Universally, agree on his overall place in the sport and ability. He may have wrecked shop but he left stones unturned, challenges to be completed and failed to solidify himself in any one place for a long enough in the divisions he has fought in.
- What Conor has achieved up to this point in his career can be seen as 40% fight skill 50% business & marketing and 10% mental warfare. Taking that into account his G.O.A.T. status will always be up for debate and will lean between those who see MMA more as entertainment and those who see MMA more as a pure sport.
“The Conqueror is regarded in Awe. The wise command respect but the benevolent wins our Affection” William Dean Howells
So, what is better, King or Conqueror?
In the terms of the modern Sports Business machine, In my opinion, I would argue Neither is bad and BOTH are not just good but Exceptionally Necessary.
- A Fighter like DJ lets the hardcore and more uber fans know the company is still about the sport, they still care and want to put on by the numbers fights following rank and file. Those fans get to watch the career rule of a prestigious King as he retains his title with the humility & class expected from a Tenured Champ.
- They define what perfection in the sport is, they always will hold a bar at a place that while some fighters may stare at the spectacle of the lights and dream of money. For most fighters however even the knowledge there is bar they did not reach it yet, it is a constant nagging that must be addressed.
- Competition breeds obsession, obsession breeds hard work & dedication, hard work & dedication desires challenge, challenges completed desire recognition. For those, the chance, even the opportunity for the chance, to dethrone a King like DJ is far too much to ignore.
- A Fighter like Conor raises the stock price of a company like the UFC, pure and simple. He has reached a level where he has elevated himself from the sport to the point that he got his contract pushed away to the side while he went off to boxing and fought Floyd “Money Mayweather”.
- Not long ago MMA was something a person watched when no one was around, worried that someone might find the tapes of the “Bloodsport” of “Human Cockfighting” and think you odd or crazy. Now, Conor is side by side with the president of the UFC representing MMA, sharing the stage with Boxing, The most prestigious, Honored, Respected and Longest tenured fighting sport in the world.
Conquerors bring the sport to the mainstream. Conor made such a ruckus, leaving such an impression, grabbing Pandora’s Box of MMA & raining it down all over the modern world for all to see, experience and take note of.
Kings keep the sport pure and as legitimate as the sport is capable of being. DJ provide the range of dedicated fans, arguably the only people who pay for subscription service to fight libraries, watch live events at 5 am because they live in a different country (That’s me), watch the fight press conferences and fight week interviews, their time & monies worth. Both King & Conqueror collectively give all manner of fans the peace of mind that the Bastion of MMA, the UFC is still “As Real as It Gets”.
Wrapping Things Up…
Every Yin needs a Yang but as the sport is still evolving maybe will see one day, a fusion between Demetrious & Conor, some would argue Jon Jones could have been that guy “could” being the loaded word.
I leave you now with some final questions for you readers.
- Does a fighter like that exist in the rankings, in their early stages, still gestating, waiting for their time?
- Are they already here and known but we are sleeping on them?
- Has one existed before and I am missing them?
- Do you think Jon Jones could still maybe, be that Guy?
- Which do you prefer, Kings/Queens or Conquerors?
No More “Nice Boy” for Norman Parke Ahead of KSW 40
MMA Latest spoke to ‘Stormin’ Norman Parke, as he prepares for a rematch against Mateusz Gamrot at KSW 40 on October 22nd, where the lightweight title is on the line.
Parke (23–6–1) is a 9-time UFC veteran who won The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes tournament back in 2012. He lost to Gamrot by decision in their first fight at KSW 39. It was an extremely close and highly controversial fight, due to a finger bite from Gamrot during a grappling exchange on the canvas.
Q: KSW said they were going to review the bout because of the bite, did they ever speak to you again regarding this?
No, they didn’t. Mark Goddard and Tomasz Bronder sat down after the fight and had a discussion, but it was basically my word against his. They said nothing is going to be done about it so I thought, either pay me my win bonus, or set up a rematch then.
Before facing me I don’t think Mateusz had ever lost a round, he’s always dominated in the cage. Whenever people see him come up against someone who can defend that take down like myself, they realise he’s got problems on the feet, and they now know I’m a bad matchup for him.
Q: Given you could be a champion after this fight, do you expect a contract offer from KSW that is considerably better than your current one?
After this fight, I’ve got one more on my contract for KSW. Of course, I want that money to be going up. Mateusz has been brought up by this promotion his whole career, I respect that he’s still champion, but at the end of the day I have the same goals and want that.
Because of that, I don’t want the judges having any type of favouritism, it’s happened to me before in the likes of Brazil so I’m pissed off about that. I need to get my job done before the time runs out, that way there’s nothing anybody can say because the ball is in my court.
Q: Of course there was the bite, but what else pissed you off about the way he fought in the first fight?
I always show up to fight, I want this guy just to fight me, because in the last fight he was running away the whole time. I mean he’s the champion, come on! Show me something, stand in the middle and fight, don’t be on the back foot running away.
Q: For the first time in the history of KSW, this is a title fight that is contracted for five rounds. Does the extra 10 minutes alter your preparation in camp at all?
No not really, I mean the training I had for Francisco Trinaldo was the best, it was on point everything was perfect. But once I came to fight, after the first round I felt like someone had stuck a hot knife in my chest I couldn’t even breathe.
I think it’s more mindset to be honest I really do. Given this fight is going for or five rounds it’s no problem at all, in the last fight he was a lot more tired than me, I just kept coming forward and I could have done that for another two more rounds.
Q: Is there any animosity towards Matuesz as a person, or do you leave the tension between you two for fight purposes only?
We did speak after the fight, I spoke about the rematch and he wanted me to fight Renato Gomes Gabriel instead. I said, why’s that? So this is how it is, you just don’t want to fight me again. When we went to Poland to promote the fight some of the fans who were young kids went up to take a picture with him, and he didn’t want to take any pictures, it’s things like that I don’t like about him, like he’s upper-class and got something shoved up his arse.
Q: I asked Norman to explain the following quote he commented on one of his most recent Facebook posts,
“Can you picture how famous I would be if there was the tri-color wrapped around me, its a statement to why the guys from the north have to work harder to get the proper recognition they deserve“
I’m probably going to rattle people cages, but it’s absolutely true. People in England don’t really like you because you’re “Half British half Irish’, and then people in the south say stuff like “Oh you’re building the British government.”
When I fought in the UFC they wouldn’t even let me wear my own flag. They said no every time they said no, and I was like why? If you’re an American would you come out with a Canadian flag? I found it a disgrace.
Q: Will Gamrot again be apprehensive on the feet to trade with you and look to make it a wrestling match? How will you become the new KSW lightweight champ?
He needs to knock me out or submit me, because its five rounds. I’m a better boxer than him, I can defend a takedown, I feel like I’m better than him. I think it’ll come down to who wants it more, and I want it more, I think if the going gets tough he will break and quit, I can just see it in him.
I’m not being the nice boy anymore, I’m taking this sh*t a bit more seriously and being more aggressive in there, I need to go in there and not give a f*ck, talk to him, taunt him, have no stress and no worries.
You can watch Parke in action next weekend at KSW 40 on the organisation’s official website, https://kswtv.com/, you can also watch it on the Irish TV channel, eir Sport. The card will begin at 17:00 BST.
KSW 40: Ariane Lipski Faces Mariana Morais for Flyweight Title
KSW women’s flyweight champion Ariane Lipski will defend her title against Brazilian Mariana Morais at KSW 40 in Dublin, Ireland.
Lipski (9-3) is coming into KSW 40 on a seven-fight winning streak. She last fought against Diana Belbita in May, winning by submission in the first round. “Violence Queen” was involved in KSW 33’s Knockout of The Night, when she defeated young Polish prospect Katarzyna Lubonska with a beautiful combination of strikes.
After this fight “Violence Queen” had an incredible rise and ended up becoming a fan favorite in Poland. Many fans had compared her to Joanna Jedrzejczyk due to her fantastic striking skills.
Morais (12-4) makes her debut for KSW against Lipski. The former Invicta fighter is coming to KSW 40 on a two-fight winning streak. She won her last fight against Vitoria Ferreira by knockout in the second round.
Now that this title fight between Ariane Lipski and Mariana Morais is confirmed, here are all your other fights for a fantastic card as Dublin hosts KSW 40:
- Mariusz Pudzianowski vs James McSweeney – Heavyweight bout
- Mateusz Gamrot vs Norman Parke – Lightweight Title Fight
- Michal Materla vs Paulo Thiago – Middleweight bout
- Ariane Lipski vs Mariana Morais – Flyweight title bout
- Maciej Jewtuszko vs David Zawada – Lightweight bout
- Michal Fijalka vs Chris Fields – Light-heavyweight bout
- Lukasz Chlewicki vs Paul Redmond – Lightweight bout
- Konrad Iwanowski vs Paul Lawrence – Welterweight bout
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