a blog by La Kifo
The Bantam weight division in the UFC has been quiet ever since Dominic Cruz defended his belt against Urijah Faber at UFC 199. For whatever reason, the top fighters of that division have been vacant from main cards.
John Lineker v. Michael McDonald at UFC Fight Night 91 was a bit of an exception, but still we are yet to see where the chips fall within the division. Dominic Cruz needs another opponent, Urijah Faber might have one or two fights left in him, and TJ Dillashaw is looking for a rematch to reclaim the belt that was taken from him by the guy who vacated it more than a few years ago.
There are a couple ways you could go about this, and about a million different fight possibilities but here are the best.
TJ Dillashaw and Urijah Faber do not like each other. At one time, Dillashaw was the prodigy of Faber. The two were inseparable while Faber nestled TJ underneath his small blonde wing. Dillashaw was apart of Team Alpha Male, (Fabers gym based out of Sacramento, California) for 6 years before abruptly leaving with his striking coach Duane Ludwig for Colorado based gym, Elevation Fight Team. What proceeded these gentlemans bromance was an war of attrition. Words flew back and forth for months now, still no brawn to back up such tempest language.
Instead of sitting back and listening to all the useless bullshit each team has to say about the other, how about airing it all out over some promotion. Faber v. Dillashaw in the Bay Area (excluding San Francisco, the enlighted people of San Fran would not stand for such injustices as sticking two men in a cage and making them fight. That's almost as bad as cock fighting.) Those two can fight for the number one ranking and the chance of a rematch against Dominic Cruz for Bantam weight championship of the world. Now that would be the quick and easy way, just squeeze the utter into a glass and drink the milk.
We could do this with a few curveballs thrown Dana Whites way. Cody Garbrandt (Fabers somewhat new prodigy and teammate) is set to fight Takeya Mizugaki on Saturday (August 20th, 2016), and John Lineker supposedly will fight John Dodson next, the time and place unknown at this moment. I expect Garbrandt to win this Saturday, so on his resume it will read 1 Performance of the Night against a top 15 Bantam weight, and 2 wins over a top 15 Bantam weight. Let's put Cody on the backburner for a little bit here.
Lineker put on an outstandingly impressive performance against Michael McDonald in UFC Fight Night Sioux Falls, and he seems like the next big star in the Bantam weight division. Dodson is a guy I am yet to see fight live, so for now I am mostly ignorant of his ability. He's been around for awhile, his first UFC appearance was when he KO'd TJ Dillashaw in the Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale. Both John's, have exceptional boxing. Lineker displayed outerwordly power in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Dodson is known for his quickness as well as his explosiveness. I don't have a prediction for this fight, as I shouldn't, but whomever the winner should face Urijah Faber. Coming off what had to be an emotionally and physically draining loss to the Champ Cruz, giving him the winner of these two should provide enough time for the former WEC Bantam weight Champ to recover in all aspects. This is pretty win-win for everyone because if Faber still has his head in the game, based on what he's done in the past and what he is capable of, he should have an advantage over both Dodson and Lineker. Anything can happen in the fight game, I'm not saying he will win against either John Dodson or John Lineker, just saying he should have an edge in at least raw expereince. If Faber loses, it is a pretty shitty way to end what was a great career but he would be losing to one of the divisions next big stars.
Moving back to Garbrandt, if you haven't seen the end game yet then you must be blind. The end game is testing Urijah Faber and TJ Dillashaw as the top two ranked fighters in the division. Again, assuming Garbrandt beats Takeya Mizugaki, he is still going to need another fight before he can face #1 ranked TJ Dillashaw. That would be either Bryan Caraway or Raphael Assuncao, originally I would have thought to have to two fight to determine the opponent of Garbrandt, but that makes no sense considering Granbrandt is ranked lower than both. Caraway and Assuncao fought back in 2014, Assuncao the winner. Yet, Assuncao fought Dillashaw at UFC 200. If we were to pit Assuncao against Garbrandt and Assuncao won, then we're left with no semblence of a good fight. So we're gonna put Cody Garbrandt up against Bryan Caraway for the right to fight TJ Dillashaw and earn the #1 ranking. He hasn't fought TJ, and would be a great matchup for Garbrandt since Caraway is such a well rounded fighter.
So now I think we have our fighting tree set up.
I see a couple problems with this, one being if Garbrandt loses to Takeya this Saturday then all of this planning is destroyed before it could even start. Two, I don't really think people want to see Bryan Caraway against TJ Dillashaw, I think it would be a pretty uneventful fight ending in a decision. If Cody beats out his side of the bracket, meaning Mizugaki, Caraway, and Dillashaw then he would have to fight Faber. That would be a great fight because of their styles and familiarity with each other, but who knows if they will ever want to fight each other, I know that Faber has really tried to avoid fighting his training partners in the past having never fought TJ Dillashaw to this day. The third and final problem is, this would take a long ass time. We're talking about four fights for Garbrandt before he even gets the title shot, four fights is usually a lot for a fighter even if they were to be stretched out over a year. Garbrandt should need that experience before he gets a title shot. Yes, he is undefeated but he's barely fought anyone. In any other sport he'd be a rookie, three or four more fights should really show us how good Cody Garbrandt actually is.
The biggest problem is the time. Right around now, is when Dana White and the UFC should be announcing the next fight for Dominic Cruz. Even though the fighter doesn't beleive in ring rust, the company doesn't want to keep the confoundedly #2 pound for pound fighter in the world on the bench for too long. Since I'm about to hit my word cap I'm just going to come out and say it. Dominic Cruz v. Frankie Edgar at catch weight or 145 lbs, non-title fight at Madison Square Garden.
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