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With no major fight over the weekend, the mixed martial arts mailbag is devoted instead to questions and comments on a variety of different topics, including whether Strikeforce should be considered a major organization and if Georges St. Pierre is using his takedowns to hide a shaky chin,
I tackle all of that, and more, in this week's edition of the MMA mailbag.
GSP's strategy is flawed
I respect Georges St. Pierre and his fighting abilities. In his welterweight title fight with Dan Hardy at UFC 111, he repeatedly took the fight to the ground and said he did so because it's where Hardy is weakest. While I agree you should defeat your opponent where he is weakest, I also believe you should fight to your strengths. I began to look back at other GSP fights. B.J. Penn's weakness is not on the ground and GSP took him down early and often. Matt Serra is not weak on the ground and GPS shot in within five seconds in the rematch. Thiago Alves was taken down early, as well as Hardy. What I think Georges is doing is avoiding contact and fighting not to lose instead of fighting to win.
It's hard to be critical of a guy who has now won 25 consecutive rounds against the best competition in the world. You may have a point, but I think it's that he's so good with his takedowns and so quick and athletic on the ground, he can get an advantageous position even when he's fighting someone like Penn, one of the sport's best ground fighters.
Open to other promotions
Now that Georges St. Pierre, B.J. Penn and Anderson Silva have completely cleaned out their respective divisions, would you agree that it might be time for the UFC to try to set up matches with other organizations? I realize they could set up matches in other divisions but then someone has to lose, and I know the UFC doesn't like to promote other organizations. However, having St. Pierre dominate Strikeforce's best welterweight would be eventful. This does have precedent, with the first Chuck Liddell-Quinton "Rampage" Jackson fight, which happened in PRIDE. Clearly, they aren't totally opposed to the idea. Your thoughts?
Of course, I'd like to see all the best fights happen, so I would love to see it. It's not going to happen now that the UFC has become the sport's dominant promotion, however. And one of the problems, frankly, is that there isn't a lot of depth in the other organizations. Let's say St. Pierre fought Nick Diaz for the UFC/Strikeforce title at 170. Who else does Strikeforce have to challenge him? I'd say there is no one there. I would welcome it if the UFC would agree to it because then we might get to see some intriguing bouts like Penn versus Shinya Aoki and Emelianenko against Lesnar or Carwin, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
Giving Strikeforce too much credit
Why do you pretend that Strikeforce is a legitimate mixed martial arts organization? I've never even heard of their champions. What joke! There are lots of good fighters in the World Extreme Cagefighting and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It really ticks me off when you cover no names. Give them titles like they're actually the champion of something? Hello? What does it mean being the champion of an organization no one cares about? Rank real fighters and talk about real fighters. Jake Shields? (Gegard) Mousasi, whatever his name is? These are guys who you raise up as champions? Every real MMA fan just laughs at you and your stupid opinions. You are a joke.
I don't have to pretend that Strikeforce is a legitimate MMA organization, Ray, because it is legitimate. It has some of the best fighters in the world (Fedor Emelianenko, Dan Henderson, Mousasi and Shields, among others) on its roster. Because you haven't heard of them doesn't mean they're not good. They don't have the depth that the UFC has, but they're an extremely credible MMA promotion. I suggest you watch the April 17 Strikeforce card on CBS. I bet you'll be impressed.
Hate between Chuck and Tito
I keep hearing that Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz hate each other. I don't see it. Every time I see them together, they look like they are busting each other's chops but not really hating each other. I know they were friends and then there was some bad blood during the fights, but I just don't see the genuine hatred of one another. You hear often that fighters hate each other for fight hyping. Is that the case here?
Hate is a strong world and I don't think the relationship between Liddell and Ortiz could be characterized as hate. They definitely aren't friends and each annoys the other, but hate is not the right word to describe their relationship.
Lashley should step up
It appears that Strikeforce is having a hard time finding an opponent for Bobby Lashley. I know he wants to take his time and build his resume before getting the big fights, but there really is no one else. It's time for them to start considering Fabricio Werdum, Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Brett Rogers or Andrei Arlovski for Lashley.
I agree that Lashley needs to step up his opposition level, but I'm not sure he's yet prepared for the fighters you've named, William. He needs to fight someone better than Wes Sims on April 17. Give him two or three more fights and then he'll be ready for those guys. To put him in there with them now is like putting a pitcher with no experience past Double-A in the majors. A very few make it, but the overwhelming majority do not. Give him a bit of Triple-A experience and then he'll be ready.
Adopting B.J.'s style
I was impressed with Kenny Florian's improved stand-up against Takanori Gomi, but I noticed it looks like he took a lot of his new stand-up style from UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn. What do you think of this and what's your feeling on a Florian-Penn rematch?
I agree that Kenny looked very good against Gomi and he used his jab to great effect. I don't think he copied B.J.'s style, though, even though Penn also has a good jab. Kenny may well be the top lightweight in the UFC other than Penn, but given he's had two title shots, he's going to have to wait a bit for a third. If Penn moves up sometime later this year to welterweight, which is no given, then perhaps Florian may fight for the vacant belt.
What are the chances of the UFC putting on a rematch between Florian and Diego Sanchez? Ever since the first fight between these two excellent fighters in the finale of Season One of "The Ultimate Fighter," I have always desired to see a rematch. Florian just won again versus Gomi and he tore Clay Guida apart in their last fight. On the other hand, Diego just lost against B.J. Penn. Don't you think that Diego's return to welterweight might be a downfall considering his good run at lightweight?
General Santos City, Philippines
A rematch between the two would be interesting, but I'm not sure it would be of interest to Diego. If he's going up, it does his standing at welterweight no good to fight a lightweight. Florian-Sanchez and Sanchez-Gray Maynard would be a pair of good lightweight bouts, but Diego will have little incentive to take them if he's returning to 170 and wants to improve his ranking there.
What of Mir?
What will become of Frank Mir? I think it is way too premature to say he is done. However, his continued failure in fights with the heavyweight elite means something. Mir is my favorite MMA fighter, but as long as guys like Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin, who are bigger and physically stronger, are in the picture, they'll be his biggest obstacle. Do you think Mir should take a more serious approach once the bell sounds? I think in the fights with Carwin and Lesnar, he had no sense of urgency. His relaxed approach to them hurt him, I think. If he would have shown a little more urgency to get the fight back to the center of the Octagon (with Carwin) or to use his dynamic skill set (on his back with Lesnar), the outcome would have been different.
Mir's still going to be in the mix for big fights in the heavyweight division. He may never get another crack at Lesnar, but there are a lot of good potential bouts for him. I was kind of surprised by Mir's game plan, or lack of one, against Carwin. He allowed Carwin to pin him against the cage, which essentially negated his jiu-jitsu and his speed and quickness. A coach like Mark DellaGrotte, who is great at devising game plans, might be beneficial for Big Frank.