Home > Uncategorized > 2009, Looking Forward – Mixed Martial Arts (or, as the layman calls it, The UFC)

2009, Looking Forward – Mixed Martial Arts (or, as the layman calls it, The UFC)

Previous Installments
Part 1 – The Movies
Part 2 – The Music
Part 3 – The Comics

Alright, folks, let’s wrap this up with everybody’s favorite sport involving hitting and twisting and spraining and pain and submissions and knockouts. It’s time to preview what’s in store in 2009 for MMA!

This one’s a little trickier, since the very nature of sports makes it very difficult to predict. Just ask all those folks who had the unfortunate task of projecting Super Bowl winners for the cover of Sports Illustrated every August, or the committee that selects who goes on the cover of the “Madden” video game cartridges (Eddie George anyone?). However, there’s some things we KNOW are gonna happen, or at the very least are going to provide us with tons of entertainment and/or things to gripe about.

2008 was a banner year in many ways with the sport continuing to grow by leaps and bounds. Of course, there were setbacks, all of which can be blamed on EliteXC. Whether it was their joke of a headliner in Kimbo Slice, referees stopping fights way too early, that clown James Thompson and his cauliflower ear, Gary Shaw and his retarded son making embarrassing statements and decisions…

You know, perhaps the thing I’m looking forward to the most in 2009 is the absence of EliteXC. On second thought, naaahhh…there’s too many things that I want to see. Such as…


Recently the WEC dropped its Middleweight and Light Heavyweight divisions, which were subsequently absorbed into its parent organization, the UFC. It’s hard to complain about that, though, when the real draws – both to the hardcore fanbase and the casual channel-surfing fan – has been the Featherweights (145 lbs) and Bantamweights (135 lbs). Hell, the company provided two of the best five fights of the year in one card: the first meeting between Urijah Faber and Jens Pulver and an INCREDIBLE fight (and my hands down pick for Fight of the Year) between Miguel Torres and Yoshiro Maeda. With Urijah Faber looking to avenge his fluke loss to Mike Brown and re-establish himself as one the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and Miguel Torres cementing himself as the Bantamweight answer to Anderson Silva, there’ll be no shortage of drama and entertaining bouts for MMA fans from the WEC in 2009. And the best part? All their events air for free on Versus. For now.

Sure, 185 is bolstered by recent additions from the WEC, but they’re still just mid-level fighters vying for a chance to be destroyed by Anderson Silva. The Lightweights (155) are all fighting amongst themselves to get title shots that may never come due to their champion’s pre-occupation with fighting Georges St. Pierre at 170 (see below). Speaking of which, the Welterweights COULD be the strongest division so long as they don’t keep trying to dick over guys like Jon Fitch, get ahold of EliteXC’s Jake O’Brien, and talk Diego Sanchez out of dropping to 155 permanently. The Heavyweights finally have their heel draw in Brock Lesnar, but at best have two more money fights in the division before they have to start building guys like Cain Valesquez for future title shots. It’s the 205 pound weight class – the Light Heavyweight Division – that will continue to deliver and dominate at the box office for the UFC. Wanderlei Silva, once heralded as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, will be fighting for his professional life in 2009 after dropping three of his last four (regardless of the quality of opponents). Rashad Evans was able to put an exclamation point on his ascendancy in 2008 by stopping Forrest Griffin in exciting fashion, but has to deal with a returning Quinton “Rampage” Jackson after HE takes care of some unfinished business of his own (see below). Evans will be kept busy in the interim with the winner of the fight between Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva, two guys whose title shots some say are long overdue (particularly Machida). And that’s just the beginning! The Light Heavyweights are stacked not only with quality fighters AND intriguing scenarios, but rematches of great fights in 2008 that we’re dying to see. Such as…

Their first fight was incredible, both in terms of fight quality and also the shocking outcome that put the prestigious Light Heavyweight Championship on the winner of the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” on Spike. Equally shocking was Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s subsequent meltdowns after the loss, which included a hit-and-run escapade in a Toyo Tires truck that bore a giant image of his torso and face on it. It was thought that perhaps Jackson was no longer mentally fit to fight and should take his sweet time in planning a return, but last Saturday he proved all the naysayers wrong by avenging one of his career lows in a quick KO of arch-nemesis and former Pride wunderkind Wanderlei de Silva. But Silva himself is struggling, so there are a lot of unanswered questions as to Jackson’s physical and mental fitness both in and out of the Octagon. He’s made it clear that he wants to prove he’s ready to be champion again, and the only way to do it in his own mind is through a rematch with Forrest Griffin. Forrest Griffin is more than game, and the UFC will be as well. It’s just a matter of picking a date at this point.

There are other potential fights that could draw money and interest, but this is the last remaining “Superfight” that the UFC can book. Ever since returning to the UFC, fans have been clamoring for what some say are the two best pound for pound fighters in the world to have a rematch. We’ll get it on January 31st, and my personal opinion is that St. Pierre is a better fighter than he was the last time they met…and he won that fight by split decision. Though I have little doubt personally as to who’ll win, I’m still excited. I can’t wait for the live crowd to explode when these two finally touch gloves, and know that regardless of the outcome they’ll deliver in terms of quality.

And of course, we have Affliction pitting Fedor Emelianenko against Andrei Arlovski in January, K-1/DREAM providing hilarious freak show fights featuring dudes in mask playing characters from manga/anime series to fight Bob Sapp (seriously), and the continued existence of Shinya Aoki in Japan. I’m sure there’s others, which you should feel free to share by clicking on “React!” below.

And that’ll do it for the “Looking Forward” posts. Seriously, these are all the things I have to look forward in life. If they don’t fall exactly into place in the way that I outlined and/or imagine them doing, I’ll cry until we start counting down and the ball drops until 2010. Well, not really.

More later….

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,
  1. January 3, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Hughes v Serra. Finally. I may be the only one who still cares at his point. But man do I hate Hughes.

    • January 3, 2009 at 7:48 pm

      Oh God, I’d forgotten all about that fight.

      I want to say I totally agree, since I was burning to see it. But the fact that I forgot it was even still a prospect probably says something.

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