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The Day After: UFC 101

bj_pennI demand that Anderson Silva be tested for the red pill following last evening’s annihilation of Forrest Griffin. It’s obvious “The Spider” freed himself from the Matrix prior to the bout with Forrest in a fashion that would make Morpheus proud. Everything seemed to slow down for Silva last night. It was as if the dominant Brazilian hit slow motion during his bout with Griffin last night. A brilliant performance from a brilliant athlete.

Silva vs. anyone at middleweight just got a lot less interesting. The devastating knockout over Michael Bisping sparked a renewed interest in the prospect of Dan Henderson having a realistic chance at dethroning the current UFC middleweight champion, but Bisping is no Anderson Silva. The straight forward aggressive style employed to send “The Count” to dreamland would be disastrous against a striker of Silva’s caliber. I was screaming at the top of my lungs for a Nate Marquardt rematch with Silva, believing the Greg Jackson trained fighter’s much improved tenacity would serve him well a second time around, but Silva took the wind right out of my sails last night in just a few minutes. Demian Maia? Far too one dimensional in my opinion. So the question has to be asked, ‘Has it gotten to a point where there really are no challenges left for Anderson at 185?’.

Is there any possibility of a Silva vs. Machida fight in the future? Silva’s performance last evening established him as a legitimate and immediate threat to the light-heavyweight championship that Lyoto currently wears around his waist. A match made in heaven between two unearthly technical martial artists that seem to verge on invincibility. The best thing about a battle between the pair would be the fact that one man would have to suffer a defeat. A prospect that seems somewhat unimaginable in the near future due to the current state of affairs. Anderson says he’ll never fight Lyoto,and it’s no secret that the two are long-time friends and training partners. Of course Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta have both gone on record recently stating that friendships are irrelevant inside of the Octagon. You’ll face who the UFC tells you to face, and you’ll like it. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out, but here’s to hoping for Machida vs. Silva for the light-heavyweight strap in the near future.

I’m calling shenanigans on Silva and Griffin being awarded the $60,000 Fight of the Night bonus. Fight of the Night? Hardly. More like Beatdown of the Night? Come on folks, I consider a fight to be when it’s at least somewhat competitive, the fight between Silva and Griffin was hardly that. Obviously this was the bout that electrified the crowd more than any other, but it was no fight of the night. I could pick a good four or five fights that I would have awarded the honors before this trouncing, but I’d like to point at the lightweight championship bout between B.J. Penn and Kenny Florian as an example. Two athletes really pushing each other in a hard fought four round title fight. I mean, at least it was a fight, right?

B.J. Penn will rule the 155 pound division for as long as he feels like it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here, the only man that beats Penn at lightweight in the near future is himself. I think many people forget how young B.J. is because he’s been relevant in the game for so long, but the pride of Hilo is still a baby in the sport at a mere thirty years old. A scary prospect for men choosing to make their money in the future fighting at 155 pounds like Diego Sanchez, Gray Maynard, Frankie Edgar and Kenny Florian. Ken-Flo was an extremely deserving challenger to the throne and B.J. just made it look easy. Making it look easy against a guy like Florian is a scary thing. For B.J. it’s always been a motivation thing. I hope continuing to establish his legacy as one of the greatest fighters to have ever lived will be enough to motivate him to compte for another five or ten years.

Did anyone else catch Dana White speak about a free UFC event being planned for October during the post-fight press conference? Can you say “Fedor counter-programming”? Does this come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the UFC’s long history of counter-programming events such as EliteXC and Affliction in the past? It sure shouldn’t. Now the UFC plays the waiting game as you can expect an announcement of the date and location of their October event to come shortly after the announcement of the Strikeforce event planned for the same month. Can we all just get along?

Just know, MMA is not boxing. Sure, Anderson looked spectacular last night while making Griffin look foolish, just don’t assume Silva is somehow on the level of a former boxing champion such as Roy Jones Jr. A fight between the two would be a mismatch under boxing rules. Dana White agreed in a conversation he had with Jones during UFC 101, telling the eight-time, multiple weight class boxing champion that he doesn’t like a Silva vs. Jones boxing match because it’s basically two different worlds. Griffin is a hell of a mixed martial artist but to be on the level that any of the top boxers competing in the sport are, you had to have trained in the sweet science from adolescence. Studying nothing but footwork, using your hips for leverage, head movement, and punching, punching, punching. Non-stop training on how to decimate your opponent with your fists, and fists alone. “The Spider” would do about as well against Jones in a boxing match as Jones would going up against Silva in a mixed martial arts rules bout. Jones knows it too, that’s why he’s licking his chops at the prospect of making an example of Silva in the near future.

Fans are constantly becoming more educated in this beautiful sport of ours. I just figured everyone would be proud to know that an estimated 11,000 people were in attendance to watch the very first prelim bout of the evening at UFC 101. A far cry from the attendance for prelim bouts in the UFC just a year ago.

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