Welcome to CagedInsider Huddle, a new series where this site’s writers gather together, drink free coffee and eat donuts, and rap about some topics that are currently percolating in the MMA world. This week’s topics of discussion include Jon Jones’ inability to drive without getting into trouble, Conor McGregor maybe moving up to welterweight, free agency and Bellator, and more.
As always, if you agree or disagree with anything said here… MAKE YOUR OPINIONS KNOWN IN THE COMMENTS.
After a breakthrough performance on Saturday, do you think Stephen Thompson deserves a crack at Robbie Lawler’s belt?
Dana Becker: No, while Stephen Thompson’s win over Johny Hendricks, there is no reason “Wonderboy” should jump ahead of Tyron Woodley. Technically, and at least in the minds of UFC officials, Woodley also “beat” Hendricks and earned his shot. He’s waited for things to play out and Woodley should be next in line.
Tommy Hackett: Stephen Thompson hasn’t really earned a crack at the title yet, but he isn’t far off. The division seems strangely open right now and he looked spectacular in a quality win against a former champ. Anyone reasonable would rank Tyron Woodley higher, but admittedly I’m just not that excited to see him against Robbie Lawler (Woodley failing to get into gear against Rory MacDonald is just etched in my mind). Demian Maia is up there, and a rematch against a recent challenger is possible too. Lawler’s bout against Carlos Condit was close and Rory MacDonald was competitive until the stoppage. Really, a win over any of those four (Woodley, Maia, Condit, MacDonald) should earn Thompson a title bout. The Maia fight seems winnable and I wouldn’t mind it; either guy would give Lawler a different look. Go for it, Dana. Nick Diaz waits in the wings…
Kelsey Mowatt: Yes. Mr. Thompson deserves a title shot on account of his wonderful performance…Do Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley deserve it more? Maybe. But, he took out the former champ and who doesn’t want to see Lawler – Thompson? (Aside from perhaps the other two contenders…)
There’s a rumor going around that Conor McGregor isn’t going back to featherweight, and might compete at welterweight if he beats Rafael dos Anjos. Should he get a crack at Lawler too, and if so, how would he do?
Dana: Conor McGregor has the build of a lightweight and that actually might be a perfect home for him. The idea that he could pack on even more weight with his frame and compete at welterweight isn’t a good idea. Robbie Lawler is not only a big 170-pounder, he’s a powerful one. If McGregor takes care of Rafael dos Anjos, he should stop there.
Tommy: Sure, sure, Conor McGregor at welterweight. Who does he think he is, BJ Penn? Next he goes to Invicta, and challenges Cris Cyborg. “It’s red boxers night!” Come on. Lawler would run over McGregor. (I’ll give him even money against Cyborg, though.)
Kelsey: Sigh. Until McGregor takes out RDA I think all this talk is way too premature. But, why not right? While we’re talking wild speculation here, how about GSP – McGregor at UFC 200? Huh? Hey? Hmm.
Should Jon Jones get a bike or moped and ditch the car?
Dana: All Jon Jones needs to do is grow up. Whether some feel he is being “picked” on by the media or not is not relevant anymore. For Jones to become the star he wants to be, he needs to become a true professional and keep his name out of the police logs.
Tommy: I think Jones on a bike or moped is more dangerous than a car. He shouldn’t be manning anything faster than a stand up paddleboard. It’s questionable how much use he will get out of one in New Mexico, but hey, that’s his issue.
Kelsey: Jones should get a skateboard. Seems like a dude nicknamed “Bones” should skate…
Bellator scooped up Benson Henderson – who else in the UFC would be a better fit with them?
Dana: Unless the fighter is upset by the UFC, I think he – and she – is better off sticking with them. Honestly, there is still a gap between the two promotions. Bellator might offer more money and a few more headline bouts, but when you talk about MMA, it’s the UFC and everybody else a distant second.
Tommy: I’d like to see the UFC roster (and schedule) cut in half, with the Reebok deal abandoned. That aside, some big names who seem frozen out of the title picture could be a particularly good fit for Bellator. He’s the best commentator in the business now, but does anyone remember Brian “All American” Stann, the WEC light heavyweight champion? Tim Kennedy would be right at home, promoted similarly by his old buddy Scott Coker in Bellator. Alexander Gustafsson doesn’t seem destined for UFC gold, maybe the change of scenery would do him some good. He has a history with Phil Davis as well. They’re trying to begin women’s divisions in Bellator this year, and Michelle Waterson could anchor one — rather than getting lost in the UFC shuffle.
Kelsey: That’s a good question. First and foremost, I like to see fighters testing the free agent market. Yes, even if it means some all-star bouts get lost. In terms of current free agents, I think Bellator should drive for Alistair Overeem and Matt Mitrione, especially since they just brought Sergei Kharitonov on board, and might be able to throw Fedor Emelianenko in the mix. They could have themselves a pretty nice heavyweight tourney if you added Cheick Kongo and Vitaly Minakov.
Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock – do you care?
Dana: It feels kind of sad that Bellator is promoting a bout between two fighters who are a combined 100 years old. As a sport, MMA does not need sideshow acts anymore, but it feels like Bellator is trying to do more of that, especially with Kimbo Slice vs. Dada. Give us great athletes such as Will Brooks, Michael Chandler and others; not sideshow freaks.
Tommy: Of course I care. They’re legends and legends never die. But it’s kind of an ugly spectacle all the same. I’d rather see them in a grappling match at Abu Dhabi or a celebrity kendo challenge on Japanese TV… or something. It’s weird, but I figure they’re safe opponents for one another.
Kelsey: Care? If you’re planning to watch then I guess I do.