Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Khamzat Chimaev is one of the brightest new stars of 2020, as a dominant 3-0 push in a very short period of time significantly raised his status. The hype train is in full swing, as he’s now a ranked Welterweight booked in a main event opposite surging contender Leon Edwards on January 20.
Stephen Thompson doesn’t buy into all the excitement. In fact, the former title challenger — not far removed from his own main event slot against Geoff Neal on December 19 — feels the whole thing is an insult to established contenders who fought tooth-and-nail to climb up the Welterweight ladder.
“I think he was ranked No. 15, which doesn’t make sense to me,” Thompson told MMA Junkie. “I know he’s had one fight in the welterweight division, and his opponent (Rhys McKee) is 0-2 right now and normally a lightweight, a 155er, so it just doesn’t make sense how this guy can jump past everybody who’s worked their behinds off to get to where they’re at, and now he’s ranked No. 15 fighting the No. 3 guy, I believe. It’s just ridiculous to me.
“I had to fight through murderer’s row to get to where I’m at and so did Leon Edwards. He was on a (eight-fight) winning streak to get to where he’s at. I had to fight a slew of guys, I mean tough opponents. Robert Whittaker, Jake Ellenberger, Rory McDonald, Johny Hendricks to get to where I’m at, and then this guy just jumps past everybody. I think it’s a slap in the face to everybody who’s worked their butts off.”
Despite the gap in previous Welterweight accomplishments between Chimaev and Edwards, Thompson is uncharacteristically pessimistic about how the title picture will shake out.
“For Leon Edwards, I don’t think it does anything,” Thompson said. “I think it’s a lose-lose for him. Even though Khamzat’s got a lot of hype around him, a good win, where does that put him? It doesn’t move him up any rank, maybe a title fight, which I think he deserves anyway. So, yeah, the welterweight division is a little crazy at this point.
“Guaranteed he’s probably gonna get a title shot if he beats Leon Edwards, and I kinda called this,” Thompson said. “I was wondering why they were pushing Khamzat so hard, and I was like watch Khabib retire, because they’re from the same neck of the woods, they got to please that market, so it kinda makes sense why they’re pushing him so hard.”
We’ll have to wait and see if Thompson’s prediction is proven true either way ... or if COVID rears its ugly head once again to disrupt the match up.
Tony Ferguson has developed yet another unique training habit.
Will Brandon Moreno buck the 2020 trend tomorrow night?
It’s worth-noting that a considerable amount of these tests were the same UFC staffers repeatedly tested, but this is still an incredible tally!
Per Dana White, the UFC have conducted roughly 26,300 COVID-19 tests to date with a positivity rate of 0.8%.— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) December 11, 2020
The cost is in the neighbourhood of $17 million.
So much Bantamweight drama, yet none of these guys are even fighting this month ... or next month!
Don’t worry Henry, I’ll call you out AGAIN, after I finish Yan. Honestly, I really don’t think you could survive one round with me. It’s safer for your health to do all your fighting on Twitter. https://t.co/f49WJlPPoZ— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) December 11, 2020
I appreciate Corey Anderson’s sense of humor, but in all seriousness, this sounds like a killer fight.
Let’s finish Friday with some fake martial arts!
Slips, rips, and KO clips
A Judo match turns into an quick brawl!
A very sneaky gi choke:
A great Saenchai side-by-side that really demonstrates his crazy dexterity.
Like something out of a horror movie!
Midnight Music: By the time this articles runs, I will likely have cornered my team mate, Australia’s Isaac Thomson. The kid is a stud, making his pro debut in Mexico at the age of 18! Give him a follow, watch the bout on UFC Fight Pass, and check it out his walkout song:
Update: They never played his walkout song, but he won via second-round TKO!
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.