Ask Ant: The Let's Not Get Ahead of Ourselves Edition

By Anthony Walker Jul 14, 2019

Melas Chasma - Now that Jones looks like he’s out of his prime and likely starts losing soon, who would you most rather see give him his first decisive loss? Who should get the honor? Third time DC? Post bench Rumble? Last Chance Weidman? Someone else?

Let’s seriously pump the brakes on any talk about Jones being out of his prime and his first true loss being imminent. While he did just narrowly defeat Thiago Santos by split decision last Saturday, let’s keep in mind what actually happened -- and didn’t happen -- during the fight. Jones curiously neglected his frighteningly effective wrestling game, his ever-improving boxing and his deceptively strong clinch game in favor of kick fighting a muay Thai expert. Even limiting his most effective weapons, Jones managed to completely destroy Santos’ knee and get his hand raised.

Instead of looking at this as a step back from “Bones,” I see it as a dominant champion adding unnecessary challenges to make things more interesting to him. There’s no doubt in my mind that if he really wanted to, Jones could have thrown down and elbowed Santos for a relatively problem-free win.

The men that seemed the most dangerous to Jones didn’t receive the full extent of his “beat them at their own game” theatrics. Think back to the cautious and restrained performance against former mentor Rashad Evans or the versatility and killer instinct he displayed in the Daniel Cormier rematch. A completely focused and serious Jones doesn’t even remotely resemble someone out of his prime and approaching his downfall.

As far as opponents I’d rather see hand Jones that loss, I can’t really specify any names. That’s simply because I don’t really have a true rooting interest in him winning or losing. I’m more interested in watching him fight the best in the world and seeing who the better man is that night. A third Cormier fight (only at heavyweight), the lost Anthony Johnson challenge or former middleweight champion Chris Weidman all sound intriguing in their own way. A more-developed version of emerging light heavyweight contenders like Johnny Walker, Dominick Reyes and Aleksandar Rakic might prove to be entertaining contests when the time comes. Of course, the heavyweight ranks are filled with promising match-ups. But my favorite potential challenger would have to be Yoel Romero. The man who missed both weight and his opportunities at the 185-pound throne could be a fever dream of chaos and violence. Yes please.

USA! USA! - Henry Cejudo vs. Amanda Nunes for the Intersex Championship belt? Could you imagine? Follow-up from Joonyer - Could it be the melting pot fight? An all-time PPV record?

No. Absolutely not. Hell, no. I’d rather not give too much thought to such farcical matchmaking. There is a reason why we have weight classes. There is a reason why men and women don’t compete against one another.

Every so often, those lines get challenged and it raises the interest level of the casual fan, and that’s fine. As long as we recognize the fantasy aspect of it all and don’t cross the line into making it a reality, I don’t really have a problem with speculation from those who aren’t as informed as someone who is into MMA enough to read this column and submit a question for it.

The conversations about whether or not Ronda Rousey could defeat Floyd Mayweather Jr. were funny and added another wrinkle to the conversation about the dominance of the trailblazing women’s champion. The back-and-forth between the two in the media gave us some amusing sound bites and gave mainstream talk show hosts something to discuss before asking to get choked out before a live studio audience.

I expect the Skip Baylesses of the world to entertain the idea of Henry Cejudo and Amanda Nunes fighting for some sort of cross-gender supremacy. I also expect Nate Diaz’s sumo-style wrestling pins to become a major factor in that bout. Maybe I’ll attempt to pair them up on UFC 3 for my PlayStation. That’s about as far as it goes.

While weight class boundaries can be overstepped, as both Nunes and Cejudo have proven, that is within a certain level of reason. Yes, Demetrious Johnson was sitting atop many pound-for-pound lists for good reason. That doesn’t mean Daniel Cormier was on the horizon for Mighty Mouse.

Similarly, just because we have hypothetical discussions about the male and female champ-champs squaring off doesn’t mean it should be seriously considered for a split second. It wouldn’t be the “melting pot” you envisioned. The carnival-style curiosity could do some damage at the box office however. But that success could have the unwanted effect of undoing the massive efforts at legitimizing our favorite weekend pastime.

Nunes sleeping Cejudo would energize the casual fan like nothing else. It would be make highlight reels beyond our sport and become a cultural landmark like Billie Jean King’s exhibition tennis win over Bobby Riggs in 1973. On the other hand, the image of a world-class male fighter that has violently finished some of the best names in his weight range laying that same destruction on a female, even if she is also a world-class fighter, would do irreparable harm to the sport in the court of public opinion.

Even when females fight each other, the reactions to the same blood and bruises that we see with the men is much different. Just look at the reactions to Yana Kunitskaya’s battered face against Marion Reneau as opposed to the damage Donald Cerrone endured from Tony Ferguson just weeks later. Nunes taking a flush shot from Cejudo would likely have a much more gut wrenching response than you’d imagine.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Nunes could handle some legitimate male fighters. I’m sure there are plenty of stories at American Top Team of her routinely beating up her male training partners. That doesn’t mean that we need to see it on TV. Especially in an organization that has a clear problem in the way it handles domestic abuse controversies, having men and women fight just isn’t a good look.

Verace -I have nothing to ask, just wanted to say I saw Ant on the MMAFighting Post Fight Show and his suit game is on point.

Thank you, sir. I prefer to dress up for fight night because it’s a special occasion and deserves respect in both conduct and fashion as a professional media member. I appreciate you checking out the post-fight show. However, I must ask if you watched the Sherdog post-fight wrap as well? Same suit and more analysis. I’d highly advise watching and would love your feedback.
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