Yes, folks, it’s official, and kind of bizarre: BJ Penn is coming out of his temporary hiatus to coach against Frankie Edgar on the 19th season of TUF (debut date TBA). The two former lightweight champs will face off in a featherweight bout next April. The news was confirmed on this evening’s installment of UFC Tonight. As UFC president Dana White explained, the UFC was originally thinking of putting together Frankie Edgar vs. Urijah Faber as TUF 19 coaches, but the fighters couldn’t agree on a weight class. (Edgar didn’t want to drop down to 135, Faber didn’t want to go back up to 145, and Dana White wasn’t sold on the idea of a catchweight fight.)
So then (as the story goes), BJ Penn randomly calls Dana White and says he wants to fight Benson Henderson (?), as a way to earn his way back to a redemption fight against Frankie Edgar at featherweight (??). Does that plan make tons of sense? Not really. But White was happy to take the opportunity that presented itself, and offered Penn an immediate fight against Edgar if he coached TUF. White also claimed that Penn is super fired up about fighting Edgar again, because his previous losses to Edgar feel like “a pebble in his shoe.”
(Sounds like a good plan, but wait until you’re married for a year, and your wife’s all like, “Bensonnnn why do you spend all your time defending your title, what about meeeeeeeee, we never go anywhere anymorrrrrrre.” Ugh. Am I right? Back me up here, married guys. / Photo via MMAFighting)
It seems like one of MMA’s most untouchable records, but Benson Henderson is convinced that he will beat former middleweight champion Anderson Silva‘s consecutive title defense streak of ten.
“I’m going to break it in 2016,” the ever-confident UFC lightweight champion told MMA Fighting.
I should be able to break it by 2015, but because I’m getting married I’m going to take some time off for my honeymoon. That’s going to set me back by about three to four months. But I have it down exactly. I know when I’m going to break it. It’s going to be early 2016. I know what number I need to get. I know the amount of hard work it’s going to take for me to get there. I know how much I’ve got to get beat up, I know how much I’ve got to practice. I’m aware of it. I know it. Now my goal is to go out there and go do it.
Well, alright. We can’t hate on Henderson. The kid has earned what he has, to say the least, and by all accounts works crazy hard. He’s also just a flat-out incredible fighter and looks better each time out.
That said, considering that he has just three consecutive successful title-defenses right now, with an attempt at a fourth coming Saturday at UFC 164, and that two of those bouts were incredibly close — against Frankie Edgar and his last against Gilbert Melendez — predicting ten straight seems a bit outlandish.
It’s not that Henderson isn’t capable of winning seven more straight, it’s just that he’ll probably continue to fight to close decisions a lot considering the parity of the lightweight division. One of these days, the judges might not see things his way; you’re rolling the dice every time you let the scorecards decide the fight, and you can’t always expect the judges to behave rationally.
Unlike some weight-classes we won’t mention, the UFC featherweight division is currently loaded with dangerous contenders, any of whom could be a serious title threat in the future. At UFC 163 (August 3rd, Rio de Janeiro), divisional ruler Jose Aldo defends his belt against fan-favorite “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, and as long as an immediate rematch isn’t booked, there will be a feeding frenzy of 145-pounders trying to make their case as the true #1 contender. So who’s worthiest of the next title shot? Let’s put aside the phony UFC rankings and business-driven matchmaking and break down where each featherweight contender really stands in the pecking order.
Lamas is the obvious frontrunner to be next in line but why is he being overlooked? The fact that Jung got the title shot over Lamas after their UFC 162 bout was canceled raised a few eyebrows in itself. Lamas, who hasn’t lost in over a year and a half, has blazed through his opposition in the UFC including men on this very list, and despite demolishing a highly-regarded prospect in Erik Koch back in January, his immediate future is unknown. Lamas has a devastating striking game — including some flashy and dangerous kicks — which gives him the ability to end a fight at any moment. He also has a quality wrestling pedigree, alongside a brown belt in jiu-jitsu, and his ground and pound is murderous; woe to anyone in the division who finds himself on the bottom of Lamas’s elbows and power strikes.
It’s relatively strange that Lamas was skipped in line for a title shot but maybe the UFC feels Aldo’s competition should come with a familiar face. Jung is no slouch, finishing all three opponents thus far in his UFC career, but Lamas also has an equally impressive track record in the company – undefeated in four bouts with previous stoppages over Cub Swanson, Matt Grice. The aforementioned brutalizing of Erik Koch was a major reason to include him in the mix, as Koch was a highly-touted prospect who was already paving his way to a title shot before he met “The Bully.” With Conor McGregor and Cub Swanson angling for fights with the Chicago-born fighter, his next move is up in the air, but maybe he’ll remain quiet until August 3rd to see how everything pans out.
The full UFC 162 payout list is below, via MMAJunkie. Keep in mind that the numbers don’t include additional revenue from sponsorships, undisclosed “locker room bonuses,” or cuts of the pay-per-view that some of the UFC’s stars are entitled to.
Chris Weidman: $98,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus, $50,000 Knockout of the Night bonus) Anderson Silva: $600,000
Frankie Edgar: $290,000 (includes $120,000 win bonus, $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus) Charles Oliveira: $71,000 (includes $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
Tim Kennedy: $90,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus) Roger Gracie: $50,000
Most likely to make well over $24,000 to show in his next fight: Chris Weidman
Perhaps this is jab towards the fighter pay issues that have risen as of late but Chris Weidman established himself as a future star, no matter how differently the fight would have been had Anderson Silva taken it seriously. Yes, Weidman officially made just $48,000, but by dethroning Anderson Silva, he earned a lot more than just money — Weidman became world famous overnight ending up on sites like TMZ and every major newspaper in the country, and he was the man responsible for one of the most historic moments in UFC history. Weidman’s ability to have a similar legacy in the middleweight division is now in question, especially when you consider that an immediate rematch with Silva is still the most likely scenario. Say what you will about Weidman and the fact that eighteen fighters were not enough to convince you otherwise — he knocked out Anderson Silva. That’s all you need to know.
Rematch…retirement….Roy Jones….Stephan Bonnar II…who knows what the future really has in store for the former middleweight kingpin? And with the reiteration that his participation in superfights is off, it becomes more bleak. It really all depends on how Silva would like to go out: On his shield, or dancing the night away worse than J-Lo. Without discrediting Weidman, it was not what we expected or wanted from the supposed best fighter who has ever lived. When some unknown jackass gets KO’d while taunting his opponent, we applaud and move on with our lives, but let’s face it, the best fighters in the world usually don’t put themselves in such vulnerable positions. However it’s impossible to say that it was not a deserving loss for Silva and we’ve never seen him do that before; you live by the gun, you die by the gun.
Surreal. That’s a pretty apt description of most Anderson Silva fights, for better or worse. Dodging Forrest Griffin’s strikes like he was in the Matrix, standing on the cage against Stephan Bonnar, front-kicking Vitor Belfort in the face? Surreal. Dancing around Thales Leites and shouting “where’s your jiu-jitsu now, playboy?” at Demian Maia? Surreal.
But those pale in comparison to what happened last night. What happened last night, when Silva lost for the first time in seventeen fights because he pushed the envelope too far, was the definition of surreal. For the sake of trying to comprehend what happened, let’s recapitulate for a moment. The first round saw Chris Weidman, the new middleweight kingpin of the UFC, take Silva down. Faced with the area in which he was most vulnerable, Silva deftly rolled with what ground and pound Weidman offered and defended any submission attempts before getting back to his feet. The rest of the round was spent taunting Weidman and stuffing any attempts at taking the fight to the ground. At the end of the round, Silva inexplicably hugged Weidman before returning to his corner.
When the second round began, Silva was in complete control, mocking Weidman’s attempts to hurt him. It was a performance unlike any other. But Silva strayed too far to the edge; caught with his chin up in the middle of a Weidman combination, he was felled by a left hook. His eyes rolled back; he was out before he hit the ground, where Weidman followed with a salvo of ground and pound that was merely a formality. Somehow, Silva had lost his title even more than Weidman had won it.
They’ve smushed chins. They’ve mushed lips. But tonight at UFC 162 in Las Vegas, Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman will let their fists do the love-making, and the only bodily fluids being exchanged will be BLOOD. [Ed. note: Look, I'm doing my best here.] Whether the Brazilian G.O.A.T. makes his 11th middleweight title defense, or the “All-American” lives up to his Rocky-esque underdog hype, I think we’re in for a hell of a battle.
Handling our liveblog for the “Silva vs. Weidman” main card is Alex Giardini, who will be slingin’ live results after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for the latest updates, and feel free to mouth off in the comments section.
Are Chris Weidman‘s chances for an upset as good as everybody seems to think they are? Is Tim Kennedy better at talking than he is at fighting? Does UFC 162 feature the most stacked Facebook prelims in the history of curtain-jerking? And Dave Herman‘s getting fired, right? Read on as CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and staff writer Jared Jones debate these topics — and so much more — and be sure to come back tomorrow night for our “Silva vs. Weidman” liveblog, beginning with the FX prelims at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
Chris Weidman has become the fashionable pick for an upset against Anderson Silva. You don’t actually believe he’ll pull it off, do you? I mean, you’re not a moron, right?
JJ: Now,I may be a moron, but there is one thing I am not, sir, and that, sir, is a moron.
If we were to have this debate immediately after Weidman had finished knocking Mark Munoz into an ice cream cake-induced depression, I would have told you that Anderson Silva was a dead man walking. “Weidman brings the kind of grappling prowess that, like Chael P. Sonnen before him, will all but completely suffocate Andy’s offense,” I would say whilst smoking a corncob pipe and farting into a wine glass, “And his striking, while clearly not on Silva’s level, has improved enough to keep the soon-to-be former champ hesitant in those rare moments when he won’t be fighting off his back.” I would have mocked you for daring to claim otherwise, then had security escort you out of my chalet bungalow when you inevitably lost your cool like a common miscreant.
BG: I feel like this wave of Weidman-support isn’t so much based on realistic analysis of the matchup, so much as fans’ natural desire to see some change after seven years of having the same champion dominating the competition, and other UFC fighters’ totally understandable self-interest in having that dominant champion go away for a while. It’s wishful thinking, basically.
The good news is, Weidman has a long career still ahead of him. Three years from now, Anderson Silva might be retired, and Chris Weidman will still be beating up top contenders. He’ll have his moment. Saturday night will not be that moment.
Tim Kennedy seems to talk a lot for a guy without many significant wins. Will Roger Gracie silence him for once, or will Kennedy finally live up to his own hype?
We’re nearing one of the UFC’s biggest events of the year – UFC 162 – and so it’s the perfect time to get a little extra amped up for Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman and another of the night’s bouts. Weidman continues to talk himself up as the guy to dethrone middleweight champion Silva, and he’s joined by a number of other prominent MMA fighters who say he’s the perfect guy to beat Anderson.
Also, We get a sneak peak at Frankie Edgar’s training camp as he prepares to lose a controversially-close decision to Charles Oliveira. Oh yeah, there’s some apt Kanye West music at the end as well.
Do you think Weidman has a chance, nation? And, what other fight are you most looking forward to at UFC 162?
- Frankie Edgar vs. Charles Oliveira: Following his unsuccessful title challenge against Jose Aldo — which gave Edgar his third decision loss in a row — “The Answer” returns to the featherweight division to face dangerous grappler Charles Oliveira. Though Oliveira hasn’t competed since his knockout loss to Cub Swanson at UFC 152, his two previous fights resulted in submission victories over Jonathan Brookins and Eric Wisely. It’s a logical rebound fight for Edgar, and a huge opportunity for Oliveira.
- Cub Swanson vs. Dennis Siver: Speaking of Swanson, the Jackson’s MMA product is red-hot lately, with four straight victories in the UFC (three by KO/TKO). Fresh off his recent decision win over Dustin Poirier, Swanson will try to add to his streak against the hard-striking Dennis Siver, who is 2-0 since dropping to featherweight, with decision wins over Diego Nunes and Nam Phan.