(Poster via Nixsons.com)
With a UFC event scheduled for this weekend that’s actually worth watching, it’s time for another installment of Ben vs. Jared, in which CagePotato’s founding editor Ben Goldstein and long-suffering staff writer Jared Jones go cabeza-a-cabeza to discuss some of this card’s major themes. For example: Is Shogun vs. Sonnen the most pointless match on the UFC Fight Night 26 main card? Is it safe to board the Matt Brown hype train? Will Joe Lauzon make history again? And is it Yuri or Iuri? Prepare for serious business…
So, Shogun vs. Sonnen at light-heavyweight — what’s at stake here? Anything? Anything at all?
BG: I think Shogun’s career is at stake, for one thing. If he loses to a one-dimensional middleweight (no offense, Chael), it’ll drop his UFC win percentage below .500, and bump him out of the UFC light-heavyweight contender picture, maybe permanently. He’ll enter that twilight stage of his career where he’s just showing up for “fun fights,” still famous enough to headline smaller UFC events in Brazil, but no longer part of the overall conversation. Or, he can just retire and run a gas station like his brother. Neither scenario is ideal, but the one that doesn’t require him to sustain traumatic brain injuries seems a little healthier.
For Chael, this fight is more of a no-lose proposition, just like his previous light-heavyweight appearance against Jon Jones. A win against Shogun would be a career highlight, and a loss just means he goes back to middleweight where he belongs, for a battle against Wanderlei Silva that he’s already trying to hype up. Sonnen has already exited the title picture in two different weight-classes, but I don’t even think that matters to him much anymore. Whether he’s shouting behind a FOX Sports broadcast desk or cutting promos after a fight, the man’s just content to have a microphone.
JJ: Fuuuuuuck no. “Out of the light heavyweight picture?” Shogun has been out of the light-heavyweight picture since the current champion put him out of the light heavyweight picture at UFC 128, and I say that as a Shogun fan. The fact is, Shogun can’t stay healthy, he can’t put a win streak together, and his BADBOY tights are getting more constrictive by the day. Training with Freddie Roach may prolong Rua’s career a year or two longer than he would have lasted without it, but Shogun has got to be about the oldest 31-year-old in MMA. He was just used as a stepping stone for Alexander Gustafsson (unless you honestly thought the UFC was setting him up to be slaughtered by Jones again), so as far as I’m concerned, he IS in the “fun fights” part of his career. Again, Shogun fan talking here.