It is rare that in a night of fights we are all reminded of what it means to be a fighter, what the fight game truly means. For those of you out there who have never been in a real fight, you will not know what I am speaking about, but UFC 217 really does show that.
Three new champions, I mentioned the likelihood of this in the build up to these fights, I was slightly confused by certain supposed “fight experts” in the lead up to UFC 217. Because from my perspective many were missing the point of MMA and looking at it too much like an ingredients package on a shelf, or a standard formula for team sports, like this is a league table with such a specific structure of “rankings” –
Oh the fighter that everyone knows the most “obviously” has the best chance to win, and because they are the champions they will definitely be the most successful in the fight – captain obvious, bah, bah sheep totally missing the nature of the chaos that can occur in an MMA fight.
Lets look at the night of fights because it was historic, I just want to give an overview of each new champions night in the hall of glory –
This was the apparent “biggest upset” on the card, to me this was no upset, this was what fighting is about in real life situations – people who don’t know you, don’t respect you, think you have nothing for them, they attack you mentally, verbally and then you just go and show them that you have a lot for them and will actually beat them.
They said Rose had no chance, they said she was afraid, they said her stare downs were fake, they said her game falls apart under pressure – but what did we see in reality? We saw a massively talented martial artist in Rose Namajunas go and show people what effective action looks like –
Technique, timing, movement, generating power, making huge leaps in overall skill set are things that that can align in anybody at anytime, not just the champion and who has the highest number next to their name. Remember that.
Unless you are in the gym training with a specific fighter you cannot claim to know, where they currently are on their martial arts journey. Trevor Whitman, Pat Berry and Rose’s team have supported her so well to take her striking and overall MMA game to the next level.
Anyone paying attention to the game could see this – how could you be shocked that she defeated Joanna Jedrezcyck? An amazing fighter yes, undefeated before this fight yes, but is her game as sharpened as Rose’s right now? No.
Reality speaks volumes and never allow yourself to get trapped in the past, believing that the dominance you have seen from one fighter can continue forever.
There is always someone more hungry and with a more aligned skillset on a specific night – fighting is all about alignment more then most things, who is the most sharpened right now? That is always the real question – a well known champion can become an amateur through not being sharpened, and an amateur or perceived lesser fighter can through continual sharpening become a champion.
Heres the finish to the fight –
To me after this fight TJ Dillashaw is one of the best to ever grace the octagon, being a two time 135 pound champion in the UFC is a feat that few will replicate. He is so cerebral, such a technically smooth, uniquely moving and creative fighter to watch. He also seems to have a very good fight IQ, he makes good decisions very often in the cage, and thoroughly deserves to be the champion at 135 right now.
TJ not only showed all his usual attributes in this fight, he also faced some adversity in the first round getting dropped by Cody Garbrandt with a big counter punch. He showed immense durability and recovery in the second round, and then showed that he has KO power in his hands and his feet dropping Cody a few times to get an emphatic finish.
Cody and his Team Alpha Male teammates, really tried so hard to paint a picture of TJ being this terrible human being in the lead up to this fight.
Say or feel however you like about TJ, but his ability to stay calm through all these mental attacks over the past year by various Alpha male fighters, really shows how stable a human TJ is, and gives me a lot of pause to believe a lot of what was being said about TJ.
Sure maybe the guy goes a bit too hard in training sometimes, but many fighters do and in a competitive team like Alpha Male, I can see how TJ would want to push harder then you should at times – Chris Holdsworth claimed that TJ injured him really badly, which while this could be true, I find it interesting that no reports have surfaced about TJ injuring any training partners since he has left Alpha Male.
TJ seemed completely unshaken in the lead up to this fight, which i could tell he would take into the fight, he was focused on the task at hand, while Cody seemed very desperate to convince people of something about his opponent. I mean fair enough this is the fight game, hype up whatever you need to in order to sell your fight.
But TJ has never been a talker in my eyes, always a doer. Now of course Cody did have TJ hurt in the first round, but while Cody may struggle to accept it, from my perspective TJ is a far more diverse fighter – again I could not understand why everyone was so confident in Cody’s power to end TJ – if anyone was going to beat Cody it was always going to be someone like a former training partner/rival and amazing fighter like TJ Dillashaw.
I have a feeling these two will be meeting again down the line so keep an eye on the schedule! Here’s the fight highlights –
Talk about one of the greatest legends to ever compete in the UFC by far, arguably the best ever. Georges St-Pierre his name is just synonymous with success with regards to MMA, GSP the champion of champions.
Even after 4 years away from the sport, how could anyone possibly write off one of the greatest ever? Out of all of the doubters for the 3 main fights at UFC 217, this one confused me the most.
Sure GSP was looking a bit more fragile in his last few fights before taking an extended 4 year hiatus, everyone remembers how bad he looked at the end of the Johny Hendricks fight.
Also while everyone was focusing on Michael Bisping being so much bigger then GSP and Bisping being much more active in recent years.
But I knew Michael Bisping had knee surgery recently, hadnt fought in a year himself while also having years of wear and tear on his body – a relaxed and as he said himself rejuvenated GSP was always likely to come out on top in my eyes. Bloody he was but victorious nonetheless.
As with many of GSPs dominating performances in the past, it was his grappling that finished the fight with a beautiful rear naked choke, watch the fight highlights here –
Never forget the reality of MMA
By now I hope you have realised that MMA is such a unique sport and this recent UFC 217 fight card at MSG showed us all exactly why. Never and I mean never, speak as if one fighter has no chance of winning a fight, because as we have been discussing alignment is a huge part of fighting.
Things can align for a fighter in one moment after years of grinding in the gym – it can be one statement a coach says, one particular sparring or grappling session that has taken their game to the next level.
As fans, media and experts we have to be responsible enough to understand the true nature of the chaos we witness in MMA. Soon it will be time for UFC 218: Holloway vs Edgar on December 4th, don’t forget you can grab yourself a ticket for this awesome event right HERE.
But that’s it for today, I hope you have enjoyed this article, so post some comments below and of course stay tuned for more from the world of MMA at the MMAGateway.
See you again soon!