UFC on FOX 20 hit us with all the power of a Rod Carew left-handed swing. It didn’t overwhelm, but it was a good show, short and sweet and did it its job. We’ve come a long way from the days of Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos headlining a one-hour show — with that fight being the only fight on the broadcast portion of the card.
Yes, MMA has evolved and a more sophisticated audience can now enjoy it. But if you are Holly Holm, you probably don’t want to bring up evolution. As the preacher’s daughter, it’s probably not a good conversation starter anyway. Besides her career is more akin to creationism: There’s no explaining the divine big bang that dark night inside the cage against Ronda Rousey and then the subsequent mystery question of “how did it happen?”
Unfortunately the only thing expanding in the UFC’s women’s bantamweight division is the number of women holding the title. No great legacies are being created. The title has gone from Rousey to Holm to Tate to Nunes to, next, Shevchenko? We don’t know what Valentina Shevchenko thinks of Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Bryan Caraway, but it’s probably not as thought-provoking as Rousey’s perspective.
After UFC on FOX 20, the time is right for a Rousey return. Let’s look at the other fallout of yet another show without CM Punk (in Chicago nonetheless).
Should Gilbert Melendez Have Stayed in Strikeforce?
Well, that’s not really a fair question to ask because Melendez had no choice. The UFC bought Strikeforce and he came with it. Melendez is for sure a great fighter, but luck has not been on his side in the UFC. Let’s look at his record: He’s 1-4. Yeah, luck got outta town faster than Brock Lesnar after he cashed his UFC 200 check.
Even Melendez’s buddy Jake Shields won six fights in the UFC, and Melendez is arguably a better all-around fighter than Shields. Melendez makes Dwight Howard’s run in Los Angeles look like a Jordanesque legacy.
It’s all very strange. Melendez is a good fighter and should have beaten everyone he fought in the UFC. Instead he lost fights to Benson Henderson, Eddie Alvarez, Anthony Pettis and now Edson Barboza. At least he fought mostly top guys. Melendez also during his UFC run was suspended for performance enhancement drugs. He just has not been himself.
Maybe the UFC isn’t the right fit for the San Francisco native. Maybe he belongs in Bellator. Maybe he needs a change of scene. The guy who was eaten up by Barboza’s leg kicks was not the guy who warred three times with Josh Thomson.
Valentina Shevchenko Rises to the Challenge
Shevchenko went out there and took care of business against a former champion in the main event of a nationally televised broadcast. That’s what champions are made of. And let’s go ahead and call her champion now. Because you know what is going to happen next. “OH MY GOD, SHEVCHENKO HAS JUST KNOCKED OUT AMANDA NUNES.” That’s fantasy booking, but watch this story come up in Google first if that really happens someday!
The truth is, without Rousey as champion, anyone can be champion, Holm, Tate, or Mt. Fiji. That’s what was beautiful about Rousey. All the women in the division can beat each other on any given Saturday or in an overseas show where they are fighting in the wee hours of the morning, but Rousey was dominant. This is probably what UFC President Dana White was talking about years ago when he was anti-women in the UFC. I think it’s exciting. It’s unpredictable. It’s unexpected. It’s unbelievable. Where’s Liz Carmouche, by the way? As women’s UFC pioneer, she needs to get in on this title action.
Holly Holm, Where You At?
We had such hopes that she wouldn’t be the next Buster Douglas. Damn. At the end of the day, people are calling her exactly that, the next Buster Douglas. We’re not saying Ronda’s gonna come back biting anyone’s ear or challenging reporters to fights, but it looks more and more like Holm may want to add an “e” and an “s” to her last name and ride off into the sunset and back into the world of boxing. She’s fighting more like Larry did toward the end of his career than as the next big thing in women’s MMA.
She’s got her pre-fight, warm-up routine down. Great posture, darting across the ring, head and neck straight like a motorized rabbit. But once the fight starts, wow. Who is this person? Where’s that fighter who head-kicked Ronda Rousey all the way back to Santa Monica, into hibernation longer than most California Black Bears? It may just be that Holm will always have the style to beat Rousey. She’s taller with a longer reach. Or it may be that the next time these two fight, Ronda’s gonna destroy her in Cat Zingano-like time. Holm just doesn’t have the fire. As much as we like Shevchencko, realistically, Holm should have been able to fight a similar fight to the Rousey one and beat her. Where were Holm’s kicks? It’s possible Holm has not recovered from the Miesha Tate loss, and if so, that’s sad because she “coulda been a contenda.”
Holm needs to get her head on straight. Does she still want to fight Cyborg? I hope not. Book her against someone like Sarah Kaufman who is gonna stand and trade with her. If she can’t win there, then she needs to listen to the hottest tag team in wrestling, Enzo and Cass, and ride off to Bellator or boxing because legacies and consistency, as we all know, “You Can’t Teach That.”
The UFC Needs Rousey Back — NOW
OK, Ronda, you get the last laugh. They took your title, but not your legacy. It turns out you were Madonna belting out hit after hit this whole time, and all the haters were Alannah Miles singing Black Velvet. It was cool for five minutes, but that’s it. And occasionally when you hear it on the radio, you are like “remember that song?” The others have had their one-hit wonders, but the Grammy stage, the lifetime achievement awards, the paparazzi, they all still belong to Rousey.
The title is ready for Ronda to reclaim and if she can do it, everyone will forget about the Holm loss. Flukes happen, even to the great ones. If you are Ronda Rousey, you want to fight ANYONE as soon as possible. Can you feel it? The Rousey-era is about to begin again, on the next “BEHIND THE MUSIC, THE RETURN OF RONDA ROUSEY.”
Follow Joshua Molina on Twitter: @JECMolina.
Follow @MMAHotSauce on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow MMAWeekly.com on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.