Three “Huh?” Moments in MMA Last Week: August 14 Edition

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Jon Jones Daniel Cormier UFC 214
Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

A former UFC heavyweight shared his recent personal struggles with the world, a high-profile contender was injured in his last title-fight, and the final months of the MMA event calendar are beginning to take-shape. 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 week, Pat Barry revealed on The MMA Hour that he’s been fighting battles away from the Octagon recently, and the way strawweight contender Rose Namajunas has helped get him back on track. Meanwhile, Jon Jones was injured just days before his bout with Daniel Cormier at UFC 214, according to coach Mike Winkeljohn. Oh, and Cody Garbrandt wants to fight at MSG.

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: Nazis), 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?”.

4. Pat Barry shares recent struggles on The MMA Hour

In an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour last week, former UFC heavyweight Pat Barry revealed that, despite being out of the Octagon since December of 2013, he’s been fighting all the same. While Barry has now taken control of his personal battles, he was at rock-bottom not long ago, after being arrested while helping Brock Lesnar train for his bout with Mark Hunt last year. Huh?

A fan-favorite, Barry’s story is one that couldn’t have been easy to share. That said, it’s not an altogether unique circumstance, for fighters or anyone else. Barry’s ability to share his story, the way he picked himself up and battled back, and willingness to be open and honest, is refreshing and appreciated. Fighters are human, and while they are reminded that on a regular basis in the gym and Octagon, it’s sometimes easy for fans to lose sight of the fact that they have personal lives and struggles as well.

Just as inspiring as their feats inside the Octagon, things fighters achieve in their personal lives can have a positive impact on the broader MMA landscape as well. Here’s to Barry’s continued success and, if we get the choice between “Hype or Die”, we’ll gladly take hype. There’s plenty of it in Barry’s camp right now, as Rose Namajunas looks set to fight Joanna Jedrzejczyk later this year for the UFC strawweight title.

3. Jon Jones was injured going into his UFC 214 bout with Daniel Cormier

Finding the right circumstances for Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier to fight in an Octagon seemed to be an impossible task for the more than two years. Then, at UFC 214, we finally got the rematch we were waiting for. After injuries, suspensions, and more, Jones-Cormier 2 finally went off without a hitch.

Well, almost. According to coach Mike Winkeljohn’s recent interview with Submission Radio, the current light heavyweight champion wasn’t 100% going into the title-fight with Cormier last month. Huh?

“I’ll share with you [that] a couple nights before the fight, yeah, he couldn’t lift his arm — he had hurt it wrestling,” Winkeljohn said. “He wrestled a little too hard with his partner, maybe a lack of warm-ups. I’m not sure, but it was kind of scary… But Jon is who he is. He’s as tough as they come, and like I said, nobody beats Jon Jones but himself. Once he decides he wants to win a fight, he’s going to win.” – via FloCombat

This kind of stuff usually comes out after fights, and we’re happy to see that the injury didn’t end up in yet another bout cancellation. For what it’s worth, Jones looked good. Defeating Daniel Cormier in MMA is something only Jones has done, and doing it without the full usage of an arm sounds like an issue that would hamper most fighters.

Most. Jon Jones isn’t most fighters. And he’s finally back. Injuries and out of the Octagon issues aside, having one of the most talented fighters in MMA history back as an active champion is something we can all get behind. Whether he defends his light heavyweight title, or decides to take a shot at heavyweight, we apparently still have more to look forward to: Jon Jones at 100%. Good luck, Brock.

2. Cody Garbrandt wants MSG, but UFC has other plans

Arguably the best fight the UFC can make in 2017, Cody Garbrandt’s bantamweight title-defense against TJ Dillashaw is slated for the second-half of the year. Originally planned for UFC 213 in Las Vegas during International Fight Week, a Garbrandt injury forced the bout to be momentarily shelved. After some flirting with a shot at Demetrious Johnson’s flyweight title, Dillashaw looks back on-track for a chance to reclaim his 135-pound belt.

There’s several major events throughout the final months of the year for the UFC, including three pay-per-view events in November and December. The one in November is particularly special, taking place at Madison Square Garden. According to Garbrandt, who would like to fight at MSG, the promotion feels otherwise. Huh.

“I want to be 100 percent when I go in there and fight T.J. I deserve that as the champion, and the fans deserve that. I want T.J. at his best. I want him to be 100-percent. T.J. should want me at my best so we can challenge each other. That’s where I’m at with it. We want November, but they’re telling me December or January.” – via FloCombat

Last year, at UFC 205, the promotion put three title-fights on the card, resulting one of the best events of the year. UFC 214 was a similarly high-quality event, which also had three title-bouts in late-July. There were rumors that MSG could see four title-fights at UFC 217 in November, but considering the issues the promotion has faced filling main event slots in recent memory, running out of title-bouts before the year is out isn’t in anyone’s best interest.

That means Garbrandt-Dillashaw is competing with a few other bouts for a spot at MSG, and it seems as though they’re losing out. The middleweight title-bout between Michael Bisping and the formerly-retired Georges St. Pierre looks to be set for the card, as does Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s 115-pound title-defense against Rose Namajunas. If the UFC is looking for three bouts, that puts the bantamweight title-fight up against Max Holloway’s featherweight title-defense against Frankie Edgar. Garbrandt-Dillashaw might be the better fight, and slightly bigger draw, but the odds of the UFC leaving a Frankie Edgar title-fight off of MSG aren’t even worth considering.

If it’s not at MSG, Garbrandt-Dillashaw will likely main event UFC 219, which is currently scheduled for December 30th in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena. Generally one of the promotion’s major cards, the end of the year event isn’t the worst way to enjoy one of the best matchups in MMA today. Here’s hoping it comes to fruition this time.

Former UFC heavyweight Pat Barry is back on-track, and that’s a good thing for everyone. While we won’t be seeing Barry back in the Octagon anytime soon, we should get treated to Jon Jones in the future, and hopefully he will finally be 100% healthy. As Cody Garbrandt should be when he defends his bantamweight belt later this year, regardless of which event or venue it takes place at.

1. Huh? for the road

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