Ask the Insiders: TUF 18 recap & 2014 outlook

On Saturday night in Brisbane, Australia there will be a Bigfoot siting, as Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva battles Mark "Super Samoan" Hunt at UFC Fight Night 33.
December 4, 2013, 7:11 PM

Another busy week for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, as they closed off their latest season of The Ultimate Fighter and are prepping for this weekend’s show in Brisbane, Australia. While some of your questions are focusing on the aftermath from TUF 18, I also received a variety of inquiries that will take us into 2014.


You can submit your questions by e-mailing us at asktheinsiders@sportsnet.ca

This week’s questions:

The original assumption was that Jon Jones would defend his light heavyweight strap in and round the date of UFC 170. He was originally pegged to defend it on Super Bowl weekend, Saturday, February 1st, but recently told us on UFC Central, that he will not be competing until March or April.

UFC 170 is scheduled for Saturday, February 22nd, and like you stated, is a Pay-Per-View card. Any time PPV is involved, it usually means some sort of title on the line. Based on all the champions booked, injured or on hiatus, all signs are pointing to a non-title fight main event. But, the UFC has long been able to pull off crazy miracles, putting together exciting matchups, namely, No. 1 contender bouts. They have their hands full with this one, and will need more than luck to put forth a top draw for this event. It’s eleven weeks away, and the clock is ticking.

Based on the fact they are both in the top 10, I not only like this match up, but I firmly believe it’s a title eliminator. One has to think, whether it’s Nurmagomedov or dos Anjos, one of these two guys (with a victory) is one more fight away from securing a title shot.

I like your match making, and although Diego is not in the top 10, he does have a victory over Nate’s brother, Nick. No Diaz brother needs incentive to fight, but this appears to be a dangling carrot for the younger of the two Stockton natives.

I don’t need to rehash what I stated on UFC Central, but I have no issues repeating my stance. It may not be a popular one, but yes, I do believe Gray should hang up his gloves. He will always have the heart and skills, but his electrical system is shutting down far quicker than a few years ago. Losing to top-10 calibre opponents is one thing, but taking unnecessary abuse to his brain is pointless now. I hope I’m wrong, but my main concern is his health, wellbeing, and future.

Frankie accepted the fight, so he is likely looking for true bragging rights. BJ is motivated, which is often a scary scenario for any opponent. And if sticks to the discipline that will be required to follow anything and everything Mike Dolce suggests, Penn will make the weight. I’m uber confident of that.

I’m not disappointed per say, but I am partially puzzled. I believe I do understand Dana’s explanation that Jimi Manuwa is undefeated and worthy, but I maintain it’s also because the fight is taking place in England, and Manuwa can help sell out the venue. That’s MMA promotion 101. Would I have rather seen Alex take on someone else, yes, of course, someone in the top 10, but alas, I do not have a say.

Based on the current state of the heavyweight division, yes, I do believe the winner will be granted a title shot. But the big problem is that if the UFC does go ahead with Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum as coaches on TUF Mexico, that belt will be on the shelf for a long time. And I’m not sure either Josh or Travis will be willing to wait. They may, as it is a title shot, but that means no big revenue from the UFC for a while.

Obviously not much in the MMA landscape. He last competed in 2009, defeating Marvin Eastman in Rio de Janeiro, his first fight since losing to Sokoudjou in April of 2007. Two fights in six years. That’s latin for “retired.”

NIAOB – No ifs, ands or buts.

Any win vs. a top 10 fighter moves anybody, one step closer to a title fight. But it’s lightweight, and it’s not easy getting back to a title shot. That is, as Nate says, unless someone gets injured. He said he wants to wait around until someone does, so he’s officially rolling the dice.

And from my Facebook page, Dave Poaps asked “What is the next super fight that moves weight classes? GSP/Silva, Silva/Jones. Jones/Velasquez?”

The answer lies in the result from the UFC 168 main event. Read between the lines :)

Rick Clarke askes “Do you think the next Canadian event will be in Saskatoon?”

Nope, the next event will be East of Toronto, and will be announced shortly. But will the UFC hit Saskatoon in 2014? Or perhaps Regina? Based on the current developments with the provincial athletic commission, the odds have dramatically improved. I just know that if they do go to the province of Saskatchewan, I will have to update my wardrobe with a fair amount of Green and White. I may not be a huge CFL fan, but I know it’s in my best interest to show some love to Rider Nation.

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