What did we learn from UFC 130? We learned that sometimes even the best have an off night. I’m not saying UFC 130 was horrible, it just lacked moments that we will be talking about two months from now. No big knockouts, no crazy submissions, no major upsets and no incredible comebacks. Just seven televised fights (including the two on Spike) that had five go the distance. The knockout wins by Brian Stann and Travis Browne were impressive, and should move both guys up in the respective divisions, but that was it. Sorry if I take a nap while others debate the Johnson/Torres decision and if Saturday night was the last in the Octagon for Roy Nelson that is fine with me.
I liked Nelson on TUF and I liked him when he was on the radio show a couple of weeks back, but I doubt I would be much of a “Big Country” fan if I’d paid a couple of hundred bucks to sit ringside. We all know that Nelson will never be GSP, and that his physique and haircut play a big part in his popularity. Still, as a fan we want to believe the guys in the octagon are taking the fights seriously and train hard to come in at their best. I can’t figure out how a guy like Nelson could just give away a major opportunity like the one he had Saturday night. Instead of training his ass off looking to beat former UFC Champ Frank Mir, Nelson instead looked like a guy who couldn’t have cared less. Nelson apologized to his fans after the fight and said he is meeting with Dana White later this week. How do you think that meeting will go? While Nelson may be popular, does that popularity equal Pay-Per-View buys? That’s what Dana White is asking himself and if Nelson survives the meeting with his job, I would bet the message is simple…”Get your ass in shape or you are fired!”
The other post-fight debate seems to be what is going on with Rampage Jackson? Remember Rocky 3 when Mickey said the following line to Rocky…”The worst thing that happened to you, that can happen to any fighter: you got civilized” I think filming “The A Team” made Jackson civilized. It’s kind of funny, but seriously has Jackson looked the same guy since he got back from Hollywood? A decision loss to Rashad Evans, a split decision win over Lyoto Machida and an uninspired decision win over Matt Hamill in the main event at 130. Jackson said afterwards he was dealing with a broken hand, but fans still wonder what happened to the guy who almost took Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva’s heads off their shoulders? Where is the guy who had two “Fight of the Nights” to go with two “Knockout of the Nights”?
You’ve got to wonder if Jackson’s heart is still in the fight game when he talks about quitting MMA as soon as the movie money is right. I’m a huge fan of Jackson’s and wish him luck in anything he does, but as a fight fan I want to see him get back to his old self. I know the glory days of Pride were a long time ago, but when you watch those fights you know you’re getting everything Jackson had win or lose. Jackson used to fight like a guy who believed in the saying “There is no shame in losing a great fight”. Now I don’t know what his mindset is. I will give him a mulligan on Saturday because of the broken hand, but have you seen anything in these last three fights that leads you to believe Jackson is a legit threat to Jon Jones?
Jones, the current Light Heavyweight Champ, is just 23 years old and is coming off an amazing 2010 where he had wins against Brandon Vera, Vladimir Matyushenko, Ryan Baeder and former Light Heavyweight Champ “Shogun” Rua. Jones is peaking while Jackson seems to be on the decline, even in victory.
Plenty of fans will want to see “Rampage” shut the mouth of Jon Jones who can come off as cocky in interviews. Can Jackson be the guy that had fans on their feet and opponents on their back one more time, or will it be another big win for Jones? Anything can happen in MMA, but unless somebody rattles that big chain around Jackson’s neck, I’m not sure the result will be what the fans wanted.