After UFC 218 win, Tecia Torres wants rubber match with new champ Rose Namajunas

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Tecia Torres won her third straight fight with a unanimous-decision victory over Michelle Waterson on Saturday at UFC 218, which leaves the question of what should come next for “The Tiny Tornado” in a suddenly wide open women’s strawweight division.

Fortunately, Torres (10-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) has some ideas on the matter. As she told reporters after she outlasted Waterson (14-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) in Detroit’s pay-per-view opener on Saturday in Detroit, she could see herself in a fight with fellow contender Claudia Gadelha (15-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC), or maybe even taking on the eventual winner of the slated bout between Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and Jessica Andrade (17-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC), who are expected to fight in February at UFC on FOX 28.

“But really, I’d like a title fight,” Torres said. “I’d like that grudge match. I think it’s a fight that fans want to see.”

Of course, fans already have seen it. Twice, in fact. Current UFC women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas (7-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) split a pair of bouts with Torres, with Torres claiming the decision victory in the first meeting at Invicta FC 6 in 2013, and Namajunas winning the UFC rematch via the same method last year.

What’s more, the two young fighters each had the honor of giving each other the first professional losses of their respective careers, so already there’s plenty of history between them.

“I think the story is there,” Torres said. “And I think it would be a great fight for the fans and for myself. Nothing against Rose, business is business. I want that title fight, and I’ve been wanting it for a long time.”

Namajunas is fresh off her upset victory over longtime champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 217, where she stunned the MMA world with a first-round TKO of one of the UFC’s most dominant champions. And while Jedrzejczyk has vowed to reclaim her title, no future plans have been announced regarding the division’s next title fight.

According to Torres, the quick win by Namajunas was an impressive one, but didn’t leave a lot of opportunities for film study.

“I was totally impressed by Rose in her last fight, but I mean … there wasn’t really much to see out of that,” Torres said. “You’ve seen Rose as a fighter. She’s very unpredictable. She’s very good at her jiu-jitsu, very good striker, well-rounded fighter. Every fight presents something new, so I wouldn’t be able to pick something out of there. It would just be me and her fighting.”

Fortunately for Torres, she has plenty of experience there with two fights against Namajunas already. If she could face her for a third time, she said, and this time in a five-round fight rather than a three-rounder, she’s confident that her cardio and fast pace would become an advantage.

“I know how she hits,” Torres said. “I’ve taken her hits for six rounds, so it’d be a fun fight, and I’d be very comfortable and just excited about it. She’s a true representation of the strawweight division, and it’d be an honor to fight her a third time for a title.”

For complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 218's Michelle Waterson not in any hurry to fight for UFC title

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DETROIT – Although it’s still a big fight for the UFC’s strawweight division, Michelle Waterson knows the stakes are slightly lessened for her UFC 218 matchup with Tecia Torres after Rose Namajunas dethroned longtime champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk in November.

Namajunas (6-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) shook up the 115-pound weight class when she scored a first-round knockout of Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) at UFC 217. Prior to the fight, Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) vs. Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) was viewed by most as a title eliminator in the division, but with a rematch likely to take place for the gold sometime next year, “The Karate Hottie” may need to put in more work in order to get a crack at the belt.

Waterson said she’s fine with that, mainly because she’s in no rush to reach the title. She sees more to work on with her game before challenging Namajunas, Jedrzejczyk or whoever else might be holding the crown.

“I’m not in any hurry,” Waterson told MMAjunkie at Thursday’s UFC 218 media day. “I love to fight. I’m comfortable in a place in my career now where I want to go out there and I want to show everybody what I’ve been working on. I want to go out there and execute. It’s like when you practice for a game and you actually land a move you’ve been landing over and over and over in practice. That feeling you get when you land it in the live game, that’s what I’m going out there Saturday night to do. Just go out there and execute what I’ve been working on and have fun.”

UFC 218 takes place Saturday at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit, and it’s the UFC’s first event in Michigan since UFC 123 in 2010. Waterson vs. Torres opens the pay-per-view main card following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Waterson is coming off a second-round submission loss to Namajunas at UFC on FOX 24 in April. She can bounce back toward the top of the division with a win over Torres, but unless something drastic changes, not likely into a championship bout.

Although the change in titleholders had an impact on Waterson’s placement in the division, she said her feeling of happiness for Namajunas outweighs anything else. She said she also wouldn’t mind rematching “Thug Rose” is she hangs onto the strap.

“I’m happy for Rose,” Waterson said. “She was really focused that night and she did a really great job executing her game plan. She went out there and she ceased the moment. Even though we’re all opponents and fight each other, you can’t help but be happy for somebody. You know what it is and you know what you sacrifice when you’re in training camp. To be able to capitalize on the moment, I was happy for her. I would love to rematch her. It just makes it that much better when she’s the champ now.”

Regardless of what’s on the horizon with a win, Waterson said she’s focused on the task at hand, which is earning a victory at UFC 218. Torres has been angling for a matchup with Waterson for quite some time, but it’s never come to fruition. Now’s the time, though, and Waterson said she’s pleased with the matchmaking.

“I think it’s a great matchup,” Waterson said. “Her coming off two wins, me coming off the fight against Rose. We’re both closely matched up in the rankings. It’s going to be a fight that determines who gets pushed up the ladder. I’m excited. … I’m looking forward to fighting a more well-rounded, developed Tecia Torres. I see myself winning by a finish.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Tecia Torres believes she can skip past Joanna Jedrzejczyk in title queue with UFC 218 win

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DETROIT – Tecia Torres has her sights set on UFC gold. She believes an impressive victory over Michelle Waterson on Saturday at UFC 218 could get her that opportunity.

Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC), who fights Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) in the UFC 218 pay-per-view opener following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, is looking to extend her winning streak to three fights in the UFC strawweight division.

Despite the fact all signs point to former longtime champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) getting an immediate rematch with champ Rose Namajunas (6-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) following her UFC 217 title loss, Torres thinks she has a chance to jump the queue with the right performance.

“I do feel coming out with a great win this weekend I could get a possible title shot,” Torres told MMAjunkie at Thursday’s UFC 218 media day. “But you never know what happens. It’s really what the matchmakers want to make and what plays a good story. I think I have a good story. We’ll see what happens on Saturday night.”

Torres’ chances of getting a fight with Namajunas could be bolstered by the history between the pair. Torres defeated “Thug Rose” by unanimous decision at Invicta FC 6 in July 2013, while Namajunas won the rematch by unanimous decision at UFC on FOX 19 in April 2016.

With each fighter holding one victory, a trilogy bout seems inevitable. Torres said she’s not going to demand anything, though. She said she was pleased to see Namajunas win at UFC 217, especially because of how she got the job done and conducted herself afterward.

“I’m very happy for Rose,” Torres said. “She’s a talented fighter and a great representation for the UFC strawweight champion. I wasn’t surprised at all that she won. I thought she had the right tools to get in there and not stand in front of Joanna, because that’s what you can’t do. If you stand in front of her she’s going to light you up all day. She went in there and used her movement and she got that quick win. That was amazing. I’m very happy for Rose and I like where it’s at.”

As far as UFC 218 goes, though, Torres said she’s thrilled to be fighting Waterson. She’s been angling for a matchup with “The Karate Hottie” for the better part of 2017 and intends on proving why she asked for the fight with a statement win. Torres is coming off the first stoppage win of her career – a second-round submission of Juliana Lima at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale in July – and intends on continuing that momentum against Waterson.

“(After getting a stoppage) I was like, ‘Damn. That felt so easy, that felt so great. Why don’t I go in there and just get it done like that and not have to go 15 minutes?’” Torres said. “I’d like to go get it done for this fight. I continue to say I want to hit her and I don’t want to stop hitting her. That’s what’s win my mind and that’s what my game plan is.

“She’s a great fighter, I’m a great fighter and obviously I think I have the advantage everywhere the fight goes,” she continued. “I’m stronger, I’m faster and I’m more athletic. I’m just going to continue to say that because I really believe in it.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Back from long layoff, Tatiana Suarez wants to take scenic route to UFC title

NORFOLK, Va. – Tatiana Suarez isn’t looking to rush into a UFC title shot after returning from a long layoff with a victory over Viviane Pereira on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 120.

Still young in her career, Suarez (5-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) labeled new UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas as an inspiration. Following her dominant unanimous decision win over Pereira (13-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), Suarez said Namajunas (7-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) had a long road of ups and downs before claiming the belt from Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and while she’s not exactly planning to have downs, she wants to enjoy the journey.

“I want to stay busy; that’s what I want to do,” Suarez told MMAjunkie after the win. “I want to face tough opponents and put in multiple battles. I want to earn my way to the top. I don’t want to just be like, ‘Mouth, mouth, mouth – I’m fighting for the title.’ I want to work for that. I want a journey to there. That’s what makes that win that much better.”

UFC Fight Night 120 took place at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va. Suarez beat Pereira on the FS1-televised card following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Although the fight was one-sided and even earned one 30-26 scorecard, Suarez wasn’t able to get a stoppage, as she had in the majority of her fights prior. She didn’t cite any ring rust after taking more than a year off following a win on “The Ultimate Fighter 23;” she just said her Brazilian foe was tough.

“I knew she was going to be a tough opponent, and that’s what my coaches were telling me before the fight,” Suarez said. “It pushes you; it shows you how much you have. She was tough to put away, and give me five more seconds in the last round and I would have finished her, but I’m really excited. I’m proud of my performance, especially after a long layoff.”

With plans to take the scenic route to the belt, the 26-year-old said she’s willing to take on all comers in her weight class. She believes she proved herself in a big way against Pereira, and is ready to do that again against another tough opponent.

“Whatever the UFC gives me, I’ll take it,” Suarez said. “That girl was 13-0 and when they gave me her name I said yes. I’m not scared to put myself out there. You’ve got to take chances in order – you’ll never know unless you put yourself out there.”

To hear more from Suarez, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 120, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 217's 'Thrill and Agony' will make your eyes water

Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos

Dann StuppIf you though UFC 217 was an emotional rollercoaster on fight night, wait until you see the new behind-the-scenes and cageside footage.

The “Thrill and Agony” series takes us up close and behind the scenes of pay-per-view events, and at UFC 217, we saw some emotional aftermath after three titles changed hands.

UFC 217 took place Saturday at Madison Square Garden Arena in New York, and the main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

In “Thrill and Agony,” raw emotion is put on display, primarily with the corner and cageside cams that captured teammates, friends and family reacting to the fights.

Some of the most emotional footage comes from the night’s first title fight when heavy underdog Rose Namajunas (7-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) upset strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC). Check out the reactions from the fighters, their corners, family and friends – and the cageside broadcasters above.

It also includes the aftermath of new bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) taking out former teammate and training partner Cody Garbrandt (11-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) in the co-headliner, as well as Georges St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) dethroning middleweight titleholder via submission Michael Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) in the headliner.

The above video is a preview of “Thrill and Agony.” The full episode is available on UFC Fight Pass for subscribers.

For complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Norfolk's Angela Hill motivated to work toward Rose Namajunas rematch

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Angela Hill’s run in the UFC has been up, down and then up again, and she hopes it continues toward the top.

Hill (7-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC), coming off a win in her last fight, looks to keep the momentum going when she takes on Nina Ansaroff (7-5 MMA, 1-2 UFC) on Saturday in the opening FS1 prelim of UFC Fight Night 120, which takes place at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va.

Putting together a winning streak in the UFC strawwweight division has proven difficult for the former Invicta FC champion. She won her UFC debut in Sept. 2014 before losing back-to-back fights to Tecia Torres and current champion Rose Namajunas, who knocked out Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title last weekend at UFC 217.

The two losses prompted Hill down to Invicta FC, where she put together a four-fight winning streak that included her title win and one defense. Her return to the UFC didn’t fare well, however, as she dropped a decision to title contender Jessica Andrade last February at UFC Fight Night 104.

Now that Hill is back in the win column – in the UFC, that is – after earning a decision from Ashley Yoder at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale in July, she hopes to continue climbing the ranks until she either gets a second shot at Namajunas or a crack at Jedrzejczyk, who was on her mind for some time.

“I’ve always wanted my rematches, but I wanted to make sure that I was ready when I did have those rematches,” Hill told MMAjunkie on Wednesday. “You know, everyone’s on the list that I’ve lost to when it comes to that. But I definitely feel like I was a totally different fighter when I did fight (Namajunas). I was motivated to fight (Jedrzejczyk) when she was champ. I was hoping that I could work my way up to that. I was already thinking about what I was going to do for the face-off and everything.

“But now that (Jedrzejczyk is) out of the picture, she’s still going to be around. I’d still love to fight her at some point. Yeah, I’m definitely going for that title run after I feel I’ve got enough wins, and I’ve impressed enough to get a go at (Namajunas).”

Check out the video above to hear more from Hill on her mindset heading into her fight on Saturday.

And for more on UFC Fight Night 120, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 217 'Fight Motion:' Watch T.J. Dillashaw drop Cody Garbrandt with high kick before finish

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

The UFC’s latest edition of “Fight Motion” with super slow-motion highlights is out, and in it we see highlights from all three title fights, including T.J. Dillashaw’s first knockdown of Cody Garbrandt.

Before scoring the knockout finish to become bantamweight champion for the second time, Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) dropped Garbrandt (11-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) with a high kick that landed flush to the face. It signaled the beginning of the end for the now-former champion.

The “Fight Motion” highlights also include the main event, which saw Georges St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) choke out Michael Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) to win the middleweight title and become the fourth two-division champion in UFC history, as well as Rose Namajunas’ (7-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) stunning first-round knockout of Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) to win the strawweight title.

In the video above, check out the super slow-motion highlights from the action at UFC 217 this past Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. The main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

For complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Dana White argues why 2017 was best year in UFC history 'by a long shot'

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NEW YORK – UFC President Dana White’s had lofty expectations for UFC 217. And judging by his talk with reporters following Saturday’s event at New York’s Madison Square Garden, they were surpassed. he said.

Asked about what the triumphant return of Canadian icon Georges St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) – a former welterweight titleholder who joined the small club of two-division UFC champs after taking Michael Bisping’s (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) middleweight crown in UFC 217 pay-per-view headliner – could mean in terms of taking the UFC back to Montreal, White replied with some bold figures.

“It would obviously make sense to go back to Montreal with (St-Pierre),” White said. “I told some of you guys this yesterday, but (Floyd Mayweather and UFC champ Conor McGregor) had the record there in Canada. We were No. 2 and 3 or something like that. We’re pretty sure that this beat Mayweather and McGregor in Canada tonight.

“I told some of you yesterday that this would do a million (pay-per-view buys). I was way wrong. It did over a million. I’ll have a definite answer tomorrow, but it’s looking like we destroyed it.”

UFC 217 featured three PPV title bouts – all of which saw belts changing hands. In the night’s headliner, St-Pierre came back from a four-year layoff to squeeze Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC) into a submission. The co-headliner saw T.J. Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) overcoming an unfavorable first round to knock out previously undefeated Cody Garbrandt (11-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) in the second and re-claim the 135-pound title.

And then, of course, there was massive underdog Rose Namajunas(7-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) demolishing the previously unbeaten Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) in the first round of their strawweight title encounter in a way that not that, it’s safe to say, not many people saw coming.

The night was so rich in flashy finishes that five “Performance of the Night” bonuses were distributed; Namajunas, Dillashaw and St-Pierre made an added $50,000 bank, while Ricardo Ramos and Ovince Saint Preux took home $25,000 each.

While there are quite a few cards that look stacked on paper, for one of them to deliver in such a stellar way is, in White’s words, “awesome.” Still, considering the amount of solid events the promotion has put together, White said, singling out UFC 217 as the best fight card ever would be tough.

“But it was one of the best ever – if not the best ever,” White said.

But UFC 217 isn’t the only thing keeping White in good spirits. Although the UFC president had raised some eyebrows in his previous remarks that the UFC was bound to have its best year yet in 2017, he reiterated his thoughts on the  year in quite emphatic manner during Saturday’s post-fight press conference.

“Whose indications (that PPV are down) are that? People who don’t know what the (expletive) they’re talking about,” White said. “If you don’t know what’s going on in our business, how can you speculate that we’re having a bad year? This is the best year, by a long shot, in the company’s history. Boom.

“Ronda (Rousey) didn’t fight. Conor didn’t fight in MMA. Jon Jones fought once. And Anderson Silva, Chuck Liddell – the list goes on and on and on. The business is kicking ass. Best year ever, by a long shot.”

The statement, it’s worth noting, encompasses the revenue made by the mega-showdown between Mayweather and McGregor – which, according to White’s most recent account, garnered 6.7 million PPV buys around the world.

As for why would “The Money Fight” be included in this math – well, why wouldn’t it?

“You can’t take that out; it happened,” White said. “And if that didn’t happen, Conor would have fought twice this year. You can’t take it out. Who cares if it’s a boxing match? It’s revenue that the company made that we spent four months of our resources promoting.”

To hear White’s full interview, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Trading Shots: Did title turnover at UFC 217 teach us a lesson about the price of arrogance?

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Three very confident champions all lost their titles in brutal fashion at UFC 217. What, if anything, is the lesson here? MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes and retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes discuss.

* * * *

Fowlkes: What a night, eh, Danny? For the first time in UFC history, three titles changed hands in three consecutive bouts. Another way to look at it: In all three title fights, we saw some version of a story that is as rare in real life as it is satisfying. I refer now, of course, to the story of hubris punished.

Think about it. Michal Bisping? Joanna Jedrzejczyk? Cody Garbrandt? All three came into their title defenses talking a metric ton of crap. All three, to one extent or another, played the role of the bully, constantly poking a finger in the challenger’s chest while threatening all manner of humiliating violence. Then, one by one, all three got beaten up.

To make the contrast between the defeated bullies and the victorious bullied even more glaring, you had Rose Namajunas out there using her victory speech to encourage us to be nice and hug each other. You had Georges St-Pierre apologizing for the using the word “balls” in public (surely, NYC residents were scandalized by such talk). You had T.J. Dillashaw … well, he didn’t gloat anywhere near as obnoxiously as he could have, and that’s something, especially against a bitter rival and former teammate.

Is it all one big coincidence, Danny? Or is there something to learn from a night when the plot of basically every teen movie from “The Karate Kid” to “Never Back Down” became reality in the UFC?

Downes: Who knew that all it took for Ben Fowlkes to get back into the church pew was three UFC titles changing hands in one night? Maybe next week we can change the name of this column to “Trading Blessings” and we talk about how #blessed we are in our lives.

Of course it’s a coincidence! You constantly talk about how we shouldn’t read any morality into MMA. Well, we shouldn’t attribute any metaphysical arc of justice to it either. The same night as these alleged “bullies” lost their titles, former NFL player and domestic abuser Greg Hardy started his new career as an MMA fighter.

I think there’s a mistake in grouping all three of the former title holders in the same group. They were all arrogant in their bullying, but in different degrees. Bisping was his usual, grating self, with the mix of cocky Englishman, condescension and lack of self-awareness that we’ve come to expect. He even dresses the part of a bad guy in a low budget action movie.

Garbrandt’s attitude was driven more by personal animus towards Dillashaw. He probably crossed a line or two in the etiquette department (it’s never appropriate to brag about sparring “wins”), but that could be attributed to the fact that he really did not like Dillashaw. Rightly or wrongly, he finds Dillashaw disloyal and that really annoyed him.

I personally find Jedrzejczyk’s case the most interesting. She’s always had a mean streak, but in the buildup to this fight, she seemed especially nasty. Particularly in the way she attacked Namajunas, who tried to bring awareness to mental health issues.

Was this a case of Jedrzejczyk turning up her persona to 11, or was it a case of her drinking her own Kool-Aid? When everyone in the MMA landscape says you’re the baddest woman on the planet, you’re probably going to start calling yourself the boogeywoman, speaking in crazy hyperbole and looking for a role in the new “Roadhouse” remake. (Sorry, I think that last one was somebody else who believed her own hype.)

Regardless of what type of bully they personified, it appears they all received their comeuppance. I’m sure many fans enjoyed watching them lose their respective titles. I’m also sure that many fans aren’t looking for a kinder, gentler UFC fighter.

Fighters, too, aren’t going to be telling themselves, “You know, I should be more respectful to my opponent.” Everyone is going to be chasing that Conor McGregor money. As result, you’re going to get bootleg McGregors (cough* Colby Covington cough*) trying to be a more athletic Biff Tannen.

You compared last night to “The Karate Kid.” Do you think the “good guys” won last night? Do MMA fans have cocky A-hole fatigue? What should we learn from last night other than it’s really difficult to keep your title?

Fowlkes: I’m not going to say it was a moral failing that caused the downfall of these three champions, but especially in Jedrzejczyk’s case, it did seem like a disdain for her opponent’s skills (and maybe an overabundance of faith in her own) played a role in her loss. Arrogance can be a good selling point in combat sports. But if it’s also a character trait that you bring into the fight, it can get you knocked out.

As for the question of cocky A-hole fatigue, yes and no. It was strangely refreshing to see Namajunas pull off the night’s biggest upset, only to turn around and insist that she felt “like a normal person” afterward, because it is who you are with or without the belt that really matters.

And when GSP did his polite Canadian gentleman thing, you did get the sense that people were more into it because it was such a departure from the swaggering braggadocio we’ve gotten accustomed to lately.

I’m under no illusion that this is the beginning of an MMA culture change. Fighters saw McGregor getting fame and money, so they naturally tried to emulate the form hoping for similar results. That’s not going to stop all at once, or maybe ever.

Let’s not forget, when we were used to having St-Pierre and his G-rated trash talk around on the regular, we got to a point where we found it all a bit boring. He had to go away and come back in a different era for anybody to appreciate it.

But I do think that Saturday night might have been a reminder that there’s more than one path to the waterfall. Not everyone needs to be the sneering, cocky champ. The more people who try that act, the more of an opening it creates for something – anything – else.

Downes: If there’s one thing MMA fighters can learn from Hamlet (other than don’t get involved in Danish politics), it’s “this above all: to thy own self be true.” We’re so quick to tie MMA to professional wrestling that we conflate fighters with characters.

To be sure, fighters need to have some type of “brand.” The idea of letting your fighting do all the talking is naive, and it ignores the business of the sport.

When we have fighters out there working a gimmick, though, it cheapens everything else. Chael Sonnen had a decent thing going, but he went over the line into becoming a caricature of himself. I would argue that you’re better off having a boring personality than an insincere one.

Look at Sage Northcutt. I would assume by now he’s in on the joke, but it still works because that’s his personality. When wannabe McGregors spout uncreative nonsense, it seems ridiculous. It’s like when you tried to bring back the word fetch. Stop trying to make fetch happen, Ben. It’s not going to happen!

MMA is at its best when there’s variety. That applies to fighter personalities as much as it does to fighting styles. Homogeneity isn’t entertaining, and MMA fans aren’t a monolith. We all have different opinions of what we find entertaining, and the more options we have presented, the sport in general will be healthier. Some of us cheer for the bully. Some of us root for the underdog. But all of us want the sport to grow.

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.

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Excited about Rose Namajunas' UFC title win? You've got nothing on Justin Gaethje

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Dann StuppIf you think you were excited about Rose Namajunas’ title win at Saturday’s UFC 217 event, you’ve got nothing on Justin Gaethje.

Following UFC 217, where Namajunas (7-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) dethroned strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) with a dominant first-round TKO, Gaethje shared a celebratory video.

The UFC lightweight contender didn’t hold back with an emotional outburst following his teammate’s victory over previously undefeated Jedrzejczyk (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

“Oh my God, I’m (expletive) crying right now,” Gaethje says in the video. “Ahh! Believe in yourself! Oh, Rose is my (expletive) hero and idol. Oh my God! (Expletive) yeah!”

Heading into the event, which aired on pay-per-view from Madison Square Garden Arena in New York, Jedrzejczyk was a massive 8-1 favorite, and she had turned up the pre-fight trash-talk throughout the week. Namajunas, though, took the high road.

“There’s just been a lot of trash-talking,” Namajunas said after UFC 217. “People aren’t really being true to themselves or honest. Maybe that’s just what they feel they need to do to entertain, but I’m kind of sick of it. I’m sick of all the hate and anger. I feel like we have a duty as fighters to try to be a better example.”

Meanwhile, Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who’s No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, meets former champ and No. 5-ranked Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) at UFC 218 on Dec. 2 in Detroit.

For complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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