Brock Lesnar. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
It’s only been two days since the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s debut show in Minnesota and the after-effects of the event are already being hotly-discussed around the MMA world. While the show may not have delivered in terms of brutal and quick stoppages, each fight that took place was filled with technical exchanges and exciting moments. There wasn’t much more the hardcore fan could ask for.
However the results of the bouts, primarily those that took place on the televised main card, have left questions in terms of the futures of some fighters. Will Georges St. Pierre actually rematch B.J. Penn later this year? What’s next for Brock Lesnar, Kenny Florian, and Roger Huerta? Here’s my thoughts on the answers to those…
Will St. Pierre and Penn fight before the end of the year?
Yes. Without a doubt. It’s a fight that even UFC President Dana White has been going crazy about even before St. Pierre fought and defeated Jon Fitch this past weekend. We all know Penn is stubborn when it comes to his goals and it seems like his dream to become a multi-division champion won’t be leaving him anytime soon. St. Pierre is currently at the top of his game in every aspect, especially mentally, meaning that he won’t be turning down any kind of fight at the moment.
With three straight impressive wins for Penn and neither one of them having a clear-cut contender for their respective belts right now, the timing for a fight between the two is perfect. The UFC would be wise to put the rematch between them on their annual end-of-the-year card. The biggest question lingering these days concerns where the show will take place.
White flew up to Canada last week to meet with officials in hopes of returning to Montreal and putting on another big-time event. However it’s now apparent that an event at the Bell Centre can’t happen before the year’s end because of scheduling conflicts with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens.
The UFC could take a trip back in time and hold a card on a Friday for old times sake, but that’s very unlikely to happen. There’s always Las Vegas, but if White and company are dead-set on returning to Canada for the mega-fight, they could consider the slightly smaller Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec, or if they believe they can fill it, the now vacant Olympic Stadium.
Does Brock Lesnar now have to be taken seriously?
I believe so. It’s one thing to hold Heath Herring down for three straight rounds, but Lesnar didn’t do that. He beat him up, plain and simple. Not many can stake a claim to that. In just three fights or two years, however you want to look at it, Lesnar has gone from being out of the amateur wrestling circuit for years to one of mixed martial arts’ top prospects. Scary.
Some may think that Lesnar’s success is pretty unfortunate, mostly because of his notoriety as a former professional wrestler. While claims such as “Triple H could beat Randy Couture” will now be more prevalent than ever in the minds of the ignorant, Lesnar becoming a big-time star could help propel the sport to new heights. The mainstream media loves to cover him and everyday people know who he is. It can’t be a bad thing.
The current buzz right now is that Lesnar could be pitted against Cheick Kongo in his next fight, another serious challenge for him. If he bypasses Kongo with ease, it would help the UFC a lot if they continued to let Lesnar grow and improve as a fighter, especially if he eventually hits a collision course with heavyweight champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Lesnar is going to need all the training time he can get if he wants to have a chance against one of the legends of the sport.
On a side note, I wasn’t too fond of Lesnar’s post-fight antics. While “riding” Herring during the final five seconds of the fight was pretty entertaining, laughing in his face as the horn sounded and then proceeding to “rope him in” was pretty disrespectful.
I’m sure Lesnar will have no problem playing a villain, especially with the hardcore fans already questioning his place in the sport, but he might want to re-think his victory celebrations if he wants to maintain the respect of his peers. It’ll go a long way in helping him find decent training partners in the future.
What’s next for Kenny Florian and Roger Huerta?
It’s looking like a whole lot of nothing as of right now. White initially promised the winner of Florian’s battle against Huerta a lightweight title shot, but put the prize into question during last week’s pre-fight press conference. Florian stated Saturday night that he doesn’t want to wait around for Penn and would like to keep on fighting. The problem is, there isn’t really a fighter at 155 lbs. out there right now that makes sense as an opponent for him.
If Mac Danzig and Nate Diaz are victorious in their respective bouts at September 17th’s UFC Fight Night 15, they could become potential options, but won’t legitimatize their cause unless they fight each other, possibly creating a long layoff for Florian, something he doesn’t want.
As far as Huerta goes, the UFC might be pulling the old freeze on him, just like they did to Andrei Arlovski and Brandon Vera when they were down to the last fight on their contracts.
No matter which way he slices it, Huerta has made it known that he’s unhappy with his current deal. However losing to Florian this weekend hurt his cause for a raise in a bad way. White said that he would consider a much-better deal for Huerta if he were to beat Florian, but with Huerta’s brash comments and White’s short temper already clashing, it might be a bumpy next few months for “El Matador”
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