Category Archives: Idea

Forget the UFC: What if Sonnen went to the WWE?

0503-chael-sonnen-tmz-wwe-3

Here’s a guy who’s quite notorious for “talking his way into title fights” and is still one of the most popular fighters. Saturday night just saw him return to form in a dominant manhandling of Maurico”Shogun” Rua, submitting the former Light Heavyweight Champion in one round.

It didn’t take long for Sonnen to get back on top of the trash talk; right after his victory, Sonnen went on air to diss Wanderlei Silva. Not long after, both Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida took to twitter to express their enthusiasm in fighting the loudmouth American. That’s instantly THREE guys wanting a piece of Sonnen. His popularity never fades, not even for one night.

Sonnen is going to be fighting soon again some time in 3-4 months most likely either Belfort or Silva. He may end up fighting all three by the end of next year. He’s got his work cut out for him.

Not too long ago though, before Chael signed his new five-fight deal with the UFC, he mentioned wanting to purchase the WWE after he was finished fighting. Fat chance this would happen. But why not join the WWE after Sonnen goes through his five fights?

I love guys like Sonnen. The UFC and sports in general need more athletes like him. Athletes who aren’t only great in the ring but also away from it. Sonnen is the best promo guy the UFC has and the only pitfall to all his yapping is his behaviour outside the octagon has overshadowed his ability in it. Fans and fighters alike either appreciate Sonnen or just wish for him to keep quiet. A lot of fight fans just want their mixed martial arts quiet and plain jane I guess.

That is why I can’t help but speculate that Sonnen’s colourful outspoken character would fit better with the WWE. I’m looking forward into the future (or an alternate reality) where we have the American Gangster in the land of pro wrestling…

From MMA to Pro Wrestling: Been There, Done That

tumblr_mo5jhdf4LM1rkf4k0o1_500

It’s nothing new for a professional mixed martial artist to venture into the world of pro wrestling. Ken Shamrock, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawel and the equally colourful and controversial Quinton “Rampage” Jackson have tried their hands in pro wrestling to name a few.

Shamrock made a brief but memorable WWE run back in the late 90s Attitude Era and even won the Intercontinental title and played a big role with Vince McMahon’s notorious Corporation stable. He would also go on to win the NWA World Title with the fledgling TNA in 2002. Both King Mo and Rampage are a part of TNA’s roster as of this year.

And of course, there is the special case of Brock Lesnar. Pro wrestler turned MMA fighter turned pro wrestler again. Brock’s second run with the WWE on a part-time basis had him emphasize on his MMA training moreso than his wrestling background and it has worked very well in his favour having him do shoot fights that go as far as bloodying John Cena in his first match.

Shamrock and Lesnar’s stars are more likely bigger than Sonnen’s. Shamrock was a legend and one of the pioneers of MMA as a sport and Brock Lesnar was just a big superstar having already gained his following in his early WWE days where was a three-time WWE Champion.

Nonetheless, Sonnen is a celebrity in his own right and has a large enough following (n amount of twitter followers) to make an impact in the WWE. His strong promotional skills can only help him. In fact, I liken Sonnen’s clear voice, emphatic deliveries and clever subject matter to a certain WWE superstar we’ll get to later.

Gimmicks and Alignment

Chael-Sonnen-American-Gangster-Walkout-Shirt

Gimmick?! What gimmick. Chael Sonnen is most interesting as himself. Sure, his ability to sell himself based on his outlandish comments and promos paint him as a colourful character and the prospect of diving into a totally new character seem interesting but it shouldn’t be applied. If anything, his gimmick should be temporary as a surprise gimmick for him to make a strong debut similar to Chris Jericho way back in 2000 when he had the countdown or most recently, Alberto Del Rio pushing the Mexican aristocrat gimmick.

The American Gangster moniker can thus be Sonnen’s gimmick if he were to adapt one. Sonnen’s “gangster” can come across as anti-mainstream and antisocial and pick apart everything that is “fake” with pro wrestling, its wrestlers and its fans. Sonnen is a natural heel and he’s certainly sold himself as one. He has an arrogant character, an aggressive grappling style and a seemingly infinite resource of insults and narcissistic speak.

But all this falls way too close in the territory of the aforementioned superstar who we are getting close to revealing…

Potential Fights and Feuds

cmpunk

CM Punk! He may be worlds different from Sonnen but the way he cuts promos and speaks strikes familiarly. His versatile background that includes Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiujutsu and wrestling and propensity for pulling off death-defying stunts arguably makes him the best in-ring worker the WWE has had since Kurt Angle. A feud between him and Sonnen would be a promotional clinic and it’s intriguing to see who can outperform who. I can’t see a feud like this failing.

Brock Lesnar is the next most obvious choice. No way this fight would’ve happened in the UFC but thanks to the WWE we get to see this. This would have to be a semi-shoot and I’m sure there won’t be a shortage in trash talk…

Other notables would include Daniel Bryan who may be legitimately around Sonnen’s size and is an intense in-ring competitor and top 5 fan favourite. Chris Jericho when he’s around for the sheer entertainment value. Jericho’s an all-around showman. A potential four star match easily. And Alberto Del Rio would be a good for Sonnen’s American Gangster gimmick. No actually I’m just excited to see Sonnen talk about Del Rio’s stint at MMA and his epic match with Cro Cop

Can’t forget, John Cena. Just to see what kind of outrageous ideas Sonnen has in plan to make fun of everyone’s not-so-beloved superstar.

Non-Wrestling Roles

Chael-MMA-Live

Sonnen can double in joining the announce team. He’d definitely bring some relevance and credibility to the group. He’d make a fantastic play-by-play commentator and relieve Michael Cole of having to add “vintage” or “modified” before a third of the wrestling moves he sees. His voice quality is also crisper and easier to understand and that’s the same reason I had him feuding with Punk.

More than likely Sonnen will settle in as a 3rd colour commentator. He could very well act as a foil to Jerry “The King” Lawler’s whimsical devil’s advocate personality by being the no-nonsense logical heel commentator, a role not many from the broadcast team have done well since Paul Heyman in 2001. Hell, it might even be better if Sonnen breaks the 4th wall once in a while to add that dimension to the announce team.

It’s definitely an interesting idea but just an idea for now. It may come to fruition in a few years and I don’t doubt a person of Sonnen’s interest would consider some spotlight in the WWE. It is after all, an experience like no other. Much like much of Chael Sonnen’s segments.

Advertisements

Who should Aldo Fight Next?

Jose-Aldo

Pardon the bluntness. UFC 163 absolutely sucked. Where is Dana at? I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near him. The best fight of the main card: John Lineker versus Jose Maria ended quite abruptly with a freak accident to Maria. Tom Watson put on such a sad performance he walked out to the Backstreet Boys in a mask and bad judging reared its ugly head again after Lyoto Machida found himself on the wrong end after, despite out-striking and controlling most of the match lost a shocking unanimous decision to Phil Davis.

And the main event – the event that pitted arguably the two most exciting dynamic fighters in their division – Jose Aldo and the Korean Zombie – fell flat on its face. The main fight just seemed to go from bad to worse especially for Zombie who dislocated his shoulder and lost the match via TKO. Aldo and Zombie looked lethargic the whole match and honestly I’ve seen sparring matches more entertaining for what could’ve been the Fight of the Year. Disappointment just isn’t strong enough of a word.

But I wish Korean Zombie well on his way to recovery and a win is a win for Aldo who never looked in danger throughout the whole match though he looked gassed by the 3rd round, which reminds me of how Edgar out-cardio’d him in their fight earlier in the year. This may very well be Aldo’s only “flaw” if we were to nitpick him.

Jose Aldo sports one of the best takedown defenses in the UFC, he has the most lethal leg kicks and tramples absolutely every fighter he’s faced and his striking in general is surgical. He also fights aggressively and has a killer mentality. Jose Aldo may very well be the next coming of Anderson Silva as differently as they are and as much as I would hate to use this comparison. But he might just be the P4P greatest Brazilian fighter when Silva inevitably fades away (as surreal as that is to imagine right now).

I’m getting ahead of myself. Other than his cardio, Aldo has also been injured repeatedly. Now he’s dealing with a broken foot. He’s suffered at least an injury each year since the WEC/UFC merger and I can’t help but think if Aldo’s career is ever going to live to its GOAT potential should his litany of injuries keep piling up.

As it stands, Aldo is in the top 4 P4P MMA rankings and while I feel he doesn’t have to prove anything any more, the featherweight division (in my opinion, the most exciting division in the UFC) is ripe with scintillating matchups. I’m balling trying to pick who should get Aldo next.

Here’s a look at five contenders (three of whom Aldo has already faced, one who he should’ve faced) who could (or should) get next crack at the champ along with some extra (loose) criteria such as a) likelihood they get the next shot and; b) their chances of beating Aldo. Their rankings are based on UFC.com’s rankings:

Ricardo Lamas (#2 Featherweight)

MMA: UFC on FOX 6-Lamas vs Koch

Height: 5’8”
Reach: 70 in

Lamas wants a title shot. Scratch that. Lamas DESERVES a title shot; hard to argue with a guy who is undefeated (4-0) in his time at featherweight and with the UFC. He’s the last person to beat Cub Swanson (see below) and the first to finish off highly touted prospect, Erik Koch.

It is very likely Lamas fights Aldo next or at the least fights for a #1 contender’s fight (most likely with Cub Swanson). Though I’m not entirely confident how well Lamas is going to fare against Aldo given how his stand-up game is not anywhere close to keeping Aldo honest. Aldo’s takedown defense (as you will see me refer to like a broken radio) is all-but legendary and his two losses came via KO though they were at lightweight. Anything can definitely happen and Lamas can shock the world with a stunning upset but I wouldn’t bank on it.

Likelihood: High
Chances of Beating Aldo:
Moderate

Cub Swanson (#4 Featherweight)

Jose_Aldo_vs_CubSwanson_1000375

Height: 5’7”
Reach: 70 in

My pick for the guy who needs to fight Aldo next; without a doubt Cubby has been the hottest featherweight contender outside Lamas and his 4 knockout wins in his last 5 fights speaks enough for itself. Aptly named “Beautiful Destruction”, Swanson transformed what was an up-and-down WEC career into a brilliant UFC career since joining Greg Jackson.

The last time Cub fought Aldo was the latter’s WEC debut and a freak double flying knee ended the fight quite abruptly. Cub’s vast improvement would make things more interesting. Cub is also most likely the most explosive (if not strongest) striker Aldo will have to face and his BJJ background makes him more than capable on the ground. I like Cub’s chances at pushing Aldo, maybe even pull off the shocking upset. Maybe.

The more likely scenario is Cubby fights Lamas in a rematch for the chance to face Aldo while he waits for his foot to heal. Losing to Lamas (again) will slow down Swanson’s momentum some but he’ll hang around the title picture. If it’s anyone Dana loves, its guys who finish fights and Cub will get his shot sooner rather than later.

Likelihood: High
Chances of Beating Aldo: High

Frankie Edgar (#3 Featherweight)

gareth2_2469651b

Height: 5’6”
Reach: 72 in

A Frankie Edgar-Jose Aldo rematch is something that will inevitably come provided neither fighter decided to call it a career and go Yeti-hunting. Frankly (no pun intended :p), I see little reason why this rematch will be too different from the first. Aldo clearly won the first three rounds of the fight and seemingly “gassed out” although it’s hard to find fighters who can out-cardio Frankie Edgar.

What’s notable is Frankie being able to throw Aldo into the mat. Given Aldo’s takedown defense, that is impressive and Frankie is going to have to pull a couple more of those from nowhere to secure a decision over Aldo. Frankie is one of the quickest strikers in the UFC and usually against most competition he can outscore them in this category but that is considering if he can keep eating Aldo’s leg kicks. It’s only a matter of time before the iron-chinned lion-hearted fighter eventually succumbs to his physique. But I’m rambling here. Bottom line: Aldo will still secure a decision win though this next fight may be slightly closer than the first. Maybe a split decision win? Hmm.

Likelihood: Moderate
Chances of Beating Aldo: Moderate

Chad Mendes (#1 Featherweight)

UFC 142: Aldo v Mendes

Height: 5’6”
Reach: 66 in

Chad Mendes was approximately a second away from making it into round 2 with Jose Aldo during their title fight a year ago. That marked his first ever loss and it lit the proverbial “fire up his ass” as he tore through his next three opponents knocking them all out within 2 minutes of the fight. That stat while impressive should still be taken with a grain of salt as none of those three opponents were in the top 10.

“Money” is a force to be reckoned with and is probably the closest thing to Urijah Faber during his golden WEC days.  He faces Clay Guida next in what could be a #1 contender’s match for Mendes. This would also be the first top 10 guy Mendes faces outside of Aldo in his UFC career and should be a good indication if he is a pretender or a contender.

While I love Mendes’s combination of strength, endurance and aggressiveness, I don’t see how his second go round with Aldo will yield an entirely different result. He may probably take Aldo all the way to a decision and wear him out with his strong wrestling background but he isn’t any better than Frankie Edgar or Faber when they faced Aldo. I don’t see Mendes getting another shot at least not over the aforementioned fighters and I see even less of an upset chance.

Likelihood: Low
Chances of Beating Aldo: Low

Anthony Pettis (#2 Lightweight)

aldo-vs-pettis

Height: 5’10”
Reach: 72 in

This match is going to happen whether Pettis wins the Lightweight title or not. It has to happen and I’m not the only one who feels this match is still owed to us fans. Physically, Pettis is the most imposing of all fighters listed. He is taller and has longer reach than Aldo and his striking skills are just about as lethal and creative. You’re looking at a kid (only 26) who finished 13 of his 18 opponents and beat 16 of them. He’s coming off of two huge knockout wins over two well-regarded lightweights and is the last guy to have beaten Benson Henderson over three years ago. Here’s a reminder:

With that overhyping behind us, Pettis hasn’t fought a guy with the same pedigree as Aldo. As great as Bendo is, he hasn’t nearly looked as dominant in his title defenses as Aldo – who has all but trampled his competition – even whilst suffering through injuries. Aldo ranks 5th in significant strike defense (72.1%) and 2nd in takedown defense (89.7%). Aldo’s also notable for giving a lot of guys such as Mendes, Swanson and former WEC champion Mike Brown their first KOs. Is Pettis next?

That said, I like Pettis’s chances the best out of all the fighters. Maybe slightly over Cubby. Pettis has one of the most diverse striking backgrounds and is a slick BJJ tactician. Styles make fights and he definitely has the style to pull off the upset. Though the likelihood of this fight happening is very hard to predict though if Pettis wins the Lightweight title back it would be a “Superfight” in its own category.

Likelihood: Wildcard
Chances of Beating Aldo: High

SUPERCARD FANTASY: Team Lightweights vs Team Featherweights

Time for a totally fun, hypothetical, suspend-your-disbelief scenario .The Featherweight and Lightweight divisions in the UFC (or MMA in general) have been my two favourite divisions. Constantly engaging and quick fights and still enough finishes. Several fight of the year wars (as listed below for all your MMA pleasure) have been from both divisions. So I’m thinking, what if I was Dana White for one major decision and decided to create a super card of sorts.

Team Featherweights vs Team Lightweights in say a catchweight competition of 150 lbs. I’ve picked five fights and five fighters from each weight division. I didn’t strictly stick to the P4P rankings although all ten fighters are within the top 10 of their weight divisions.

My standards for making the matches are simple: how entertaining and competitive each fight will be. My criteria will be: 1) how well each other’s styles will clash against each other and 2) how close each other in terms of ranking or – of course, I can’t promise they will all be close but they’re close enough to make the fight worth watching.

Jim Miller vs Frankie Edgar

5b343309-7149-4dad-b8c4-49cc4213c005

There’s already history between these two: way back in 2006 where Frankie gave Miller his first career loss. They’re similar in build though Miller has a two inch height advantage and Frankie has an inch reach advantage. Frankie is also two years Miller’s senior. They’re both great at takedowns with backgrounds in Brazilian Jiu-Jutsu and Wrestling, have great cardio and entertaining as hell. They both have a combined 10 Fight of the Nights and have both won Fight of the Year. This match has potential for either or both categories.

Why Frankie Wins:

Quick and precise boxing is Frankie’s calling card. If this fight stays standing up, he may win the judges by picking apart Miller’s stand up. Not to say Miller is a slouch but he won’t be out-striking Frankie and he hasn’t shown any significant knockout power to keep Frankie at bay. If it goes to the ground, the crafty and spirited Miller will give Frankie trouble but his indomitable strength in wrestling will see him through.

Why Miller Wins:

His strength and creativity on the ground is among the best in the lower weight classes and his Energizer Bunny-like fighting spirit is ridiculous. His iron chin is going to test Frankie’s boxing and his ability to seemingly weasel his way out of any situation is not unlike the former Lightweight Champ.  Miller has only ever been finished once (by Nate Diaz) to which Frankie vocally expressed utter disbelief in:

Frankie quote:

“I know Jim’s tough as nails … I definitely didn’t think Jim would get finished so hats off to Nate. He’s a stud for sure.”

The Results:

This fight is going all three rounds. Expect this fight to stay standing up in a high energy fast-paced battle with Frankie landing a lot of quick punches with Miller pushing him aggressively. There will be a lot of clinching and takedown attempts with both men fighting for control throughout all fifteen minutes. Fight of the Night contender with Frankie coming away with a close unanimous decision victory.

Winner: Frankie Edgar vs unanimous decision (1-0 Featherweights)

Gilbert Melendez vs Ricardo Lamas

57abdc9f-a813-43a6-97f1-b309fe8d9309

A clash between the #4 Featherweight and the #2 Lightweight and two potential contenders for their respective titles; Lamas and Melendez seem physically even with Melendez holding a slight height and reach advantage. Both have a background in Brazilian Jiu-Jutsu and wrestling and are just over a month apart in age. You can’t get more evenly matched than this.

Why Lamas Wins:

Outside Cub Swanson, no featherweight has been hotter than Ricardo Lamas. The Bully is undefeated in his UFC career and has defeated all four of his opponents, finishing off three of them including the aforementioned Cub. His mixture of wrestling and BJJ combined with his vicious ground-and-pound could threaten Melendez. Lamas’s stand-up game isn’t his biggest strength but his two KOs coming from his legs are proof he can be a dangerous and effective striker. If El Niño isn’t careful, a leg kick or knee or could just lay him out.

Why Melendez Wins:

Experience. El Niño has more wins (21) than Ricardo Lamas has fights (15). His wrestling/BJJ combo is grueling and he wears out opponents including prominent jiujutsu phenom, Shinya Aoki. In his  24 professional fights, Melendez has also never been finished a credit both to his sturdy chin, elusiveness and strong ground game.

The Results:

This fight will go the distance. Both fighters are strong enough on the ground to assert their will over the other but winning the ground game is as much experience as strength and technique and unless Lamas lands a precise kick or knee to Melendez (unlikely given his strong kick defense shown against Bendo) I see the more experienced fighter coming out on top in a tightly contested match.

Winner: Gilbert Melendez via unanimous decision (1-1 tie)

TJ Grant vs Cub Swanson

1f7df091-1369-4845-9015-bd16debd8bec

The two hottest fighters in their respective divisions are both coming off of five-fight win streaks. While Grant has a four-inch height and 2.5 inch reach advantage, they’re virtually similar everywhere else including having no KO loss (excluding Cub’s freak eight-second loss to Aldo). Between both of them they have 12 knockouts, 20 submissions, 4 Knockout of the Nights and 5 Fight of the Nights. Fireworks are the least you can expect when these two cross paths.

Why Cub Wins:

Don’t count out the smaller guy. Cub was a former lightweight having knocked out guys bigger than he. He’s knocked out plenty of granite-chinned strikers such as George Roop, Ross Pierson and most recently, Dennis Siver. His fists are just half his arsenal as Cub has tapped out nearly as many guys as he has knocked out. His power, versatility and killer instinct are why he’s on a bullet train to the top.

Why Grant Wins:

Not unlike Cub, Grant was from a heavier weight class most notably giving Welterweight contender Johny Hendricks a run for his money. Since moving to Lightweight, Grant’s been a wrecking ball. His best asset is his BJJ ground game having finished off a whopping 13 guys but lately it’s his fists that have been talking. Like Cub, Grant goes into a fight looking to finish and at Lightweight it’s worked marvelously.

The Results:

Two explosive fighters with strong ground games – this fight is a toss-up. Grant has the definite size advantage but that could also mean being more prone to submissions, which Cub is no slouch in. Both fighters are going to be throwing everything at each other and whoever drops first loses. The difference lies mainly in Cub’s explosiveness and Grant’s technicality. But I’ll give the edge to Cub who has been on an absolute tear dropping even the toughest chinned fighters.

Winner: Cub Swanson via TKO (2-1 Featherweights)

Anthony Pettis vs Chan Sung Jung

234ce801-13a7-440f-9722-64892234f844

The battle of number one contenders pits two very exciting fighters with virtually the same physical stats: both Jung and Pettis stand 5’9” and have 72 inch reach and are both 26 with similar amount of fights under their belts. Both are well-rounded Brazilian Jiu-jutsu and Taekwondo practitioners and have won Fight of the Year at least once each. Pardon the obvious: but this is an actual fight that would make for an exciting trilogy.

Why Jung Wins:

The Korean Zombie doesn’t just take shots, he eats them for breakfast. Outside his one KO loss, Jung has developed a reputation as a fighter with tremendous endurance and durability. He has some power in his fists but his real weapon is his BJJ being one of the most ingenious submission artists in the UFC – ask Leonard Garcia. Pettis has never been submitted or finished in his MMA career but I wouldn’t put it past the ever-surprising Jung to pull off another once-in-a-lifetime move to secure a shocking win.

Why Pettis Wins:

If the Zombie has shown a weakness, it’s getting kicked in the head and Anthony Pettis just so happens to have a good chunk of his KOs via head kicks. Showtime is one of the most unpredictable strikers if not the most unpredictable. He combines power, agility and creativity and his BJJ has yielded him 6 submission victories. Zombie, although improved, has shown propensity to absorb contact in order to dish it and the more elusive Pettis may just hit Zombie enough to score a W if he doesn’t kick his head off first.

The Results:

This fight is going to see both fighters empty their arsenal of creative weapons to try to outdo each other but I see this match standing up as both of them seem very much like crowd pleasers. In that sense, a Pettis combination KO on Zombie is highly plausible but Jung has taken a more calculated fighting approach that has led to three consecutive wins. Pettis is the better striker and unless Jung can catch him in a submission attempt, I see Showtime taking home the victory via the score cards.

 Winner: Anthony Pettis via unanimous decision (2-2 tie)

Benson Henderson vs Jose Aldo

24909a32-842a-40b5-a24a-4b49ae5b69e8

Champion vs champion. Technically not a “Super Fight” but still a fight for the ages. Both Bendo and Pettis have 70 inch reaches but Bendo has a slight two-inch height advantage. Both have backgrounds in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jutsu and have about the same number of fights. Most importantly, they’re both undefeated in their UFC careers.

Why Aldo Wins:

Jose Aldo’s real legs were taken away at birth and replaced by steel bats. Half of Aldo’s KOs have been through his legs and he has that Anderson Silva-like ability to strike an opponent from any angle and get the quick finish. Aldo’s takedown defense and BJJ are not to be underrated. He only has one submission (other submission was via strikes) but his BJJ has helped him control strong wrestlers. Aldo’s lanky frame also hides his iron skin. He’s never been knocked out and doesn’t look like he’ll be for a while.

Why Bendo Wins:

I wouldn’t call Bendo one of the toughest-chinned fighters. He is however, one of the most if not the most resilient. He’s been dropped on numerous occasions but always recovers and has never been knocked out ever. He’s virtually impossible to submit (only one submission loss very early in career) and utilizes his strong athletic frame to grind out victories even against the best wrestlers and strikers. Bendo hasn’t finished an opponent since 2010 but he consistently does enough to win via score card showing his consistency and fighting spirit.

The Results:

Aldo has shown a susceptibility to strong wrestlers like Frankie and Chad Mendes and both aren’t nearly as big as Bendo. Aldo has worn out most of his competition with his powerful leg strikes but Bendo’s legs are massive and powerful. His lightning-quick recovery time could also frustrate Aldo. This fight goes the distance and in a battle of attrition, it is Bendo who comes out on top of another controversial decision.

Winner: Benson Henderson via split decision (3-2 Lightweights)

Conclusion

I gave the edge to the Lightweights but the fight, a bit idealistically ends very tightly contested and the card of the year. All a fantasy. But if you disagree with my picks (I’m well aware of Benson Henderson’s controversial status and Aldo’s HUGE following) send me notes! Love or hate, I don’t discriminate.