Praise to our dark lord of the Satanic Starbucks cup, finally a TUF episode with two fights. Nobody is tugging one off into the styrofoam sushi tray today.
Last week, Martin Svensson defeated Thanh Le by rear naked choke. The win for team McGregor set Conor up to pick the American power striker James Jenkins to face off against his re-salvaged friend, Artem Lobov.
For those of you that forgot, Artem Lobov was actually eliminated earlier on in the show. He was brought back by friend, coach, and SBG Ireland team member Conor McGregor. From the outset, the coincidence of Artem’s return seemed like a setup. At no time prior was it explained to the audience two of the prelim fighters would get a second chance. Yet, as soon as Artem was eliminated this new rule twist came into play. Conor conceded to his favoritism in picking Artem to return to the show but defended his decision vehemently by citing the loyalty of his character.
Both fighters describe their power striking in heavy-handed asides to the camera. However, Conor saw a hole in Jenkins’ game poking fun of his tendency to swivel and lean backward during flurries. Leaning backwards to dodge a fist seems like a solid concept but it can put you on your heels against a double jab or a fast enough follow up punch. Even Anderson Silva succumbed to the downside of this technique (Silva vs Weidman, I).
Uriah Faber echoes the show’s sentiment that we are in for a brawl. We are in for a war or an execution.
Fight 1 Re-Cap
Artem Lobov vs James Jenkins
Immediately, both fighters came out and began parrying each other’s lead hand.
This hand-fighting is typically described as pawing and probing, but the reason behind it couldn’t be further from the truth. As Jenkins came out in his orthodox stance and Lobov in his southpaw stance, it placed each fighter’s lead jab hand into each other. As they check and feel out distance their opponent’s jab hand will always be where they want their own hand to be. Off of this crowded issue of space management, most fighters will literally grab their opponent’s lead hand, push it out of the way and down, and then throw their own overhand punch right through the gap where the lead hand used to be. This same dynamic was expertly demonstrated in the now legendary Robbie Lawlor versus Rory Macdonald fight.
Artem though was always one step ahead in this hand fighting game. From the outset of the bout, he expected Jenkins to paw with the left and throw bombs with the right. With the timing of a gypsy psychic Lobov would use his own parried hand to recounter for a brutal uppercut or lead hook. As Jenkins pushed Artem’s hand down, so to was his own hand down leaving his chin exposed for Lobov’s counter strike.
Lobov would win these hand fighting exchanges setting up a series of heavy off angle unorthodox strikes. Quickly, Jenkins right eye opened up – bleeding – and the ref had to call the doctor at 2:14 of the round. The cut was examined and the fight moved on.
This fight was really amazing to watch and see Lobov work. Coming out from the cut break, Artem changed stance, gaining the lead angle and drilling the outside leg kick to contain Jenkins. Lobov switched back to his regular stance and again connected with his awkward angle lead hand uppercut dropping Jenkins. Lobov would chase down and swarm him towards the mat as the ref jumped in to waive off the fight.
Artem Lobov WINS by KO.
Next up is our second fight in the show. David Teymor versus Johnny Nuñez is another European striker versus US wrestler match up. This fight will come down to how Nuñez sets up his shots and Teymor’s planned response for them.
Fight 2 Re-Cap
David Teymor vs Johnny Nuñez
Again, Orthodox versus southpaw but this time the resulting strategies are different.
Rather than meta-fighting over the lead hand, Nuñez would instead choose to leap and lunge past Teymor’s lead hand in order to close distance and bypass Teymor’s striking range. When he couldn’t execute this plan, Treymor would punish him at range with kicks.
Jenkins’ intention to bring the fight to the clinch was transparent, making Teymor’s takedown defense an easier task than expected. With his kickboxing clinch and raw aggression, though, Teymor could press and dictate the fight against the fence with the wrestler. This strategy stripped Nuñez of his wrestling advantage allowing Teymor to lump and batter Nunoz all the way from the clinch to the stand-up.
Nuñez would land a flying lead hook putting Teymor into the bottom corner of the cage. Teymor was quick to get up but Nuñez made a quick change of tactic opting for the inside leg trip takedown instead of haggling in Teymor’s clinch for a double leg.
On the ground, Treymor looked flat and sluggish. Nuñez progressed and regressed fluidly from half guard and back to mount, but he failed to constantly deliver strikes while bearing his control.
Like a fencer, Nuñez again bounds in and out with his lead hook trying to create confusion over when he is lunging in to throw punches or shooting for a takedown. By mixing it up he can lull Teymor into a striking mode putting him out of position to properly react to any takedown. That’s the theory at least. However, Nuñez’ level changes are transparent and without a strike combination to set them up Teymor can still see the incoming shots.
After some heavy exchanges and blows from Teymor, Nuñez shoots from long range and drives Teymor across the canvas and to the fence. What Nuñez doesn’t have in timing he can seemingly make up for in tenacity. The grind and turn into the fence would be a short-lived success though as Teymor was able to get back to his feet.
More outside strikes, until they collided into a clinch. In the clinch, Teymor shoved his hand between Nuñez’ legs for a shitty high crotch attempt that only served to pull Nuñez on top of himself. Imagine grabbing your girlfriend like you were going to body slam her but laying backward and setting her on top of yourself instead. Yeah, that’s what happened.
Again on top, Nuñez grinds and controls. Teymor’s hooks are limp, his guard static, and his hips flat. Nuñez floats and rides Teymor’s convulsive efforts to get back to his feet.
With 50 seconds left, Teymor clambers back to his feet against the fence. At long range he would land some brutal body kicks and flying knees. All of his success a temporary win until each subsequent clinch and takwedown.
Both guys came out seemingly drained. The post-fight adrenaline dump seemed to hit them both before this surprise third round. I don’t care how many times your coach screams, “GET READY FOR THE NEXT ROUND!!” into your face. If your body gives up, it gives a big sigh of relief and decides it wants a nap.
Teymor came out flat-footed seemingly locking his knees out when his lead leg would step down. Nuñez would capitalize with an outside leg kick on the limp leg before they would clinch again. Nuñez either failed a sloppy lateral drop or fell to pull half guard. Either way, he was on the bottom taking damage from Teymor.
Back up, Teymor would lead the stand-up exchanges with some stiff front kicks and jump kicks, pressing Nuñez into the fence. Though Teymor would win many of the stand-up exchanges, the clinch fighting was still a great back and forth. Teymor would even snap Nuñez down into a guillotine control, but Nuñez was able to use his wrestling switch out and gain top control. More fluid grappling from Nuñez floating from back control, to mount. The last 30 seconds ended the same way the second round ended with Nuñez riding out a top position, but this time leading to a judge’s decision. Would the judges award Nuñez the win despite his ability to deliver damage from top position or would Teymor’s volume and damage output be enough to win him the fight?
David Teymor defeats Johnny Nuñez by Unanimous Decision.
Next week’s matchup will be Abner Lloveras vs Jason Gonzalez. The match seems custom picked by Conor, smartly placing an American striker against another European striker. It should be another good fight to watch.
[Watch] First trailer for Conor McGregor: Notorious released
Many have wondered when we would get to see Conor McGregor have his own documentary film in cinemas. After months of waiting and teasing at it through social media we finally have the initial trailer. The trailer shows some fantastic little clips from throughout his career. From a first glance this is without a doubt one to be looking forward to, enjoy. Conor McGregor: Notorious will hit theatres November.
What must Conor McGregor do to be considered the undisputed G.O.A.T?
In November 2016, Conor McGregor cemented his legacy as an all time great by becoming the first simultaneous two weight world champion holding both the Featherweight and Lightweight belts. In that year McGregor also won three fights at three different weight classes.
“The Notorious One” has the fourth highest win percentage in the UFC at 90%, and he owns the fastest finish in a UFC title fight. This may upset a few MMA purists as McGregor only has 10 UFC fights to his name, but he is certainly in the G.O.A.T discussion now more than ever after his recent bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
There are three possible ways to define the greatest of all time.
- Whether or not the individual is a pioneer of the sport and earns plaudits for their innovation and creativity, e.g. Royce Gracie is a perfect example.
- Whether the fighter has done a lot to help develop and grow the sport e.g. Chuck Liddell isn’t always top of everyone’s list but he’s always in the conversation due to the way he brought the UFC to mainstream audiences.
- Judging a fighter on their skill set and MMA record, e.g. Jon Jones who has a perfect MMA record with some high calibre opponents on his list of victims.
Conor McGregor fits in to each category on this list and deserves to be in the G.O.A.T discussion, but he’s not quite the undisputed number one just yet. Here are some of the things McGregor needs to do to become the undisputed greatest of all time.
Defend His Belt
What do Demetrious Johnson, GSP, Anderson Silva and Jon Jones all have in common? They all have multiple title defences and they’re all in the G.O.A.T discussion because of it. Jon Jones has the least out of those named competitors with 8 consecutive title defences. Conor McGregor currently has 0 title defences despite being a UFC champion since December 2015.
In defence of McGregor every time it’s looked like he would be defending his belt a much bigger opportunity has arisen. When the time came to defend his Cage Warriors belts he was off to the UFC.
After winning his featherweight title at UFC 194, he was scheduled to make history by facing Rafael Dos Anjos for the lightweight belt at UFC 196, before facing Diaz. After losing on March 5th, McGregor then re-matched Diaz in the biggest fight in UFC history with the event playing host to the UFC buy rate record with roughly 1.6 million buys.
Then it was time to make history at UFC 205 where he became the first simultaneous two weight world champion. And when it finally looked like he would defend his belt he faced Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the biggest fight of all time for $100 million.
But now it’s finally time for McGregor to defend his belt. I’m not necessarily saying he has to match Jones’ 8 title defences, as I believe he will retire long before he even gets there. But maybe 3 or 4 title defences against competitors like Diaz, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson will prove he is championship material, and has what it takes to keep hold of the belt in a shark tank division stacked filled with trained killers.
It would be a move to silence the haters and stake his claim as the best to ever do it.
Become the First Fighter to Beat Khabib Nurmagomedov
McGregor is no stranger to doing something no other man has ever done before. So it would be no surprise to see him be the first fighter to beat Nurmagomedov.
Say what you like about Khabib, whether you think he’s an elite fighter or just your average Joe with a padded record (he’s not), but there’s one thing you have to say about him, he’s undefeated.
Fans on Twitter are constantly claiming Khabib is the man to dethrone McGregor. If that’s the case, then it would be equally impressive to see McGregor defend his crown against Khabib and hand him his first loss, adding another historic moment to his storied career. It is a win that would truly legitimise his G.O.A.T status.
Win the Third Fight Against Nate Diaz
McEnroe had Borg. Brady had Peyton Manning. Messi has Ronaldo. And Conor McGregor has Nate Diaz. Every great needs a great rival to make them better. Just look at Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones for example, those two men pushed and motivated each other to be better for years.
The problem with these great rivalries is that they have to be won to secure your legacy, nobody remembers the loser. Winning the trilogy fight against Nate would make Conor the clear winner in this rivalry and answer all questions asked from his doubters, it would see him earn a huge amount of respect and would catapult him to a legendary status.
However, the flip side to that is that if Nate won the third fight then Conor has even more questions asked of him, he may lose some of his star power and could also drop out of the G.O.A.T discussion.
Win the Welterweight Title
McGregor has already won the featherweight and lightweight belts, but he has claimed he’s coming for “all the belts” and I believe him.
If McGregor was the first man to become a three weight World Champion it would be hard to argue he is not the greatest mixed martial artist ever. Especially if he was to beat a top level fighter like Tyron Woodley, GSP or Robbie Lawler to become the welterweight champion. It is another impressive feat that would put him above the rest. It’s a big ask but that’s why it would make him the G.O.A.T.
Stay Clean and Know When it’s the Right Time to Retire
It sounds simple but one of the things that has hurt some of MMA’s biggest stars be considered the greatest has been their inability to stay clean and leaving the game before their inevitable decline.
Some notable stars like Chuck Liddell and B.J Penn’s cases of being the G.O.A.T have been damaged by the later stages of their careers, where they could not perform like they were capable of in their prime, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of many fans who may only remember the last few fights they had.
If McGregor quits whilst he’s ahead he won’t be fighting unnecessarily and tarnishing his legacy by competing when his chin has gone, and his athleticism has declined.
If McGregor can stay clean, which I have no doubt he will as he has always been an honest fighter, then he already has one up on those that have been caught taking steroids. Fighters like Jones and Silva’s legacies have not been ruined by testing positives but people will always view them differently because of it.
Conor has always made his intentions clear, “Get in. Get rich. Get Out” and a retirement in his early 30’s is more than likely, especially with a smart coaching team around him who want to see him happy and healthy. We will look back on his career fondly rather than thinking what could have been.
Let us know what you think Conor McGregor must do to be considered the G.O.A.T.
Seriously, How is Joanna Jedrzejczyk Not in the Top 5 P4P Rankings?!
Honest to God question here, how is Joanna Jedrzejczyk not in the top 5 of the UFC’s Pound for Pound rankings?
Jedrzejczyk is arguably the greatest female fighter of all time, yet she’s stuck behind three fighters who don’t even have a title defense on their record. Yes, these fighter rankings don’t hold much weight but put some respect on her name. Ranking Joanna at number seven is absolute blasphemy.
The amount of disrespect the UFC shows to their fighters is at an all-time high so we shouldn’t really be surprised here. It’s understandable that Joanna is behind the likes of Conor McGregor and Demetrious Johnson in the rankings — but after that, it can be argued that she deserves that number three spot on the list.
Let’s take a look at just a few of Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s accomplishments:
- Five successful title defenses (second most in UFC women’s division history)
- A perfect 14-0 record, 8-0 in the UFC
- Most leg kicks in a fight in UFC history
- Highest significant strikes thrown in a UFC championship bout
- Highest significant strikes differential in a UFC championship bout
Joanna has more title defenses than Conor McGregor, Stipe Miocic, Max Holloway, Daniel Cormier, and Cody Garbrandt — COMBINED. That alone should at least warrant her a top five spot on the list, yet all five of those fighters aforementioned are ranked ahead of her.
The common argument against Joanna is the “lack of competition” that she has faced, and while that is partially true, let’s not forget about the “competition” Demetrious Johnson has been up against — and he’s sitting comfortably at number one on the list. Also, we just saw how vicious both Jessica Andrade and Claudia Gadelha are at UFC Japan, and Joanna dominated both women and virtually neutralized their attacks. So that flawed “lack of competition” argument is irrelevant.
It’s about time that Joanna Jedrzejczyk starts getting the respect she deserves as a UFC champion. She is undoubtedly the best striker in the women’s division and may be the best striker overall on the UFC roster. Joanna has the second most title defenses currently of a UFC champion and if that doesn’t earn her a top three spot on the list I don’t know what will.
If top three is a little too rich for your blood, that’s understandable. But there is no way she should be outside of the top five and there is no arguing that. As Khabib would say, “This is number one bullsh*t!”
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