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UFC 218: Holloway vs Aldo 2


wandshogun09
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Saturday 2nd December in Detroit. The UFC is back on PPV with an outstanding lineup...

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PPV MAIN CARD
Max Holloway vs Jose Aldo - Featherweight Title

Alistair Overeem vs Francis Ngannou 

Henry Cejudo vs Sergio Pettis 

Eddie Alvarez vs Justin Gaethje 

Tecia Torres vs Michelle Waterson
 

FOX SPORTS 1 PRELIMS
Charles Oliveira vs Paul Felder

Alex Oliveira vs Yancy Medeiros

David Teymur vs Drakkar Klose

Felice Herrig vs Cortney Casey

 

FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Abdul Razak Alhassan vs Sabah Homasi

Dominick Reyes vs Jeremy Kimball

Justin Willis vs Allen Crowder

Amanda Cooper vs Angela Magana

 

Look at that! 217 probably isn't going to be easy to follow but I'd say they've had a good old stab at it with this. Personally I'm looking forward to this just as much as the MSG show. 

 

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Max Holloway vs Frankie Edgar tops the bill. And what a fucking fight this is. Two of my favourite fighters on the whole roster so it's going to be kind of bittersweet for me whatever happens. But I can't wait to see it. 

Bit of background, for those who give a fuck. 

Max Holloway began his MMA career in 2010 at the age of 18, fighting for regional promotions at home in Hawaii. Within 10 months of turning pro he was 4-0 and had already won a title. His most notable win in this period was a split decision over fellow Hawaiian fighter Harris Sarmiento. Sarmiento was much more experienced than Holloway and, at the time they fought, had 52 fights under his belt and had been in with the likes of Nick Diaz, Roger Huerta, Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson. Holloway was just 2-0. So this was a pretty big win for Max. 

At 19 years old and already getting comparisons to WEC standout Anthony Pettis, it wasn't long before the UFC came calling. In early 2012, Ricardo Lamas pulled out of a fight with Dustin Poirier that was scheduled to go down at UFC 143. Holloway accepted the fight on short notice. 

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It didn't work out. Poirier submitted him with a nifty mounted triangle/armbar inside a round. Poirier was just more seasoned at this time and that coupled with the late notice and possible 'Octagon Jitters', it just wasn't Holloway's night. Holloway gave a spirited effort though and it was clear that there was some real potential there. 

He bounced back from his first loss by dominating Pat Schilling to a decision, TKOing Justin Lawrence who was being hyped as a hot prospect at the time, and taking a points win off Leonard Garcia at UFC 155 on the JDS-Cain 2 undercard. At 7-1 now, and 3-1 in the UFC, things were looking good for the young Hawaiian and he was beginning to build some momentum going into 2013. 

Then came a couple of bumps in the road. First he lost a close decision to Dennis Bermudez at UFC 160 in May 2013. I haven't seen the fight since but at the time I remember thinking Holloway was unlucky to not get the decision. 

Then came his biggest fight to date...

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In August he took on Conor McGregor. McGregor was only one fight into his UFC career at this time so this wasn't the monster it'd be now. No Red Panty night here. It was simply a case of matching up two young fighters who had bags of potential and promise. But the hype on McGregor was strong, especially as the fight would be in the heavily Irish populated Boston. And to add to the spotlight, this was the UFC's first card on FOX Sports 1 so it was stacked and heavily promoted. 

Holloway lost again. He took McGregor the distance but he lost fairly decisively and that was that. McGregor's career soared, Holloway would have to go back to the drawing board. 

So 2013 was a write-off for Holloway. He went 0-2 and it was the first time he'd ever suffered back-to-back defeats. Like any fighter in this position, the question now would be how he'd respond. Would he come back better or become an also ran? 

Just four days into 2014, Holloway started on his journey to rebuilding himself as a fighter. He battered Will Chope to a second round TKO in Singapore, bagging himself a 'Knockout Of The Night' bonus in the process. Three months later he submitted Andre Fili, a young 13-1 Team Alpha Male standout who was coming in with a little bit of hype. In August he TKO'd a tough Clay Collard. Then in October he stopped Akira Corassani in a round in Sweden. 

After going 0-2 in 2013, Holloway had rebounded emphatically going 4-0 with 4 finishes in 2014. 

This is where I think they go wrong sometimes with fighters coming off losses. They'll have a young fighter who has some talent, they lose and the UFC will often throw them right back in there with a killer. With Holloway they did it right. He had the two losses to Bermudez and McGregor and the UFC gave him time to get back on track and rebuild, fix the holes and gradually rehab his game. In these four wins, while they weren't wins over world beaters or contenders, you could see his confidence growing each time. 

So he went into 2015 on a high. He continued to rise with a decision win over Cole Miller. He'd now gone 5-0 since his losses and had a good solid year to get his shit together. It was time for another step up. 

He was matched with Cub Swanson on the main card of an April 2015 Big FOX card. This was a huge test for Max and if he lost again, he'd be looked at as a guy who bottles it in the big fights. 

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He utterly spanked Swanson the whole fight. Outstriking him on the feet and then submitting him with a third round guillotine. 

I remember at the time this felt like a huge turning point to me. It really felt like he'd gotten over a significant hump and turned a corner. If he hadn't been given those rebuilding fights in 2014, who knows if he'd have become the fighter he has since. I really think that was a pivotal point in his career and this Swanson win was the culmination of his hard work and the gains he'd made since the McGregor loss. 

He kept getting better and better. Racking up wins over Charles Oliveira, Jeremy Stephens and Ricardo Lamas between 2015-2016. The Stephens and Lamas wins weren't particularly exciting but from Holloway's side they were excellent performances where he showed patience, intelligence, maturity and growth as a fighter. 

With Conor McGregor now the king of the 145 division, Holloway was working towards that rematch. But money fights in other divisions took McGregor out of the featherweight picture. 

In December 2016, Holloway would finally get a chance at UFC gold. Granted, it was only interim gold but still. And in a cool little twist, he was up against Anthony Pettis. The man he was being compared to back when he started out. 

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Holloway there, in his coat sponsored by NASA. 

Pettis missed weight, and to be honest hadn't earned an interim title shot anyway. But Holloway rendered all of that redundant. 

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He just looked a level above Pettis in all areas and ended up stopping him with a crushing body kick and some follow up punches in the third round. 

By this point, McGregor was off winning another title at lightweight and trying to juggle the Mayweather negotiations with his upcoming first time fatherhood. And Jose Aldo was back on the featherweight throne, having beaten Frankie Edgar at UFC 200. 

This set up the big unification matchup. 

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June 2017, UFC 212. Holloway would go into Aldo's backyard in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil to face the longest reigning featherweight champion the sport has ever seen. 

After a shaky start with Aldo looking sharp early, Holloway got into his groove and just kept turning up the heat until Aldo started to melt. 

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In the third round, Holloway's speed, accuracy, volume striking and constant onslaught became too much and he overwhelmed Aldo for a TKO stoppage. An absolutely massive win for Holloway. 

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He returned to Hawaii to a hero's welcome. You'd never have pictured this scene after his setbacks in 2013. And the crazy thing is, he's a polished veteran now but he's still only 25 years old! To have that much skill and experience without all the miles on the clock and the wars is a rare thing. 

And when you talk about miles on the clock. Frankie Edgar's got a ton of them. 

Frankie started his MMA career in 2005. He went 6-0 with all his fights being in the New Jersey/New York area. In just his sixth fight he beat Jim Miller.

He then tried out for TUF 5 but didn't make it onto the show. Let that sink in. Frankie Edgar didn't make the cut but Wayne Weems and Andy Wang were on the show. I get why with it being a reality TV show but it's still crackers, isn't it? 

Anyway, the UFC were calling Frankie's phone soon enough. It was 2007 and they were reintroducing the lightweight division so they needed all the talent they could get. 

Frankie made his debut on the UFC 67 prelims. The main card that night featured Anderson Silva vs Travis Lutter plus the UFC debuts of Pride superstars Mirko Cro Cop and Rampage Jackson. 

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But it was these two who stole the show. Frankie Edgar vs Tyson Griffin is a classic. If you've never seen it you really need to. Fucking incredible fight and I actually credit this fight as the start of the resurgence of the 155ers. You can trace it right back to this fight. It kickstarted a year of killer lightweight battles. 

It was close but Edgar got the nod from the judges. He followed that with 2 more wins in 2007 over quality fighters of the day in Mark Bocek and Spencer Fisher. 

He dropped his first loss in 2008, being outsized and outwrestled by Gray Maynard to a points defeat. 

He came back with a win over Hermes Franca. And then came a big opportunity. 

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On the UFC 98 PPV main card in May 2009, Edgar faced former lightweight champ Sean Sherk. Sherk was a beast. A little tank of a wrestler with a 35-3-1 record. His only losses at this time were to BJ Penn, Georges St Pierre and Matt Hughes. Those three were on everybody's consensus best of all time lists at the time. And given how Frankie had lost to the stronger wrestler in Maynard, it was thought that Sherk could pose similar problems. But living up to his nickname, Frankie had the 'answers' to everything. Like Holloway's win over Swanson years later, this felt like a big turning point for Frankie where he was stepping into that bracket of top level fighters.

The only knock on Frankie at this point was that he was a bit of a decision merchant. But a submission win over Matt Veach in December 2009 silenced some of that. And with lightweight champ BJ Penn running out of challengers, Frankie was granted his first UFC title shot. 

April 2010 at UFC 112. It was the UFC's first big event in Abu Dhabi. Penn at this point was in his most scariest form. He'd dominated and destroyed the likes of Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian, Sean Sherk, Joe Stevenson and Jens Pulver at 155 over the previous couple of years. By the end of 2009 he was thought to be pretty close to unbeatable at lightweight.  

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But Edgar surprised the MMA world winning a very close decision. The decision was highly debated with many feeling like Penn should've won it. But regardless, it went down in the record books as a win for Edgar. 

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With the controversy over the decision though, a rematch was booked. Edgar vs Penn 2 went down in August 2010 at UFC 118. This time there was no doubt. Frankie schooled BJ for the whole 5 rounds in a fight that was much longer but almost as one sided as the Randy Couture vs James Toney farce on the undercard. 

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In January 2011, Edgar would get his chance to avenge his only loss, defending the belt against Gray Maynard at UFC 125. Most expected a repeat of their first fight, a dull one way traffic wrestling display from Maynard. What we got was one of the best fights in UFC history. Edgar got demolished in round one. It was a round that made Balboa vs Drago look like Woodley vs Maia. And in true Rocky fashion he somehow came back from the dead and the fight became an all out war. It ended in a draw and that felt fitting.

It also meant we'd get a rematch. And at UFC 136 in October, they did it again. Edgar vs Maynard 3 doesn't get talked about as much and that's a shame because I actually think it's just as good, if not better than the second fight. Edgar got destroyed again early on, once again rallied back but this time was able to knock Maynard out in the fourth round of a fucking epic battle. Fight Pass both these fights if you haven't seen them. 

Sadly, Edgar lost his next 3 fights. He dropped the title to Benson Henderson in Japan at UFC 144. Then lost a razor close decision in the rematch at UFC 150, which many thought Frankie won. Me included. 

He then dropped to featherweight and got an immediate shot at Jose Aldo but came up short in yet another very close fight. 

Now he was kind of in no man's land, with the avenues to both the 155 and 145 titles closed off to him for the forseeable. In true Frankie Edgar style though he didn't bitch about it and just kept plugging away. 

He beat Charles Oliveira by decision in a great forgotten fight at UFC 162 in July 2013. Then he didn't fight for a whole year as he was tied up as a coach on TUF opposite his old pal BJ Penn. At the end of that season we got Edgar vs Penn 3. A fight nobody was crying out for and Frankie just decimated him in one of the most depressing fights to watch since Larry Holmes vs Muhammad Ali. 

In November 2014, Frankie took Cub Swanson to school. Completely dominating him for almost the entire 5 rounds before submitting him at 4:56 of the 5th.

Then in May 2015 he beat Urijah Faber by decision in the Philippines and sparked out Chad Mendes in December inside a round to close out a successful 2015.

Unfortunately he lost his rematch with Aldo at UFC 200 and it was back to the grind again. He once again had to dig deep to beat Jeremy Stephens at UFC 205 in MSG. He took KO artist Stephens' best shots and came back to take the decision. 

Then, in an old school vs new breed matchup, he was booked to fight Yair Rodriguez at UFC 211 in May this year. 

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Frankie got sold short (pun intended) going into this one. Yair is a hell of a talent and definitely someone to keep an eye on but I really felt like people were getting carried away with the hype on him for this one, and overlooking Frankie. The overriding topics of conversation going in seemed to be 'Frankie might be slowing down' and 'OMG LOOK AT THE SIZE DIFFERENCE!' But despite all the hard fights and the time he's put in, Frankie has shown zero signs of a decline. And the size difference, Frankie gives not a fuck about that and had the skills and wrestling game to teach young Yair what's what. 

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And that's what was what. Frankie is as good as he's ever been. Better even. If you go into a fight with Frankie Edgar relying on a decline that doesn't exist, you do so at your own peril. 

"He's a young kid, and I may be older, but I'm still coming into my own. My body feels better than ever. I'm 35, but I definitely don't feel that way. I feel like a young man in there."

"Max brings it every time out and seems to be growing in confidence with each fight. I like that. I'm something he hasn't really faced before. He's been tearing through everyone but I love the matchup. It's time to finally get what I got coming to me."

- Frankie Edgar

Holloway vs Edgar promo...

As you can probably tell I'm a bit giddy about this fight. 

 

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Overeem vs Ngannou is a monster of a co-main event. A proper heavyweight clash of the titans. Ngannou is being touted as the future of the division. He's 10-1 with all his wins by stoppage. He put away Andrei Arlovski quick in January but hasn't fought since through no fault of his own. He was booked to fight Junior Dos Santos in September but JDS got popped by USADA. So this got booked instead. It's the step up fight we need to see from Ngannou. He's ready for the test. And there aren't too many tougher tests in the division than Alistair Overeem. Reem's had an up and down career but he's always dangerous as fuck. And he's vastly the more experienced man here. This'll be his 60th MMA fight! He's coming off wins over Fabricio Werdum and Mark Hunt and he's won 6 of his last 7 fights. If Ngannou beats Overeem we've got a star on our hands and he might even get a title shot. And when you think about Ngannou's power and Overeem's suspect chin...it's an interesting one. 

 

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Cejudo vs Pettis was supposed to happen at UFC 211 in May but Cejudo pulled out with an injury. Now it's back on and the stakes are raised. You have to assume this is a #1 contenders fight. I can't think of anyone in the flyweight division who'd deserve the next crack at Mighty Mouse more than the winner of this one. Cejudo looked awesome knocking out Wilson Reis at UFC 215 in September. And Pettis has won 4 in a row and looked better than ever in his win over Brandon Moreno in Mexico in August. In a division seriously lacking in interesting and fresh challengers for DJ, these are actually two guys I'd like to see him against. 

 

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Alvarez vs Gaethje is ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH*** this time. Can't fucking wait for this one. This could've been a big fight outside the UFC a few years ago. Alvarez vs Gaethje in either Bellator or WSOF would've been incredible. Now it's even bigger and better. They're both currently coaching the latest women's season of TUF and they're both coming across as good guys, albeit not exactly made for reality TV. It's in the cage these two shine though and I really think these two match up for something special. 

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Gaethje, for me, is the frontrunner for 2017 FOTY at the moment for his insane war with Michael Johnson in July. Just an amazing fight and it was only Gaethje's UFC debut, for fuck's sake! To those that weren't familiar with him it was the perfect introduction. But he's been throwing down like that forever. His fights with Luis Palomino in WSOF in particular were nuts. But despite his reckless style, he's managed to amass an undefeated 18-0 record so far.

Eddie Alvarez is no stranger to crazy fights himself. His 2 classics with Michael Chandler in Bellator are probably his best known fights but he also had some corkers earlier in his career against Tatsuya Kawajiri and Joachim Hansen in DREAM in Japan. He's had a rough run in the UFC, the Dos Anjos KO and title win was by far the highlight, the rest has been a bumpy ride. But he had a heck of a scrap with Dustin Poirier in May and looked like the Alvarez that made people a fan of him in the first place. I think we're in for more of that Alvarez here because I don't think Gaethje's style will allow for anything else. 

 

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Torres vs Waterson should be good. These two were actually supposed to fight on the Aldo vs McGregor undercard a couple of years ago. Torres is a good little fighter at 9-1, she just needs that signature name win and this could be it. I hope Waterson wins though and not just because I'm a bit in love with her. She's got a fun fighting style and she seems ridiculously nice outside the cage. I still think she's too small for strawweight though. She's skilled enough to where I think she'll beat a lot of girls but at the top end of the weightclass I think her being so tiny will work against her. 

 

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Fuck it, Iaquinta vs Felder is this card's ***WAND'S OTHER ONE TO WATCH*** because I couldn't choose. How do you go wrong with this? 'Raging Al' vs 'The Irish Dragon'. I love this pairing. Iaquinta is a guy I should probably see as a heel but I think he's fucking great. I get a kick out of his don't give a fuck attitude and willingness to tell the company to go bollocks if he doesn't like something. It's refreshing. I just wish he'd fight more because he's pretty good at that as well. He's off selling houses on the side these days but when he does put the gloves on he's great to watch. We last saw him KOing Diego Sanchez in under 2 minutes in April. He also holds wins over Jorge Masvidal, Joe Lauzon, Ross Pearson and Kevin Lee. Felder is a top class striker with a background in pretty much every standup martial art going. 14-3 in MMA and is coming off an impressive and brutal stoppage via elbows over Stevie Ray in Ray's own backyard in Glasgow in July. This is going to be good. 

 

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Cowboy Oliveira vs Yancy Medeiros is one of them under the radar prelims that we probably won't talk about at all going in but will most likely be lively and entertaining on the night. Neither of these two really do dull fights and Oliveira in particular can be a bit of a dickhead. There always seems to be something with him, be it coming in heavy or the DX style crotch chop after he beat Will Brooks. He's not dull though. 

 

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Teymur vs Klose, like above, probably won't get much attention but should deliver. I like this Teymur. He beat Groovy Lando earlier this year in a fantastic fight, really good striker with a strong kickboxing background, aggressive, tough. I like what I've seen so far. Klose I'm less familiar with but he's 8-0 and handed Marc Diakiese his first loss in July. 

 

What else? 

Felice Herrig vs Cortney Casey should be decent enough. Dislike of Herrig's personality aside she's rarely involved in anything boring. 

We get another chance to see Ghana's Abdul Razak Alhassan. He came into the UFC with a little bit of hype but lost a decision to Omari Akhmedov last time out. 

I'm looking forward to seeing Dominick 'The Devastator' Reyes back in there. He's 7-0 with 6 finishes. He made his UFC debut on the Chiesa vs Lee card in June and just smoked Joachim Christensen in 29 seconds. He looked great and he's one of a group of much needed new light heavyweights who looks promising. 

Oh and fucking Angela 'Vinegar Tits' Magana down there on Fight Pass. Vile little cunt. Can't remember much of Amanda Cooper but I hope she wrecks VT. 

 

Quality card, that. 

 

Edited by wandshogun09
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31 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

And given how Frankie had lost to the stronger wrestler in Maynard, it was thought that Sherk could pose similar problems. But living up to his nickname, Frankie had the 'answers' to everything. Like Holloway's win over Swanson years later, this felt like a big turning point for Frankie where he was stepping into that bracket of top level fighters.

Indeed.

At the time, people thought it was going to be a carbon copy of the initial Maynard fight. It was quite a surprise when Edgar won convincingly. Sherk was that frustrated that he took off right after the fight, and jogged into the night in his fighting gear (he later returned the arena to provide a urine sample).

The win over Sherk, and the 2nd fight with Penn are what changed fan's perceptions on Edgar. On both of those occasions, he proved to be a better fighter than what most fans gave him credit for (including me). 

31 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

Three months later he submitted Andre Fili, a young 13-1 Team Alpha Male standout who was coming in with a little bit of hype

Fili had been heavily hyped on Sherdog radio prior to that fight. So much so, that I expected Fili to win. 

Max has built up a very impressive resume over the past 4 years or so. If he can beat Edgar - which is a massive if - and then rack up a few more title defences; then we could be on the verge of experiencing something a bit special with him. He's seemingly made the most of his talent, which was obvious from  early on his career. He has had bumps in the road, but most MMA fighters do. 

Edited by jimufctna24
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It is nuts. Especially when you look at the lighter weight fighters who were at the same level as him or higher back in 2007ish. The likes of Gray Maynard and Clay Guida are still knocking about but they're not what they were. Guys like Urijah Faber, Kenny Florian and Sean Sherk are done. BJ Penn, Takanori Gomi and Joe Stevenson should be retired. Tyson Griffin and Roger Huerta have fallen off the face of the earth. Then you've got Frankie Edgar, the ironman, still there at the top of the game. And better than he's ever been. 

I honestly think he's not appreciated enough. 10 years plus at the level he's been operating at, and to still be as good as he is, is insane. 

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Tyson Griffin was much more hyped than Edgar in their early years. I knew little about Edgar prior to his UFC debut (against Griffin). In contrast, I had heard plenty about Griffin. He looked like a monster in his early days, as video clips surfaced on MMA forums of him knocking out Faber (just the stoppage, not the full fight). This was just before Youtube took off. Griffin had also stopped Ludwig in Strikeforce, and had ran over David Lee in his UFC debut. 

Tyson was done in the big leagues at 27, and was no longer considered to be a future champion long before he hit 25. It's difficult to explain to newer fans how a fighter with his resume could once be viewed as a future great. In many ways, Edgar went on to become the fighter that Griffin was expected to be after beating him in 2007. Whereas Griffin probably went on to be what Edgar was expected to be before his UFC debut; a decent run of the mill Lightweight that had a standard 3-4 year run in the big leagues. 

Edgar's longevity is indeed exceptional. Even if Max beats him, he's done enough to be considered in the top 10 MMA fighters of all-time, and easily in the top 5 lighter weight (sub 170lbs) fighters of all-time. 

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Yeah, it's a shame Tyson Griffin fell off the grid. He was really great to watch for a spell there. His fight with Edgar, as I've already said, was awesome. His fights with Clay Guida and Thiago Tavares were even better, IMO. He had all those 3 fights in one year as well. You'd be hard pressed to find another fighter who's had 3 fights of that quality like Tyson Griffin did in 2007. 

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All the buzz in the 217 thread made me check out the rest of the card. Holy shite! Can't believe we're getting Cejudo v Pettis so quickly. Given how 'Olympic Gold' Cejudo looked after his last performance, I've been salivating at the prospect of this match up. I know Cejudo is a beast, but I hope this isn't too quick of a turn around for him. Pettis is not someone to be taking lightly.

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31 minutes ago, ColinBollocks said:

Makes sense, but we'll see. Pettis was apparently next up for DJ, but he flat out said he's not good enough to beat DJ, right now. I also don't like the idea of rushing Cejudo in to get dominated, again, because his fight-to-fight improvements are staggering.

I disagree when it comes to Cejudo. He really does have all the tools to give DJ massive problems and if he's improved his striking 10 fold (and from his last fight he looks like he has), coming through Pettis is the perfect stepping stone for Cejudo to get back in against DJ. Even in that first fight, that sweep he did on DJ was a thing of beauty.

In a bizarre way, fighting DJ so early in his MMA career could be the best thing to happen to Cejudo. 

Edited by lambyUK
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Again, we'll see. I do agree Cejudo getting a taste of what MMA greatness is has made him re-focus. He's got that mental Olympic wrestler mentality to drive himself to do anything, you just hope age and his body hold up.

I've always thought if someone had a chance of dethroning DJ it was Cejudo. Purely because he's such a prime and special athlete. He just needs time and good coaching, because you know he'll work hard at it.

Edited by ColinBollocks
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1 hour ago, ColinBollocks said:

Makes sense, but we'll see. Pettis was apparently next up for DJ, but he flat out said he's not good enough to beat DJ, right now. I also don't like the idea of rushing Cejudo in to get dominated, again, because his fight-to-fight improvements are staggering.

I agree with this and I'm usually all for not rushing fighters before they're ready. But I think the winner of Cejudo vs Pettis is going to end up getting the title shot purely because who else is there? 

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