Three “Huh?” Moments in MMA Last Week: May 22 Edition

MMA Dana White
Credit: Andrius Petrucenia (WC)

1. The UFC is struggling to fill their main event slot for International Fight Week once again, Mighty Mouse is speaking his mind, and nobody knows what’s going on with Georges St. Pierre and Michael Bisping. Huh?

Finding the proper response to much of the news finding its way into our social media feeds is becoming a tougher task every day. Nothing is surprising, and there’s always more to the story. Leaving us with one reply: “huh?”.

A couple of high-profile main event bouts are now in doubt, making us wonder how the fight gods will find a way to punish us next. The already announced, yet not scheduled, middleweight title-fight between Georges St. Pierre and Michael Bisping is now (maybe?) off, while Cody Garbrandt’s bantamweight belt defense against T.J. Dillashaw is likely on hold for the time being. All that, while the sport’s pound-for-pound best fighter is sharing his true feelings on a variety of topics ahead of his historic title-bout later this year.

The reason “huh?”, in its various forms, is such a quality reply is simple. The word is as versatile as a response gets, and while it may require some explanation, “huh?” is sometimes the only way to react to the news of today. Defined by Merriam-Webster as an interjection that’s “used to express surprise, disbelief, or confusion, or as an inquiry inviting affirmative reply”, “huh” or “huh?” can mean a lot of different things.

Despite some of the follies of human evolution (see: Bellator’s Tape Delays), the development and growth of “huh” is something we should embrace. To be the change we want to see in the world, here are a few MMA stories last week that made us go “huh?”.

2. Stop Messing With Our Garbrandt-Dillashaw Matchup

The UFC is once again struggling to fill their main event slot for International Fight Week. Last year’s issues with UFC 200 are well documented, and while Amanda Nunes’ title-defense against Valentina Shevchenko is worthy of the spotlight, the promotion’s best-laid plans still found a way to fall part.

While the fight is still listed on the event’s page on the UFC website as of this writing, and hasn’t officially been called off, we don’t expect Garbrandt-Dillashaw at UFC 213 in July. Faced with a back injury, Garbrandt needs time to recover before defending his bantamweight belt for the first time. The timetable provided by Garbrandt means the fight will likely be postponed, rather than scrapped for other plans. That didn’t stop Dana White from giving legs to talk about a potential flyweight title-fight for Dillashaw.

Huh? Dillashaw, a former 135-pound champion and current number-one contender in the bantamweight division, has one of the best potential paydays and bouts in the promotion in his grasp. In order to let that go, a title fight is a must. Getting that opportunity against arguably the pound-for-pound top fighter in the world is something any fighter would consider. Dillashaw is down, but 125-pound champ Demetrious Johnson is less than enthused.

While it’s an undeniably fantastic matchup, and something we #wouldwatch, it doesn’t need to happen right now. The Garbrandt-Dillashaw matchup is one of the best available in the UFC, and with the multitude of issues in title races in other divisions, let’s leave the easy, awesome bouts alone.

Especially with a potential result as unappealing as a Dillashaw-led flyweight division. He’s a great fighter, but watching him take on the group that Mighty Mouse has already destroyed doesn’t sound nearly as fun as tossing TJ into the growing group of contenders at bantamweight.

Just because the promotion can do Dillashaw-Johnson, doesn’t mean they should. Much like the GSP-Bisping matchup (we’ll get to that), it creates too many issues, while better options are available on both sides. There’s always the future, too. Dillashaw’s willingness to drop down a weight class is great, and whether or not he could handle Johnson in his division is something every MMA fan would like to see. Just not this summer.

3. Speaking of Mighty Mouse…

Demetrious Johnson has never been shy about sharing his opinions, and Sports Illustrated got prime Mighty Mouse last week. Chatting with Jon Wertheim, the flyweight champion shared his thoughts on the UFC title-defense record, Ronda Rousey, going up a weight class, and much more.

When asked if he had 10 years left in his career, Johnson responded with about half that time.

I got five. If I’m fighting 10 years from now, I didn’t make enough money in the UFC. That’s my philosophy. Five or six more years, I’m ready to move on. I’m already starting to work on my exit plan. – Demetrious Johnson via SI

Huh. Five more years of Mighty Mouse sounds just fine. That much time, even at a safe(er) estimate of two fights a year, means we’re potentially in store for many more records being broken and a few all-time matchups as well. Of course, any single guess or quote on when a fighter’s career will end can never be taken as the entire story, and MMA has a way of changing plans quickly.

The fact that Johnson, whose lack of a traditional fighter profile has led to doubt about his passion for the sport, sees himself competing that much longer is good news. He’s not Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, or Brock Lesnar. And that’s great.

The UFC may be short on stars and major PPV draws, but as long as we have Mighty Mouse, fight fans are in good hands. Insanely quick and accurate hands.

4. Can We Get Dana, Bisping, and GSP in the Same Room?

The announced-but-not-scheduled bout between Georges St. Pierre and Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight title is off, but not officially. Huh?

After St. Pierre decided to reveal that the timeline he has for his return to the Octagon is far different than the promotion’s plans, UFC President Dana White was quick to act speak on the subject. Adding more confusion to an already messy situation in only the way White can, the promotion’s president announced the fight that never had a date, wasn’t going to happen at all.

Instead, GSP’s return will come at welterweight, whenever the time comes. As for Bisping? Well, he’s hurt. Or injured. Or something. Again, quick to act speak, White threw out the idea of, you guessed it, an interim middleweight belt.

“We’re trying to put together that Bisping-Romero fight,” White said. “If [Bisping] can’t fight this summer, we’ll probably create an interim title between Romero and Robert Whittaker.” – via Espn

Huh? Another interim belt? We still haven’t even unified the featherweight belts, and the lightweight champion is busy boxing for bookoo bucks. There’s also the mess at women’s featherweight to figure out. Oh, and there’s still been no official announcement regarding the GSP-Bisping announcement, either.

The best thing to do is scrap the “superfight”, and see where things go. And it’s nice to see that White realizes that. Creating another interim belt, on the other hand, is a dumb idea. Let number one contender Yoel Romero get his shot at Bisping, whenever he’s healthy. Let St. Pierre return whenever he’s ready, and let him try again with whatever welterweight champion we have at the time.

There’s no need to force Romero into a title-fight if Bisping’s bout with GSP is truly off. Until we have an official word, not a reactionary interview with ESPN, we’re going to assume the GSP-Bisping fight is still on. Though, it may not be for long. Then, the real fun begins.

The UFC’s struggles with main events and title fights in 2017 are continuing into the summer, as two of the biggest bouts of the year are currently in doubt. We have more hope for Garbrandt-Dillashaw than we do Bisping-St. Pierre, as long as Demetrious Johnson keeps his focus on flyweight. Regardless, we’ll have more to “huh?” about soon, something Dana White and co. are making sure of on a regular basis.


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