Robert Whittaker won the interim middleweight belt on a injured knee last night, rallying back to win the last three rounds and edge past Yoel Romero on all three scorecards. (see highlights here) The strengths of both men were on full display; it had shades of Gadelha-Jedrzejczyk 2, with Romero’s freakishly powerful takedowns and stifling control giving way to Robert Whittaker’s mobile striking just before the mid-point of the bout. It was an incredibly impressive showing from the 26-year-old Australian, now 7-0 at middleweight with back to back wins over Jacare and Romero. Dana White now insists that Bisping is up next.
But before Whittaker even stepped into the Octagon to face Romero, the UFC was already getting fans hyped for the next Pay-Per-View (PPV). UFC 214 is currently stacked with no less than three title fights and a packed undercard.
What everyone is coming to see, though, is the main event. And for this, the UFC released an unusually honest trailer, one that has garnered near-universal positive reviews. So often, the UFC are happy to ignore bad press their fighters get outside the Octagon- numerous cases of domestic abuse, for instance, or Werdum repping human rights abuser Ramzan Kadyrov on social media.
Jon Jones, however, made his sins impossible to ignore; not only does this trailer acknowledge them, it plays a young Jon Jones’ own words over them. We see Jones before his DUI, before his cocaine addiction became public, before he hit a pregnant woman with his car and ran away. The young Jon Jones narrates the sins he says he wants to avoid as we watch him commit those sins in stark contrast. It’s stunningly good visual irony, and comes the closest we have ever seen to truth in advertising from the UFC.
Daniel Cormier then takes up the tale of Jones’ fall, concluding that for Jones to become the person he has always claimed to be, he will have to lose to Daniel Cormier. Jones voice is interspersed with his, subverting that storyline, claiming DC wants to be seen as the good guy, wants to be loved. And there is truth to Jones claims. Cormier has been repeatedly baffled by the support Jones gets over him, when Jones is the one who has spent his time sabotaging his own career.
Jones would know about wanting people to love him. Before Cormier’s struggle to resonate with fans, that struggle belonged to Jones himself. Jones desperately wanted to be the hero, wanted to be loved. Only after his rivalry with Cormier did people begin to truly connect with the person that is Jon Jones. It turns out, people who hated Jones for being fake nice seem to love him for being genuinely awful. People, Jones realized, care about what they can sense is real. Jones’ sociopathic threats to literally kill Cormier? That’s real. Jones DMX chopping Cormier after their fight, mocking Cormier for crying, not doing the normal “Now that I’ve fought him, I respect him” bit? Also real.
The most real thing to fans about Jon Jones, though? He beat Daniel Cormier- beat his ass. Put his palm on Cormier’s forehead and held him down in derision. Started celebrating before the final bell, somehow tricked Cormier into thinking it was over, then sucker-punched him when he stood upright. Took the two-time Olympic wrestler down multiple times, held him against the cage, elbowed him and kicked him and punched him and ground him into exhaustion.
This is also the most real thing about Jon Jones, to Jon Jones. His continuous trolling of Cormier, the most brilliant I’ve ever seen, is proof of this. Also proof? His own words at the end of the promo- “I want my life back.” Jones is a millionaire, who can live exactly how he wants to. Big trucks, a lot of guns, a lot of women too; his family is provided for; his houses are house paid for. When Jones is referring to his life, he’s referring to being the Best in the World at hurting people in a cage. That’s such a central part of his identity that he considers his life incomplete without it.
Which may be why Cormier is right, and where this admittedly amazing promo falls short, in my opinion. I cannot buy into the idea that Jones, the pathological liar, has truly changed. The mask fell off a long time ago. We know who Jon Jones is now. That time he checked into rehab? He checked himself out the next day. That time he hit the pregnant woman? He came back- only to grab his cash and run away again. Jon Jones is not remorseful about the things he’s done. He only regrets he got caught.
As long as Jones knows he is undefeated and invincible, he has no reason to examine himself as a person all that deeply. After all, he beat Cormier after a weekend of cocaine. Why should he doubt himself in the one realm that truly matters to him? The only time we’ve seen Jones show genuine emotion was when he knew people would think he was on PEDs. That was sad to Jones because that would tarnish his image as the Greatest, the one thing that matters to him above all else.
Can Cormier beat Jones in a rematch? It’s doubtful. What would happen to Jones’ psyche if he could? That’s the tantalizing question we will tune in for. UFC 214 is on July 29th, and I’m not missing it for anything.
Man, this fight was fun.
Even without the scheduled main event between Shevchenko and Nunes, this card did very well with ticket sales.
#UFC213 pulls the UFC's second highest live gate of the year at $2.4 million. UFC 211 leads at $2,662,645.— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) July 9, 2017
I want Gaethje-Ferguson with all my heart.
White, asked about Gaethje-Ferguson, says he still wants to see Ferguson-Nurmagomedov unless Khabib isn't ready to fight.— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) July 9, 2017
Gaethje’s debut won’t ever get old
Why, Meisha? Why?
Let’s take a moment to mourn what could have been. The good news? These fights will most likely still happen at some point.
213 has lost Garbrandt/Dillashaw, Nunes/Shevchenko, and Lawler/Cerrone. pic.twitter.com/sUwp07qcHA— Michael Carroll (@MJCflipdascript) July 8, 2017
I didn’t know he was still under contract. Good for Frank Mir.
Sage Northcutt saw Yoel Romero’s open workout and knew he had a long way to go.
Wait, what happened to her??
Slips, Rips, and Cool Clips
It’s pretty remarkable how Travis Browne keeps getting finding new ways to get beaten
The submission artist that is Alexey Oleinik just took down the No. 9 heavyweight in Travis Browne with the choke! https://t.co/vnVqJYFD2M— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) July 9, 2017
How about Showtime Pettis? Back in the saddle again?
Enjoy your Sunday, Maniacs!