(This ought to confuse the hell out of the over-70 Keno crowd.)
Just in case you can’t catch us doing our Ben vs. Ben thang on Sirius Fight Club today at 6 pm EST — and you better have a good excuse for that — we now present to you another installment of our bad faith arguments. Just like UFC 100, shit is epic, son.
If Lesnar beats Frank Mir and unifies the UFC’s heavyweight titles, does that mean we’ll all have to accept him as the legitimate champ, despite his 4-1 record, or will his career be a never-ending struggle for acceptance until he beats Fedor in a climactic street fight?
BF: If Lesnar beats Mir in convincing fashion – meaning without the help of bad officiating, bad judging, or bad breaks – then everyone who keeps insisting that Lesnar is overrated or undeserving is going to have to suck it up and deal. Beating Mir would prove that he’s not just a big, strong, freakish brute with a bad tattoo. I mean, he’ll still be all those things, but he’ll also be the undisputed UFC heavyweight champ, who has avenged his only career loss.
Of course, it will take all of ten seconds after his win for fans to insist that he’ll never beat Shane Carwin and/or Cain Velasquez (my money’s on “Darwin” Carwin), but that’s life as an outspoken, mostly unlikable MMA champ. Regardless of what anyone says about his brash personality, homophobia, tattoo choice, and how those all might be related, no more will anyone be able to say that he doesn’t deserve to be where he’s at. Winning has a way of silencing that criticism.
Now, will he be considered the best heavyweight in MMA after beating Mir? I’m going to let a certain one-word chant answer that question.
BG: Agreed. You have to understand that Frank Mir is one of the worst style-matchups available to Lesnar in the UFC. Brock’s great when he’s on top of you, raining down wackoff-punches, but as Lesnar learned the first time they fought, Mir is a dangerous motherfucker off his back; his strengths go a long way in nullifying Brock’s. So if there’s any one victory that will prove Brock’s worth, it’s this one. "Clash of the Titans" matches against other hulking wrestlers can come later.
And by the way, forget Fedor. He’ll never compete in the UFC, so it’s not worth bringing him into this discussion. As Donald Rumsfeld once said: "You go to war with the UFC heavyweight division you have, not the the UFC heavyweight division you wish you had." Theoretically, Lesnar could spend the next two years kicking the asses of Carwin, Velasquez, Nogueira, and TUF 10 winner Kimbo Slice, while Fedor rots on the shelf because there’s nobody left for him to fight after Josh Barnett. Then we’ll see who’s more relevant.
Aside from the two title fights, what are you most excited to see at UFC 100?
BG: Personally, I’d like to see Bruce Buffer land his "360" so ferociously that it creates a minor hurricane within the Mandalay Bay Events Center that blows Arianny Celeste’s top off. I think that would be a fitting tribute to Helio Gracie’s legacy.
As for things that are actually guaranteed to happen on Saturday, no other fight on the card will match the visceral joy of seeing Jon Jones go wild-style on Jake O’Brien with his arsenal of Greco Roman slams and YouTube-inspired striking. The dude is like a big black Urijah Faber. I can’t wait to see Bones take the victory in entertaining fashion, then yell "MACHIIIIIIDAAAAAA, YOU HAVE MY BELLLLLLLLT!!!" so convincingly during the post-fight interview that the UFC actually gives him an immediate title shot, and so ferociously that it blows Arianny Celeste’s top off.
BF: I’m also looking forward to seeing “Bones” Jones put a man-sized beating on O’Brien, but I can’t say it’s what I’m most looking forward to, mainly because I think it will be a one-sided ass-whipping that’s mostly fun for its highlight reel value. Honestly, I’m pretty pumped about Yoshihiro Akiyama’s UFC debut. The fact that he’s making it at UFC 100, against Alan “The Welcoming Committee” Belcher, only ramps up the excitement for me.
In a weird way, I’m also kind of looking forward to seeing how Mark Coleman does against Stephan Bonnar. I know, I’m setting myself up for disappointment, but that’s part of the fun. I want to believe that he can whip himself into shape and unleash the beast on Bonnar, perhaps even with a headbutt or two for old times’ sake. I don’t have high hopes, but I’m totally willing to be astonished even by a very mediocre performance. And if any Octagon Girl is losing her top, it’s Holly Madison. Arianny can still get paid for the debut of her rack. Holly’s is old news.
BF: You know something? I really can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s that it doesn’t feel like it means much. There was no real rivalry even after this incredibly mediocre season of TUF, so that angle doesn’t work. The winner won’t immediately be a top contender. It doesn’t seem like the kind of style match-up bound to produce an instant classic. Basically, it’s just another fight.
That’s fine, but it’s dwarfed by the other big fights on this card. I’m not any more excited for it than I am for Jon Jones vs. Jake O’Brien, and maybe even less so since I am pretty pumped to see “Bones” put a next-level beatdown on a one-dimensional wrestler. Factor in the months of hype for this one, and it all feels like a road to nowhere to me. The fact that I can’t even pinpoint the exact reason that I’m so unenthusiastic about it only solidifies my position. I’m too indifferent even to complain efficiently.
BG: Bro, either you’re in denial or you haven’t been paying attention — the winner of this fight will immediately be a top contender for the middleweight title. Whether it’s deserving or not is another debate, but Dana White has made it clear that Henderson vs. Bisping is pretty much a #1 contenders match, with the winner getting Anderson Silva next. So we should care, because it’s kind of an important fight.
But I do know what you mean, because I only give a little bit of a shit about this one. I blame TUF. The last season was set up to sell Bisping as the scrappy underdog who just might shock the world against Henderson. In reality, the Count came off as both a poor winner and a poor loser. The moment he squirted Damarques Johnson in the face with water was the moment many fans thought "Okay, I guess now I’m rooting for the boring guy who never says anything." To properly promote a fight, you either need two guys who are well-respected (i.e., GSP vs. Alves), or two guys who are both tremendous assholes (i.e., Lesnar vs. Mir), or you can have an underdog who’s a lot more likable than the favorite (i.e., Florian vs. Penn). You can’t have a douchebag underdog vs. a dullard, or Ben Fowlkes won’t care about your fight, and you might as well retire at that point because you are DONE.
Say you’re in dire financial straits and the only way out is to bet everything you got on one underdog at UFC 100. If he loses, you get your legs broken. If he wins, you get to stop living in your car. Who’s your horse?
BG: You know, living in your car isn’t so bad once you realize that possessions are meaningless and refrigerated food is a luxury meant to keep us docile and weak. Still, everybody needs gas money (and functional legs), so I’d take whatever cash I had and throw it all on Alan Belcher. Look, Yoshihiro Akiyama is an awesome fighter, but he has a lot working against him. He’s an Octagon first-timer. He’s used to fighting in rings, not cages. He won’t be able to use his gi, or his body lotion. He’s Asian. I know that may sound racist, but Asian fighters have a long history of underperforming in the UFC — particularly Korean ones who fight Alan Belcher.
Meanwhile, the Talent is a tough, well-rounded fighter who could overwhelm Akiyama standing and surprise him on the ground. So I’m depending on Belcher to ward off the bookies and get me a nice payday. Then, I’d gather my winnings, check into an extended stay hotel, raise a can of domestic beer and make a toast to the series of savvy financial decisions that led me to this point. The good life, baby.
BF: Man, do you think you’re going to miss your legs? Or will you just learn to do without them, like you’ve learned to do without your dignity and self-respect? I see what you’re saying about Akiyama being an Octagon newbie, but I think he knows what he’s getting into. Plus, Belcher was getting picked apart by Kang before he snagged a pretty lucky guillotine choke, so I’m not sold on his overall ability.
Instead, I’m fixing to blow your mind by putting the last of my theoretical cash on Frank Mir. I think it’s entirely possible that he gets mauled tomorrow night, but you know something? To hell with it. Mir’s a bit of a longshot. But I’m a longshot too, Goldstein. I want to ride the whirlwind on the slim odds that Mir grabs an armbar and exposes the jiu-jitsu-shaped hole in Lesnar’s game once and for all. When he wins, you can find me at the Taco Bell, buying enough chalupas to last until my next big score.