Tuesday, June 13, 2017

UFC Lightweight Division Analysis: Division with a Placeholder Champ

Well, we would have had an Interim champ if Khabib hadn't totally blown it and cut so much weight he was hospitalized. I'm mystified how guys act like they're shocked that their body shuts down when they cut 25 lbs of body weight/water in a month or two. Walk around less heavy between fights. There's not like a mystery how you blow up between fights.

That being said, the #3 guy is Alvarez who got dismantled by Conor and now will likely rematch Poirier to run it back after the unified rules/non-unified/grounded opponent/knee to the head uncertainty that ended their fight. #4 Barboza managed to get a win in a fight I had him losing against Dariush with a well-timed jumping knee. That leaves Barboza without a dance partner as Alvarez is likely booked against Poirier. #7 Chiesa faces surging #12 Kevin Lee, #8 Nate Diaz is being Nate Diaz and I guess waiting for Conor McGregor. #5 Dos Anjos is booked for next week against Saffiedine, and #6 Michael Johnson is booked to face another WSOF champ/import Justin Gaethje in July. Waiting sucks, but most of the top 10 for this division is booked. Barboza is saying he wants Ferguson or Khabib next. Dariush is coming off a loss and #11 aquinta is embroiled with a public feud with his bosses. It reminds me of the Tito Ortiz/Dana White days and perhaps it's mostly trumped up on both sides as a cliched narrative to sell tickets. At this point, nothing surprises me in the fight game. With McGregor gone for at least through the fall I would imagine, they do need to pony up for an Interim belt so the division can move forward. This is the 3rd division I've examined in a few days that is currently on hold because of the champ's  either being injured, off doing other stuff or coming up with reasons to not fight the next guy (*ahem* Michael Bisping, and Demetrious Johnson).

I think an Interim belt up for grabs between Tony Ferguson and Barboza makes the most sense as you can't let Khabib fight for it after his total FAIL missing weight for a HUGE title fight. The UFC usually punishes guys a bit for this squandered opportunity, pre-fight promotional work, and wasted opportunity cost, and rumor has it had he won Interim belt they were gonna do a Russia card with him facing McGregor to unify. It would have been gangbusters. Le sigh, so much for what might've been. As it is, Khabib has been laying very low on the radar and it remains to be seen what word from his camp says.

Champion : Conor McGregor

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