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By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch contributor
UFC 192 hit Houston on pay-per-view this past weekend. Let's get right to the rundown.
BAD/GOOD: Julianna Pena vs. Jessica Eye
It's probably too harsh to call this a BAD fight, but it was just so...okay. This sounds like a Wooden-ism, but there was a lot going on while nothing actually happened. It was just one of those fights where you knew how it would play out. Pena was in control throughout most of the fight, and she won the decision. It was a fine fight, but certainly nothing special.
BAD: Joseph Benavidez vs. Ali Bagautinov
This was a very dull fight. Both are tough guys, so I wasn't expecting a finish, but neither guy did anywhere near what they're capable of. They seemed content to pitter around and not do much of anything. Benavidez won the decision, but you're not going to get a title shot with wins like this. The lack of effort was very suprising.
BAD: Shawn Jordan vs. Ruslan Magomedov
Another horrible fight. This main card had been so horribly boring to this point that I imagine many people at home wanting to change the channel or falling asleep. There was so little going on that at times it seemed as though the ref should have just stepped in to call the fight and give both guys a loss.
BAD/UGLY: Ryan Bader vs. Rashad Evans
This was garbage. This fight sucked and was extremely boring, in part because of the stakes. The fight itself was a Bader fight. In other words, boring. But that's a problem when Bader has been clamoring for a title shot. I know that Jon Jones will get the next title shot, but if Bader had come out and put on a tremendous performance, he could have gotten some talk going about how he's more deserving than other potential challengers. Instead, he comes out here and basically lays a turd. Bader won the decision, but it was against a guy who hadn't fought in over two years because he's been battling injuries. Not exactly an inspiring performance.
Hendricks was scheduled to fight Tyron Woodley, but the fight was canceled after Hendricks had to be hospitalized due to weight cutting issues. This is just very unprofessional. Hendricks was in line to get another title shot with a win here, but instead he finds himself way back now. You just can't be having this stuff if you're wanting to fight for a title. So now Woodley gets to fight the winner of the fight between UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit, and Hendricks is left to start over basically.
GOOD: Daniel Cormier vs. Alexander Gustafsson
This was a pretty good fight. Cormier won the split decision in a tightly contested fight. I give Cormier credit because he surprised me with his cardio. I thought for sure that he would fade late but he kept bringing it. That was impressive coming from him. This was a very close fight and one that was very tense as well. Up next for Cormier is a rematch with Jon Jones most likely. Which brings me to...
BAD: Daniel Cormier doesn't want to fight in New York
After his win over Alexander Gustafsson, Cormier said that he won't fight Jon Jones in New York. He said that he doesn't want to fight Jones there because that's the only place that Jones won't get booed, and Jones doesn't deserve that. Cormier's wrong on a couple of things here.
Jones won't get booed no matter where he fights next. This is like Tom Brady and the New England Patriots getting caught cheating (again); what Jones did is minor compared to what he's done in the past. If you liked Jones before you're not going to change your mind because of his fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run. Everyone has their minds pretty well made up on Jones and how they feel about him already. If you liked Jones before, you're probably still going to like him. If you hated him before, this will only reinforce those feelings for you.
Plus, you have the redemption story thing going on here. Jones has hit rock bottom and seen the error of his ways. Or at least that's how the narrative will be portrayed. I shouldn't say that no one will boo Jones, I'm sure there will be a portion of the audience who will, but primarily I think fight fans will just want to see the best fighter on the planet doing his thing. This isn't a battle between good and evil, it's two of the best fighters in the division squaring off.
Cormier is also wrong in thinking that he can dictate where this fight takes place. He lost to Jones, and lost convincingly. I'm not saying that Jones gets to dictate where this fight happens himself, but I do think he's got more say in it than Cormier does. In the end, though, it's going to come down to where the UFC wants the fight to happen.
Jones was the biggest draw in the UFC, though UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor might have something to say as to whether it remains that way when Jones returns. Rousey because of her amazing transformation into a megastar and McGregor especially so if he beats UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. This fight will happen when and where the UFC wants it to happen. That's the way it should be. I don't think the UFC would have this fight in New York anyway, but if they decide that's what they want to do, so be it. All it would do is give Cormier a chance to beat Jones in his home state. None of this will probably even matter, though, because the UFC will probably want to have this fight in Las Vegas, like they do with several of their other huge fights. That's a topic for another day, though.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at email@example.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank
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