The UFC’s new year’s weekend super-card was a show that created new legacies and left others in shocking peril. The world witnessed the rise of the next generation of top athletes in the sport of MMA. Two title fights and a boatload of animosity and hype to kick off the end of the year celebrations. Damn, the UFC knows how to deliver to their fans…unlike some others (cough, cough, WWE).
It was the return of the MMA queen “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey after roughly 13 months away from the game, and coming off her first career defeat via a brutal head kick courtesy of Holly Holm. Many pundits questioned her commitment and dedication to MMA now that her perfect reputation and undefeated record had been tarnished. Others believed that the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion “The Lioness” Amanda Nunes was a different level of fighter, one that Rousey couldn’t have imagined in her wildest dreams—and I was one of those people.
I believed that Nunes was too big, too fast, too vicious, too precise, too savage and too diverse of a fighter for Rousey to compete with at this pivotal and fragile point in her career. When you don’t have an arsenal of various tools at your disposal and the armbar is your one trick, you become the pony that shouldn’t be stepping into the cage with an animal like Lioness!
These theories proved to be true as it only took Nunes 48 seconds to lock up a brutal TKO victory and retain her title. It literally looked like they fed Rousey to a lion inside that cage! The champion showed complete disregard for Rousey’s standup game and went straight at her, chin up-hands down, and picked her apart like a sparring partner on their first day. Ronda had absolutely nothing for the Bantamweight kingpin and just ate one long, nasty barrage of punches before referee Herb Dean jumped in and saved her from being completely knocked out cold. Considering how she handled her first loss, I can only imagine that a retirement from MMA is just on the horizon for Ronda Rousey. And God bless anyone who steps in that cage and tries to take that belt from Amanda Nunes after what happened tonight! The Era of the Lioness has begun and she’s hell-bent and determined on making her own legacy, and she proved exactly that in this fight.
The following are quotes from the arrogant mouth of Dominick Cruz that he made in various interviews leading up to this title defense at UFC 207:
- “He’s going to wake up from the dream that he’s in, real soon”
- “You have a thirty percent chance of touching me”
- “I was able to buy a house with all the wins I got over your team. Who do you think is going to be able to teach you how to beat me? C’mon man, you got nothin’ for me”
I’ve never been a Dominick Cruz fan; I’ve never liked his fighting style, his condescending cockiness or his complete lack of ability or desire to finish fights. A real champion finishes his competition, he doesn’t just squeak by them. So naturally, I was completely delighted when I found out that UFC matched him up with the young and ferociously hungry undefeated knockout artist, Cody “No Love” Garbrandt. I’ve said from day one that Garbrandt was going to beat the brakes off Cruz and take the belt from him that he should’ve lost a long time ago. And when this fight finally kicked off, it did not disappoint!
Here is the best of Garbrandt vs. Cruz:
–Garbrandt mocked the shit out of Cruz throughout the first round, in which he won decisively with crisp punches, fast footwork, great counters and very tight defense.
-Watching Cruz get knocked down at least 3 different times in round 4 while still being relentlessly mocked by Garbrandt.
–And the absolute golden nugget—the crowning jewel, if you will—Garbrandt dominated “The Dominator”, who is undoubtedly a decision-machine, by unanimous decision! The ultimate feather in in the cap of the man they call “No Love”.
This guy beat a man at his own game by being faster, more dynamic and totally unpredictable, which are all traits that Cruz has always been known for throughout his illustrious career. To beat another man at his own game is one of the most difficult tasks for one to accomplish and completely proves how “for real” Garbrandt really is. This was a huge upset that people won’t be able to forget! Hat’s off to you, Mr. Garbrandt! #RageAgainstTheDecisionMachine
Some other musings:
–T.J. Dillashaw destroyed a very tough John Lineker and proved why he’s ranked as the number one contender in the Bantamweight division. He showed an extremely well-rounded game and dominated the fight in all areas. This star pupil of striking coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig is constantly improving his game and absolutely deserves the first title shot against new champ Cody Garbrandt. This is a phenomenal matchup that that UFC will most likely make official as quickly as possible.
-Watching the Tarec Saffiedine vs. Dong Hyun Kim fight was about as exciting as sitting in my rocking chair on my front porch and watching my grass grow!
-I’ve come to believe that Joe Rogan’s favorite word in the English language is indeed “sensational”. He says it about 20 times per fight card. Those four syllables must have quite the special place in that man’s heart!
Until Next Time, The Gonzo Shark checks out…