Twitter Mailbag: Does Michael Bisping feel like UFC champ yet? Conor McGregor co-promoter?


Does the UFC middleweight champion actually really feel just like the division’s finest fighter heading into UFC 217? Will the transitive property inform us which approach the co-main occasion will go? And is the UFC prepared to contemplate co-promotion now that its largest star calls for it?

All that and extra on this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a query of your personal, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.

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@benfowlkesMMA #tmb why cannot I consider bisping is champion though he has the belt? I simply cannot see greatness in him. Is it me??

— your bustin (@ivymike25) November 2, 2017

Did you “believe” that Luke Rockhold was the champ? I’m guessing sure, since all of us noticed him end Chris Weidman, who himself had knocked out the best middleweight of all time to say the title within the first place. Then Michael Bisping knocked out Rockhold, so the road of succession is about as clear and unambiguous as it may be.

But I do know what you imply. Bisping has been at this for thus lengthy, hovering in that good-but-not-great zone for years, so it’s exhausting for folks to abruptly consider him, at 38, as the most effective middleweight on the earth. It seems like we already decided about the place he suits within the division, and it’s not on the high.

That half is on us. As MMA followers, we’re typically too fast to kind conclusions and too rigidly cussed to revise them within the face of latest info. If we weren’t, we is likely to be prepared to contemplate the reason that Bisping himself favors: He was all the time the most effective clear middleweight, however it took the USADA anti-doping program to create the situations underneath which he might show it.

Still, Bisping hasn’t executed a lot as champion to vary our pre-conceived notions. At a time when the division is clogged with legit contenders, he’s defended his title towards none of them.

You can perceive why. The title means cash, and he’s attempting to receives a commission earlier than this trip ends. But if he desires folks to simply accept him because the true champ, he must defend his belt towards a real challenger. Sadly, it’s not going to occur this Saturday night time, even when he beats Georges St-Pierre.

It relies upon what co-promoting means to Conor McGregor. Does he simply need to put his title on the canvas? Does he need to go down as a promoter of document for the occasion? Does he need an possession stake within the UFC? Is there a transparent, tangible aim right here, or does he principally need to make the UFC bend to his will and provides him one thing no different fighter has ever gotten?

Some of these needs are simpler to satisfy than others, however now could be the precise time to make some mbadive calls for. The UFC wants McGregor. By each significant metric, he’s the most important star within the historical past of the game. If you need to promote pay-per-views (and the UFC wants to promote pay-per-views, particularly proper now), then you definately’d higher do what it takes to get him again within the cage.

To make his negotiating place even stronger, McGregor is coming off a monster payday. If his combat with Floyd Mayweather actually did high six million buys, as Dana White has claimed, he can afford to place his toes up for an extended whereas. For as soon as, time is on the fighter’s facet – not the UFC’s.

If I’m McGregor proper now, I begin reeling off my listing of calls for in alphabetical order. And I don’t cease till each single one in all them has been met.

@benfowlkesMMA Is there lacklustre buzz round GSPvsBisping as a result of it is a combat that nobody needed and goes towards all meritocracy? #tmb

— Cameron Lyman (@cameronlyman) November 2, 2017

An open disregard for merit-based matchmaking hasn’t traditionally been a significant dealbreaker for combat followers, so I’m undecided that’s it. But you’re proper that, with Bisping-GSP, demand originated with the fighters and never the followers, which doesn’t are likely to create a ton of momentum.

We all know why St-Pierre needed to make his comeback now, and why he needed to do it at middleweight. He noticed a champion who perceived as: a) very beatable, and b) very promotable.

We additionally know why Bisping favored the pairing greater than he favored the thought of defending his belt towards the highest contender. It’s as a result of he needed the PPV riches that GSP used to hold with him wherever he went, and, to a lesser extent, he additionally favored the thought of with the ability to say he’d crushed the 2 greats of his period – GSP and Anderson Silva.

Those are the fighters’ causes for wanting this bout. But that alone will not be sufficient of a gross sales pitch for followers. It’s like telling folks they need to go see a film as a result of the studio and the actors all crunched the numbers and determined this movie would make them richer with out making them work too exhausting.

Which is to not say that followers received’t watch this occasion. It’s acquired three title fights on it, loads of names folks care about, and it’s the one factor even near that mbadive combat really feel since Mayweather-McGregor.

But even whereas this may most likely find yourself being no less than a average success, it does spotlight a few of the shortcomings of the “money fight” method to MMA matchmaking. Just as a result of somebody thinks it’ll lead to a mountain of money, that’s not all the time a ok purpose for us to need to contribute to it.

So who’s not making weight this week?

— Trevor Campbell (@TCampbell1980) November 1, 2017

You’re critically going to ask me that earlier than a combat card that features Johny Hendricks? I imply, actually?

Am I the one particular person right here that thinks folks should not sleep on Thug Rose’s probabilities of upsetting JJ? What say you?

— MMA Goddess (@MMAGoddess) November 2, 2017

Anything, as they are saying, can occur. But I’ve to confess that I’m having a tough time picturing it.

Rose Namajunas is a sport fighter and an excellent athlete, and her opportunistic submission sport works effectively when she will put opponents the place she desires them.

But how’s she going to try this towards Joanna Jedrzejczyk? The champ is hard to take down, and even more durable to maintain down. Meanwhile, each second you’re standing up along with her is one other likelihood for her air out your face with punches, elbows and kicks.

I’m not saying Namajunas can’t resolve the puzzle and even simply catch Jedrzejczyk slipping. All I’m saying is that when I attempt to image it in my thoughts, I draw a clean.

Colby Covington will get how WWE antics can hype a combat. Should the UFC chew the bullet and put money into wrestling fashion tales/media coaching?

— Matt Mack (@MattMack15) November 1, 2017

Noooooooo. The last item we’d like is the UFC handing out scripts and performing coaches. If something, the development of MMA fighters borrowing professional wrestling schticks to hype fights simply proves that it’s more durable than it appears to be like.

Even Colby Covington isn’t notably good at it. What saves him is that he’s simply awkward sufficient, but nonetheless someway aggressively and supremely badured that he’s completely killing it, so he comes off as unintentionally comedic in a approach that we (or, effectively, a few of us) can take pleasure in with out having to take too critically.

(And the factor about him calling Brazil “a dump” and its residents “filthy animals,” it’s clearly not complimentary. But I ask myself: Would he have executed the identical factor if he’d fought GSP in Montreal? Or Nick Diaz in Stockton? Yeah, I feel so.)

The individuals who don’t take pleasure in Covington’s gimmick? They principally find yourself hating him for it. Which is, in fact, precisely what he desires. So both approach it (form of) works. I simply don’t suppose it’s one thing we’d need to see night time after night time. Or perhaps I’m simply talking for myself.

With the best way Cody styled on the Dom, and TJ having an badogous fashion as Dom.Can we use the transitive property to as a framework for sat? #tmb

— Chris A. N. (@jokercymaos14) November 1, 2017

Generally, the transitive property has a poor observe document in MMA. But since there may be some professional similarity between T.J. Dillashaw’s fashion and Dominick Cruz’s, you’re proper that it’s value asking if the identical man who styled on Cruz will go proper again on the market and breakdance throughout Dillashaw’s face.

One added variable is that Dillashaw’s seen the identical tape we’ve. He is aware of now how Cody Garbrandt approached and defeated that fashion. He doesn’t know if the UFC bantamweight champ will attempt to do it the very same approach this time, however he no less than has extra info to work with than Cruz had.

I nonetheless suppose the hardest factor for Dillashaw to account for is Garbrandt’s energy. Afighter who can transfer and evade like that and nonetheless hit you again exhausting? That’s a troublesome particular person to sport plan for. I’ll have an interest to see how Dillashaw appears to be like to unravel that downside.

Anyone consider the winner of 217’s fundamental occasion will combat Whittaker?
Anyone consider the primary occasion of 217 is the most effective combat on the cardboard?

— kneeco (@kneeco28) November 1, 2017

If the winner is St-Pierre, I doubt it. I feel he desires to win the UFC middleweight title, however I don’t suppose he really desires to be the UFC middleweight champion.

Plus, since he’s a pure welterweight he has one thing of a built-in escape pod. He says there’s a clause in his contract that claims he has to defend the belt, however it’s not exhausting to image him convincing the UFC combat with McGregor could be a wiser monetary transfer for all concerned.

If Bisping wins, nonetheless, I feel the probabilities of a Robert Whittaker showdown enhance. As tortured as his relationship with MMA followers is likely to be at occasions, Bisping longs for respect. You can hear it as he’s reeling off his accomplishments, vowing to show the haters incorrect.

And you realize Bisping’s by no means suffered for a insecurity. He believes he can beat “Bobby Knuckles,” even when he’s within the minority on that one. You actually suppose he might deliver himself to retire moderately than strive, willingly giving up the belt he’s spent years chasing, and all and not using a literal combat? I’m not so positive.

As for the second query: For me, the most effective combat on the cardboard is Garbrandt-Dillashaw. After that, it’s a bit little bit of a battle for second place.

When Kid Rock wins the US Senate seat how quickly until he hires Cowboy Cerrone??

— #BranchOfPower (@MMAStateOfMind) November 1, 2017

You don’t suppose Donald Cerrone has sufficient sense to attend it out till Senator Rock runs for president and wishes a VP decide who can carry the Western states? My good friend, you underestimate this man.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag seems each Thursday on MMAjunkie.

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