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Mighty Mouse Is All the things The UFC Utilised To Be

Picture credit score: Getty.

Around the weekend, we have been dealt with to a UFC event light-weight on pretense and major on action. The finest fought the finest, or at the very least the finest accessible. Barely anybody beefed. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson fought a excellent combat. Refreshing as the event was, even so, it felt like an island surrounded by bullshit-strewn waters.

I have not published about MMA in a bit. Motive being, the UFC’s early-12 months dry spell transformed into a whole-on drought, and it’s been a whilst because I have felt compelled to say significantly past, “That certain was a fight” and “Hell yeah, Derrick Lewis.” But at the finish of UFC on Fox 24 (UFC activities are ostensibly named by the same person who arrives up with Kingdom Hearts titles), I arrived away pondering, “That really mattered.” And not just since Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson built real record, getting to be the initially fighter to ever tie Anderson Silva’s file of 10 consecutive title defenses.

For brevity’s sake, I’m gonna target on the final 3 fights on the card. 1st, we experienced relentless submission machine Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs Robert “Jackhammer Hands” Whittaker. Before the combat, Jacare, possessing dismantled a who’s-who of UFC middleweights, was in a location exactly where he genuinely could’ve just sat on the sidelines and waited for a title shot to arrive to him, but he made a decision he desired to keep active. Whittaker was not being positioned as a sacrificial lamb, exactly, but most people figured Jacare would tear off one of Whittaker’s arms, conquer him to dying with it, and then autograph the arm and hurl it into the crowd.

Rather, Whittaker took Jacare apart, surgically dissecting him on the feet and investing just enough time on the ground to acquire away Jacare’s basic safety net. Jacare never appeared misplaced or like he was incapable of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, but it was apparent that momentum was on Whittaker’s side. He finished the combat with a sneaky head-kick and comply with-up punches, sending the middleweight heir apparent tumbling again down the ladder. Don’t get me erroneous: I adore Jacare, but looking at a youthful fighter like Whittaker place his full activity together and well dispatch one of the sport’s most constant killers is a heck of a address. It was a unusual “young gun beats growing older vet” instant that did not leave me sensation gross afterward. Jacare’s not completed nevertheless. He appeared like a globe-beater in other the latest fights. He just satisfied someone who’ll almost certainly finish up champion at some position, a child who saw an chance to establish that and pushed himself from “good” to “great,” or potentially even “downright scary.”

After that, Rose Namajunas, a strawweight whose overall combat career has fairly significantly transpired with UFC cameras on her, took on a woman who built her identify before the UFC’s strawweight division even existed in Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson. Despite veteran status, even so, Waterson is nevertheless fairly youthful and has a great deal of combat left in her. Namajunas, on the other hand, has repeatedly fallen just brief of greatness, getting rid of an early career title combat since she was just as well raw and dropping a the latest combat to the latest title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz since she just could not very find her rhythm. Individuals began to fear that possibly Namajunas was a recurring choker, that she could contend with the finest, but would without end tumble brief since she could not continue to keep her head on straight in the cage.

This time, while, a targeted, magnificently slick Namajunas showed up. She gamely navigated Waterson’s labyrinth of rangy strikes and locked in an certainly brutal rear-bare choke on the ground. Waterson struggled valiantly to muscle mass her way out of it, but experienced to tap when she began to change colors that do not technically exist on the seen light-weight spectrum. A lot like Whittaker in the prior combat, Namajunas experienced her breakthrough instant. To listen to UFC president Dana White tell it, her subsequent combat will be a title shot.

The finest general performance of the night, while, unquestionably belonged to flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, who appeared practically totally untouchable from a extremely gifted grappler in Wilson Reis. Text do not genuinely do the combat justice. Mighty Mouse’s preposterous speed was on whole exhibit, and he took angle immediately after angle just about every time Reis attempted to have interaction, to the position that Reis stopped fully throwing his punches since, fuck it, it’s not like they have been gonna land anyway. At times, Mighty Mouse finished up at the rear of Reis, such was the speed disparity between them. By the third spherical, a visibly busted-up Reis acquired taken down by a Mighty Mouse who appeared like he just woke up from a excellent Sunday afternoon nap. Once derided for not finishing fights, Mighty Mouse immediately worked to whole mount and rained down punches and elbows right until Reis haphazardly tossed up an arm. Mighty Mouse locked in an arm bar, and that was that. Reis, the feared ground fighter, tapped, and Mighty Mouse conquer nevertheless yet another challenger at their individual activity whilst rarely breaking a sweat.

It was a chic general performance, one of the greatest I have ever found. Mighty Mouse might not be the amount one finest striker, wrestler, or grappler ever, but he’s 2nd-to-none in the way he puts it all together. His transitions are a point of obscene attractiveness. There are no seams. He just flows. Bruce Lee once explained to be as water. Mighty Mouse is a tidal wave, and no matter how challenging his opponents combat, they all drown in the finish.

In a article-combat speech just as fast hearth as the combat itself, Mighty Mouse—typically a humble dude, or at the very least measured in his self-aggrandization—declared himself the GOAT. “GSP and Anderson Silva have been excellent champions, but I’m the finest to ever move foot in this Octagon,” he explained.

It was an amazing instant, record in the generating. Silva was a godly striker in his key, and GSP could blast people’s torsos off their legs with his takedowns, but neither exemplified the sport of MMA the way Mighty Mouse does. In my head, that will make him the finest ever. No dilemma.

UFC on Fox 24 (lol) was filled with excellent, consequential fights and, for the most part, what took place in the octagon stayed in the octagon. It was an event centered all-around an amazing champ cementing his legacy and challenging-working contenders at last breaking by means of. It felt like a blast from the past in that respect, a card from a time before income fights and spectacle have been the principal buy of the working day, as opposed to a relative (but enjoyable) rarity. That is not to say it’s an intrinsically bad point that the UFC is moving in a much more leisure-targeted way. It is just awesome to often see a card that’s purely about sport.

And nevertheless, this was nevertheless extremely significantly a “UFC in the 12 months 2017″ event. Case in position: Robert Whittaker ain’t getting a title shot any time quickly, deserving while he might be. Middleweight, unquestionably one of the UFC’s deepest divisions correct now, has been transformed into a staging ground for circus fights. 1st, wonder champ Michael Bisping battled Dan “A Fossilized Slab Of Beef Jerky” Henderson to a predictable decision, and now he’s established to tango with a contemporary-out-of-retirement George St-Pierre, in spite of the actuality that GSP one) is old, and two) has never fought at middleweight. So whilst Whittaker picked up a substantial acquire on Saturday, he’s trapped ready and will almost certainly have to combat Yoel “Literally The Remarkable Hulk” Romero before getting a title shot. Proper now, all people in the middleweight best 5 is treading water, all for the sake of one “fun” combat. It is a weird, aggravating logjam that will make many fights truly feel like they do not matter. And certain, I visualize GSP-Bisping will be a enjoyable combat that does good figures, but when the dust at last settles, will it have been well worth it?

Then there’s the frequently depressing matter of Mighty Mouse, a once-in-a-life span champ the UFC’s never been able to determine out. And certain, we can operate down a checklist of hypothetical factors for that—he’s as well dominant, he’s as well respectful, he’s as well smol, etc—but that’s generally horseshit. Mighty Mouse is a character. He’s managed to bring in a big audience to his Twitch video clip activity streams, and nevertheless the UFC only just figured out that they could use that to boost him. That is nuts to me. Twitch is one of the points youthful people view now. You want to bring in new people to the sport of MMA? Look no additional.

A lot has been published this 12 months about the UFC’s dearth of star energy. Ronda Rousey would seem to have flown the coop for excellent, and Conor McGregor is off chasing Floyd Mayweather all-around the globe on a magic carpet built of income. The two golden young children are long gone. What’s the UFC to do? How can a huge company with a multi-million dollar promoting spending budget potentially recuperate?

In my eyes, while, the serious problem is that the UFC only appreciates how to boost a number of kinds of personalities and fights, even while their corporation is overflowing with bizarre and attention-grabbing characters. Particularly below the new management of WMG-IME, the UFC repeatedly goes for low-hanging fruits—the cocky trash talker, the “scary” knockout artist, the prolonged-passed-their-key big identify, the hometown hero—instead of pushing into unexplored territory. And yeah, I know, it’s not genuinely fair to be expecting a big company to go extremely far outside the box, but the UFC’s in the midst of determined times, and determined times phone for something that’s not the exact approach that acquired you here in the initially location.

Could someone like Mighty Mouse become a greater star off the again of a record-generating title operate and Twitch pseudo-stardom? I actually do not know. What bothers me, while, is that the UFC doesn’t genuinely appear to care enough to find out. The UFC carries on to stroll this precarious line between sport and entertainment—with the equilibrium shifting ever additional in the latter direction—but they are not excellent at it nevertheless. Mighty Mouse might characterize what the UFC utilised to be about—a champion who fights for the sake of pure achievement—but he also represents what it could become: an leisure-sport hybrid that does much more than rehash the characters and storylines that worked for boxing and professional wrestling. Rather of pursuing that, while, the UFC has generally been alternating between confusing and unexciting recently, and I do not imagine any form of enthusiast needs to view that.