A new light heavyweight contender entered his name into the title-picture, a flyweight prospect made the most of his promotional debut, and people weren’t impressed with the welterweight title-fight at UFC 214. 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?”.
Last night at UFC 214 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Volkan Oezdemir earned himself a shot at the light heavyweight title, Jared Brooks made the most of his delayed UFC debut, and Dana White shared his feelings on Tyron Woodley’s successful title-defense against Demain Maia.
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: The Emjoi Movie), 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 moments from last night’s action at UFC 214 that made us go “huh?”.
4. GSP and Bisping is (back?) on.
Following his victory over Yoel Romero at UFC 213, interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was congratulated post-fight in the Octagon by current 185-pound champ Michael Bisping. There were call-outs, swearing, and it looked as though the announced-bout between Bisping and former welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre was off. Then, in the build to the welterweight title-fight between champion Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia, the promotion publicized UFC President Dana White’s recent quote about the winner of the bout taking on GSP upon his return.
But, things changed. During the fifth-round of Woodley’s successful (yet boring) title-defense against Maia at UFC 214, White changed his mind. Huh?
White on how Bisping v GSP is bsck: "that ship turned around and sailed the fuck back."
Adds he made that decision during round 5 of TW/DM.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 30, 2017
Fans were equally unimpressed with the bout, with boos coming from the Anaheim crowd for the majority of the fight. Following Woodley’s extremely boring victory over Stephen Thompson in their rematch at UFC 209, fans had little tolerance for his patient performance against Maia. Now, it looks as though rather than challenging Woodley for the 170-pound belt later this year, it will be Bisping and his 185-pound belt that St. Pierre fights for. Not only that, but the fight will be happening at Madison Square Garden at UFC 217 in November, and the winner will fight current interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in 2018. Huh.
Confirmed with sources that Bisping vs GSP has been agreed to for MSG on 11/4. Should be signed in the coming days.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 30, 2017
Life comes at you fast in the UFC. But this is still kind of crazy. Last November, Woodley’s first bout with Stephen Thompson was one of the best fights of 2016, stealing the show in the promotion’s MSG debut. Now, after two more succsseful title-defenses, Woodley has worked himself off of the upcoming MSG PPV.
His victory over Maia came after former champion Robbie Lawler returned to the Octagon with a decision win over Donald Cerrone earlier in the card. So, maybe Woodley finds himself in a rematch with Lawler instead of defending his belt against St. Pierre. Either way, the saga of St. Pierre-Bisping continues to confuse us, and we just hope it ends with two people eventually fighting in an Octagon on TV.
3. Volkan. Freaking. Oezdemir.
The hype train picked up even more steam at UFC 214, as Volkan Oezdemir delivered the goods once again. Knocking out Jimi Manuwa 42-seconds into the first round, Oezdemir collected his third straight win since joining the UFC in January. Defeating the likes of Ovince Saint-Preux and Misha Cirkunov heading into Anaheim’s PPV, the former Titan FC heavyweight contender has found himself in the 205-pound title-picture. Huh?
The division has struggled to find fresh title-contenders in recent-years, as the same core group of fighters remained atop the rankings for month after month. Then, filling-in on short notice for Jan Blachowicz earlier this year, Oezdemir took advantage of his shot at the UFC, and now has his name on the short-list for Fighter of the Year.
With time to train for his opponent, Oezdemir has looked unbeatable in the UFC. Following his mauling of Manuwa, he called-out the winner of the rematch between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier happening later in the evening. While nobody would be mad at the idea of Jones defending his new-ish belt in another rematch against former foe Alexander Gustafsson, or a super-fight against Brock Lesnar, Oezdemir is more than deserving of a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title.
2. Excited Jared Brooks makes the most of his UFC debut
Flyweight prospect Jared Brooks had been waiting for his UFC debut for a while. Originally slated to fight Ian McCall at UFC 208 in February, Brooks finally got the chance to experience the Octagon at UFC 214 last night. He was amped-up at the weigh-ins earlier in the week, and was equally excited during his walkout, which featured tons of energy, emotion, and yelling.
His performance against Eric Shelton didn’t go as well as he would’ve liked, but Brooks earned the split-decision win. The win moved the 24-year-old’s record to 13-0, giving the fading flyweight division another potential contender. Following the win, “The Monkey God” (huh?) called-out fellow 125-pound prospects Magomed Bibulatov and Ben Nguyen. Huh.
Shooting for the UFC 216 pay-per-view in early-December in Detroit, Brooks battling either of these up-and-coming flyweights would be a great test of his credentials. Both Bibulatov and Nguyen are currently ranked in the UFC’s official flyweight rankings, and are coming off of wins in 2017. Whether or not the promotion wants to pit two of their most promising prospects against each other, in a division that needs title-challengers, is another story. But if guys like Brooks are going to join the fray with the likes of Bibulatov, Nguyen, Tim Elliott, Brandon Moreno, Sergio Pettis, and more, then maybe we should keep the men’s 125-pound division around for a while.
UFC 214 was an incredible card, and undeniably the best card of the year. Featuring stars from a variety of divisions, all successfully making weight and showing-up, Anaheim was redeemed after getting UFC 208 cancelled earlier this year. There were impressive and memorable performances throughout, and it’s hard to ask for much more. From Tyron Woodley losing his date with Georges St. Pierre to Volkan Oezdemir and Jared Brooks making the most of their newfound spotlight, UFC 214 didn’t disappoint. Huh.