Just over Two weeks ago we all witnessed what was the biggest upset in MMA history in the UFC.
Ronda Rousey, the unbeatable force that took over the sports world was demolished by Holly Holm in what was a beating via left straights from the moment referee Herb Dean commenced the fight. Rousey and the aura surrounding her came crashing to a halt that Saturday night, and I’m starting to wonder if that is what’s on the horizon for the rest of Dana White’s “Golden Children.”
When I say that I am of course referencing the myriad of memes and gifs circling the web that depict the UFC President taking special care of up and coming stars like Rousey, Conor McGregor, Sage Northcutt, and Paige VanZant.
For McGregor, a bout with Jose Aldo for the undisputed Featherweight belt is just over week away, so depending on the outcome of that, his time in the spotlight could be diminished. I certainly think there’s a good chance of that happening considering McGregor hasn’t faced anyone like the most dominant featherweight in MMA history.
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I get that McGregor is the real deal, and has a legitimate chance at coming away victorious, but I truly think the leg kicks and head movement of Aldo will cripple his long, rangy style. Up to this point Conor has both talked the talk, and walked the walk, but I refuse to just assume he will walk through a man who is unbeaten in ten years against the very best the world has to offer.
McGregor is unquestionably the UFC’s biggest star next to Rousey ever since the fall (but soon to be rise again) of Jon Jones. So with that being said it’s paramount that he comes away with a ‘W’ on December 12th. Conor has made his bosses quite a bit of money over the past few years, and I’m sure Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, and everyone else in the UFC hierarchy want to see the Irishman’s reign of the featherweight division continue.
Again I’m not buying into predictions of an easy McGregor win like we’ve seen in his last few fights, but the overall financial impact of an undisputed Conor McGregor is clearly the goal for the UFC’s brass.
As for Sage Northcutt, he got as close to “being fed a can” as you can get in the UFC in his first fight against Francisco Trevino, and showed he is a force to be reckoned with by disposing of Trevino with ease. However I think the UFC should be very careful with the matchups they give him if they want to build his hype train properly because he is far from contention at this point in his young career.
At just 19 years of age Northcutt has flashed freakish athleticism, and scary spinning techniques in his first UFC bout. He even gave the crowd a show after he knocked out his opponent with an impressive front flip display.
His next fight against Cody Pfister is only a week away, and although I don’t see him losing that bout, he is still up against a guy with more than almost triple the pro fights as him. Experience in the cage is something that can’t be ignored in this fight, and if “Super Sage” does any over looking himself he could be in for a long night.
Northcutt is surrounded with the right people training at Tristar in Montreal, as well as with his father at home in Texas. The future looks bright for him, but I do worry he could be tasked to do too much too soon if his popularity keeps growing at this pace. He seems to have a great head on his shoulders, and says all of the right things so the sky is the limit for this kid…Just go at the right pace.
Dana wasted no time in promoting his young stars in this segment with ESPN’s First Take. Talk about mainstream media exposure…
Paige VanZant is definitely the one out of these three fighters whose hype train I’m sure is headed for derailment. She is scheduled to face Rose Namajunas on the same night as Northcutt’s next fight in a bout that was originally scheduled for her to face Joanne Calderwood. With an injury to everyone’s favorite Scotswoman putting the card’s main event in jeopardy, the girl they call “Thug Rose” has stepped in to save the day.
Don’t let Rose’s 3-2 record fool you, this girl is downright scary when her mindset is right. Paige showed off her own impressive ground game in her last win via armbar over Alex Chambers, but Rose’s submissions are on a whole other level.
We got to see Namajunas show off her elite BJJ game when she sunk in a choke in her last fight finishing fellow TUF 20 housemate Angela Hill in just over half a round.
Most folks are calling for Paige to use her elite wrestling to toss around Rose like she was in her fight against Carla Esparza in the TUF finale. However I’m of the belief that Rose won’t be taken down nearly as easily, and will be looking to land a guillotine every time Paige gets a good double-leg shot. If Paige doesn’t keep the fight standing and use her punches in bunches expect to see the UFC Barbie tapping, and gasping for air as she falls victim to one of Namjunas’ slick subs on December 10th.
There are questions about whether the UFC can handle the loss of another one of it’s stars or top prospects because there are seemingly less and less marketable faces being pushed like the Rousey and McGregor have been. Perhaps Dana and friends are at fault for putting all of their eggs in a few selective baskets. Time will tell if this comes back to haunt them.
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