And welcome back to The Duel. This week we might not have had a great deal of news but we do have two excellent human beings. In one corner you have Sherdog’s Lotfi Sariahmed. In the other corner is his mortal enemy and 5 Oz. contributor Caleb Newby. Let us Duel:
1. Gegard Mousasi should be the second ranked middleweight in the world behind Anderson Silva.
Newby: FALSE. I suggest that Huckaby created this question due to his apparent man crush on Mousasi. It makes sense as his old flame, Scott Smith, is currently not doing so well as of late and Huckaby needs to move on to a new toy. But this is a bit of an emotional reaction and overestimation after Mousasi’s two recent victories. Obviously the number one middleweight is Anderson Silva and no one will debate that. But number two? Paulo Filho and Rich Franklin have something to say about that. Coming in to DREAM 6, Mousasi either wasn’t ranked or was hanging on at the number nine or ten spot by most major rankings. Impressive wins over Jacare and Manhoef are that, impressive, but neither are fellow top 10 fighters nor do they merit the slingshot of Mousasi past Franklin (who lest we forget has only lost to Anderson Silva and Machida) or Filho (undefeated and near universal number two middleweight). A much better debate is if Mousasi should be ranked number four or five… there are much better arguments for that.
Sariahmed: FALSE: No he’s not the #2 middleweight in the world. He can’t be no matter how much you try to swing it. Like Caleb said, Filho’s undefeated, Franklin’s only lost to Silva and Machida and you could make the argument he’s no higher than #5 of #6. Don’t get me wrong, the Dream MWGP Champion did a great job beating Manhoef and Jacare, but neither guy was a top 10 middleweight to begin with. Even the guys in the top 10 without a big middleweight win have strung together enough wins to justify their positioning. Mousasi’s made a splash early but needs to string together more wins to get into that #2 spot.
My Five Cents: You’re both probably wrong as his accomplishments pass other people based solely on that. He’s 24-2 with wins over Jacare, Manhoef, Kang and many other people. Had they won this tournament they would be ranked. Stop sleeping on Mousasi. And Caleb, I still have a mancrush on Scott Smith, win or lose.
2. Travis Lutter deserves a new chance in the UFC. (editor’s note: the article originally saying Lutter was back in the UFC was pulled.)
Newby: FALSE. Lutter missed weight, screwed up a title shot, pissed off and lost to Anderson Silva, pissed off Dana White, pissed off the UFC fanbase, lost to Rich Franklin, and continually likes to make excuses while saying he will beat Silva next time. Lutter is not a guy to listen to on how to win a popularity contest, make friends, and further your career. Lutter doesn’t even get heel heat, he gets Xpac heat. If Sokoudjou was ready to be dumped after a loss to Machida and Nakamura (had he lost), Lutter deserves the same treatment… particularly with his low popularity and reputation. The UFC isn’t going to sell a PPV or event with Lutter as a main attraction and the guy could stand to get some easier fights and turn things around. He is 4-4 since 2005 and really could use some easier fights for awhile. Give Lutter and the UFC some time apart and should he string a few victories together, bring him back then and see how things go.
Sariahmed: FALSE. Absolutely not and anyone who says otherwise here boggles my mind. How can you justify bringing a guy back to the UFC after not making weight for a title shot? How can you bring a guy back who just runs his mouth claiming he’s the best middleweight in the world…then gasses out in the 1st round? People will ask why crucify him for so long over missing weight against Anderson Silva. Here’s why, at the pinnacle of a fighter’s career you’re supposed to come in shape and be prepared. That’s not even supposed to be a question. Then his second chance came when he fought Franklin and ran his mouth assuming Franklin was ducking him…then Lutter gassed out in the 1st. No he doesn’t deserve another shot.
My Five Cents: You’re both right but Lotfi gets this one because Caleb makes terrible arguments and he’s also very awkward and stupid.
3. It’s smart for the UFC, apparently headed to the Philippines in 2009, to have cards in more countries.
Newby: TRUE. I disagree with Dana White on a lot of things, particularly when it comes to Fedor, but this is one thing he has spot on. Fighting is a universal language. Most people in Europe couldn’t care less about American Football but everyone understands a fight. Planting the seeds overseas now will only reap benefits for the future of their company as they diversify and expand their audience. What better time to increase the world wide expansion than now; the UFC is making money hand over fist and can afford the short term losses of revenue the overseas shows typically bring. One caveat though — the Zuffa just needs to make sure as to not neglect the American audience in the process and keep a strong stream of high quality events in North America or continue the Spike TV deal of giving wacky time zoned events away for free on cable.
Sariahmed: TRUE. Why not? For those of you who missed it, 4,000 people went to see Chuck Liddell at an open workout. That’s more people than will probably be in the arena for the next ShoXC card. And I’m only half joking. Here’s the real question though. Once the UFC conquers the Phillippines, what’s next? Forget Germany, Italy and Australia for a second. Lets look at the bigger picture. I want them in New Zealand, then Papua New Guinea and Indonesia just so we can get that Southeast Asia market out of the way. After that why not Africa? I know the Algerians need the UFC in their lives. The same can be said for Zimbabwe. South Africa has the World Cup in 2010 so we’ll have to wait on them but they already have a mascot with that leopard of theirs….So for the UFC first the Phillippines, then the World!
My Five Cents: Why don’t you two just make out? And Lotfi when it comes to comedic countries I would have went with like Benin and Tajikistan.
—-SWITCH IT UP—-
4. KJ Noons deserved to be stripped of his EXC title.
Sariahmed: FALSE. Of course he didn’t deserve to be stripped of his title. The man can’t be blamed for EliteXC’s joke of a financial situation. Noons is just trying to accomplish what really any one of us would be looking to do. He’s trying to get his and when his was around three times less than his opponent Nick Diaz he thought it needed changing. He beat Diaz already, was looking to fight Eddie Alvarez (though I admit that’s not his choice) and was making an absurd amount less than Diaz going into that potential rematch. I understand Diaz might be the bigger draw but to make that much less as champion is a joke. So he wanted to get his and it’d be hard for me to argue that he shouldn’t. So EliteXC decides to retaliate and strip him of his belt…probably the only move they could do considering but it doesn’t make it any less asinine. So now they’ll go with Diaz v. Eddie Alvarez and award the lightweight belt to their new “champion.” EliteXC just can’t seem to get out of its own way as it runs itself into the ground. No Noons didn’t deserve to be stripped of his title.
Newby: TRUE. Lotfi, Lotfi, Lotfi, Lotfi. If the champion declines to fight he deserves to be stripped of his title. Yes, EliteXC is run by a committee of drunken monkeys but they still call the shots and the fight was for Noons to take on Diaz. I actually feel dirty defending “Skala” in the slightest but the facts are the facts. Noons has every right to challenge his contract situation and complain. It’s his freedom and he sounds like he has some legit gripes. Good for him for standing up and doing what he needs to do. But the consequences are being stripped of his title, and that is what happened. I don’t see the argument here for otherwise. Who am I to say though? I am rooting for Ken Shamrock as the comedic value in their main star Kimbo losing to Shamrock is too awesome to ignore.
My Five Cents: You’re both right in a way. I think I’m going with Newby as Noons is a bit of a whiner and should stick to his contract just like a team/company should. You can’t turn down a title fight, especially on national primetime television. Diaz earns more money because he is a bigger draw, that is the way things work.
5. Mike Bisping and Dan Henderson would be great choices for the upcoming USA vs. UK TUF show.
Sariahmed: FALSE. Obviously saying false here means my problem is with Dan Henderson at the other coach and not Mike Bisping. There’s really no other choice you can make for the UK representative on this show. I’m not the biggest fan of Henderson as the other coach simply because his personality and it’s hard for me to see that translating well to reality TV. But the next part of that argument would be to name a guy better suited for the spot than Henderson. There’s the hard part. It’s not Franklin because the end game here don’t forget is to find a #1 contender to Silva’s belt. If Franklin beats Bisping…the UFC is stuck. Maybe Marquardt? But he’s not exactly a ray of sunshine for producers either. That’s the problem with the middleweight division. It’s lack of depth makes it almost impossible to come up with a better choice. So Henderson isn’t exactly the best choice as much as he is the only choice for coach of TUF 9.
Newby: TRUE. Dan Henderson is absolutely the best choice here. Bisping is a no brainer. Henderson should be one too, LOTFI. Your rank and file UFC fan has knowledge of Henderson that goes something like this. Pre-Rampage fight: “So this guy is supposed to be good and is the champion of some Japanese organization. Everyone keeps talking about him like he’s great, so we’ll see. I wish it was Liddell fighting instead though.” Pre-Silva fight: “Henderson was actually pretty impressive against Rampage. Too bad neither guy got knocked out. Apparently Henderson is custom built to defeat Silva… wait? What was that? Henderson has ANOTHER championship title? They must give belts away like candy in Japan.” Pre-Palhares fight: “All Henderson has done is lose to Rampage and get choked out by Silva. Whatever.” Instead of leaving people with that impression of Henderson, why not give him a platform to make the fanbase more familiar with him? Henderson isn’t the sort of character that will energize you in interviews… fortunately that isn’t needed for coaching TUF where they have plenty of material to use along with copious amounts of editing should the need arise. I can’t imagine that over the course of a season Henderson’s personality won’t come through to the audience and familiarize them with one of the best the sport has to offer. Hendo is the best choice for the American side to represent the middleweight division.
My Five Cents: Not a massive fan of either argument but I do think it’s a decent choice. I’m just afraid the UFC won’t be able to find UK guys that can hang with the US castmembers. “Hello 10 Ross Pointons!”
6. While the fight might not be exciting, Fabricio Werdum deserves a shot at the UFC title.
Sariahmed: TRUE. If he wins enough fights…and I just don’t think he’s done that yet. At the time he became the “#1 contender” there just wasn’t anyone else in the division. Now not only are there fighters in the division there are actually a few fighters who probably deserve a shot ahead of him. Werdum is 2-1 in the UFC with wins over a light heavyweight in Vera and a win over Gabriel Gonzaga that’s not exactly one to hang a title shot on. I don’t care if he was guaranteed a title shot in his contract or what, the UFC will hold off on that shot until he clearly has shown he deserves it or there’s just no one els in the division, again. But the next three title fights have already been determined (Couture v. Lesnar, Mir v. Nogueira and the winner of those two fights facing off) and then who knows what happens after that. So sure, Werdum eventually deserves a shot at the title…but not just because he beats Junior dos Santos.
Newby: TRUE. Lotfi, why did you even say true? You answered True then gave an answer as though you’d answered False. I don’t understand you. Of course Werdum deserves a shot at the heavyweight title — either of them. Beating Vera and Gonzaga is as good a claim as anyone has to a title match these days in the UFC heavyweight scene. We do after all have Lesnar fighting for one title. No explanation needed there. And for the other we’ve got Frank Mir who has two victories in the last two years against Lesnar and Antoni Hardonk. There is no way you can say Werdum doesn’t “deserve” the shot next. While that’s true, what the UFC is doing is the smartest thing business wise and I don’t fault them for that. In the meantime all it means is Werdum has to win some more… something that shouldn’t be much of a problem.
My Five Cents: I have to go with Caleb here, you can’t say Werdum doesn’t deserve it when Lesnar and Mir both get a shot at the “title.” Werdum probably deserves it more than anyone and he can’t get any love.
And that is it for the Duel. Feel free to share who you believe won. Next week we have Sherdog’s Jordan Breen going up against someone…. perhaps me so we can snipe at one another as we do.