In the end, time will get us all. Our latest victim? Rashad Evans. But UFC on FOX 19 was not just about MMA eulogies. A guy named Khabib Nurmagomedov proved that the UFC’s lightweight division is bright without Conor McGregor. And Cub Swanson kept the flame burning, for at least one more fight.
After some fighter injuries forced last-minute replacement fights, UFC Fight Night Tampa actually produced some some great new story lines for the top MMA company in the world.
5. Glover Teixeira deserves a title shot
Glover Teixeira was overwhelmed in his title shot against Jon Jones, but he’s not the first guy or the last guy who will find himself in those shoes (Next up, Ovince St. Preux). His only other loss was also a decision defeat to Phil Davis, another top-tier talent. So Teixeira is clearly one of the best in the division and he showed it by putting away Rashad Evans convincingly and quickly.
Teixeira may never be able to defeat Jon Jones, but if Uriah Faber can get 62 title shots, Teixeira certainly deserves another one. Too bad the UFC doesn’t do triple threats (calm down, WWE haters) because I’d book Cormier vs. Jones. vs. Teixeira in Madison Square Garden and the UFC could charge $5,000 per ticket and still sell out the building.
It’s highly possible that a year from now, when Jones and Cormier both move up to heavyweight for a trilogy match, that Teixeira could be the last man standing (preferably on the top of a ladder, pulling down a championship belt hanging from the rafters). Sorry, couldn’t help it.
4. Cub Swanson has some gas left in the tank
After a wicked beating at the hands of Max Holloway a year ago, Swanson is back and looking like a possible contender. Last year, Holloway broke Swanson’s jaw en route to a guillotine choke loss. That’s a hard defeat to come back from, especially after getting submitted by Frankie Edgar prior to that.
But with a strong mental attitude and a great training camp, here comes Swanson. After two knockdowns, Swanson earned a relatively easy unanimous decision victory against Hacran Dias. Swanson always fights hard and although he has struggled against top talent, you can’t question his heart. Swanson has a few good fights left in him.
3. Khabib Nurmagomedov is better than you think
He’s undefeated. He’s the last guy to beat Rafael Dos Anjos. He’s a legitimate tough guy. A bad guy. He should be walking around with toothpicks in his mouth, flicking them at jabronis like Conor MacGregor.
Nurmagomedov’s progress has only been hurt by injuries. Saturday’s fight was his first in two years and everyone in the lightweight division, including everyone’s bullcrap talker McGregor. Nurmagomedov stopped Darrell Horcher with strikes in the second round, paving the way to continue his destruction of the lightweight division like he was Dada 5000 at the All You Can Eat Buffet at Sizzler.
Bewarare Nurmagomedov. Barring injury, the division appears to be his for the taking.
2. Rashad Evans needs to retire or go to Bellator
When the last guy you defeated was Chael Sonnen, you need to retire.
1. But seriously, Rashad Evans is done
It’s true that Glover Teixeira can wipe the mat with a lot of fighters, but the way that Evans was knocked cold shows that Evans should be gearing up for a “tentpole” match with Tito Ortiz in Bellator.
What’s the best scenario for Evans? A win over a bottom-of-the-card guy. He’s never going to beat Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones, Glover Teixeira, or even Ryan Bader. It’s time to call Scott Coker, try to get a decision win over Tito Ortiz, and make a ton of money along the way. Evans’ best days are behind him and he should get out of the game before he becomes the next Frank Mir.