A rundown of post-fight news and notes from UFC on Versus 2…
– 8,132 attendees piled into the San Diego Sports Arena to watch UFC on Versus 2. Live gate receipts totaled $489,685 according to the UFC.
– Takanori Gomi’s stunning knockout of Tyson Griffin earned him a “Knockout of the Night” bonus. Charles Oliveira’s super-slick and super-quick triangle/armbar submission of Darren Elkins made him the obvious recipient for “Submission of the Night.” It didn’t make the broadcast, but Brian Stann and Mike Massenzio put on a show in the prelims to earn “Fight of the Night” honors. All bonus winners received $40,000.
– Jon Jones walked through Vladimir Matyushenko like he was some bum off the street. He’s obviously ready for a tougher challenge, so who’s next? If you ask Jones, he wants a top three contender as long as it’s not Rashad Evans.
“Every opponent I’ve had are really tough guys. Right now, I’m passing these tests with flying colors. I really don’t want to sound arrogant, so I’ve got to be careful the way I word this, but I want to fight someone who’s really going to give me a really tough test. That has to be the champion or whoever. I want to fight someone who’s supposedly much better than me … so I can really step up and evolve to a different level… There’s the champion (Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua), and he’s the toughest guy right now. He’s very well-rounded. He’s a great striker. Just like the top three contenders. I really want to push myself against the No. 1, 2 and 3 guys now. I really feel like that needs to happen. The top three guys are the guys I’d like to fight – except for (teammate) Rashad (Evans), obviously.”
And if a top contender isn’t available, he’d love the opportunity to silence James Toney.
“Randy Couture, he bumps up to heavyweight all the time, and he always looks very impressive against the slower guy. And now I actually have a heavyweight that I wouldn’t mind fighting. That’s James Toney – ‘Mr. I’m going to slap Jon in the face.’ I’d bump up for that fight any day.”
Some writers have suggested Forrest Griffin and even Chuck Liddell (which Dana wouldn’t sign off on in a million years) for Jones’ next opponent. Fightlinker went ahead and outlined what the top ten light heavyweights are up to in the foreseeable future. Forrest is about the only realistic option for an early fall match-up. If they want to wait until later in the year, Randy Couture, Rich Franklin and the Lil’ Nog-Ryan Bader winner could all be options.
- Shogun Rua: Out until next summer
- Lyoto Machida: Fighting Rampage in November
- Rashad Evans: Sitting on the sidelines like a bitch until Summer (Wouldn’t fight Jones anyway)
- Rampage Jackson: Fighting Lyoto in November
- Thiago Silva: Has a jacked up back, out indefinitely
- Forrest Griffin: Back in October, but seriously? Seriously!
- Rich Franklin: Could be back by December
- Lil Nog: Fighting Bader in September
- Randy Couture: Fighting Toney in August
- Ryan Bader: Fighting Lil Nog in September
Meanwhile, the big boss man Dana White tells Versus’ Ariel Helwani that Jones will in fact get a “top eight” opponent next time out.
Bones Jones is the real deal, and he just catapulted himself tonight into the top eight in the world… Listen, here’s the facts. The facts are the kid’s smart, he’s good looking and bad ass. He’s gonna make a lot of money. This kid’s gonna do very well… I’ll tell you who he’s fighting next. Right now, in the 205 lbs. division the top guys are fighting each other. When the smoke clears and the dust settles, Jones will fight one of the top eight guys in the world for his next fight.
Stupid question: Why all of a sudden the top 8? Top 10 not cool or something anymore?
– Even with all the tough challenges that lay ahead for 23-yr old Jon Jones, he realizes his worst enemy is the pressure to perform spectacularly every time he steps in the Octagon.
“To be honest, [the expectations] really do bother me. It makes me really nervous sometimes. I was starting to beat up myself and say, ‘OK, not only do I need to win this fight, but I have to impress people and look spectacular. Like (WEC champ) Jose Aldo, he came out and every fight was so sweet. Man, he doesn’t have a bad fight. I was starting to give myself that same type of pressure… I talked to my mentors and my coaches, and they’re like, ‘Hey, Jon – listen. You do this for yourself. You lose a fight, all this media and all this hype train is going to be done, so don’t even worry about the train. There is no train. You do this for your family, and you do this for yourself. Mainly, you do this to have fun.’”
– The other day, Dana White positioned Yushin Okami as a future title contender under the condition he beat Mark Munoz. After the victory, Okami welcomed the opportunity.
“Obviously, we all fight to be champions. I think that I’m ready to go… I’m honored that [White] would say that, and I hope that I’m up to the challenge if I’m given the opportunity. It’s nice that he thinks I am [ready], and if I’m given the opportunity, we shall see.”
If you’re wondering if the split decision changed Dana’s mind though, it didn’t. He told Versus’ Ariel Helwani after the fight that Okami is “in line” to get a title shot
I’ve been saying it for a long time, [Okami] is one of the best 185lb’ers in the world, has been for a long time. He was in line for a title shot, but couldn’t do it because he was injured, so he’s in line (now) to get a shot.
Fight statistician Compustrike counted 76 strikes landed of 151 thrown by Okami. Munoz connected on 19 of 45 strikes. Okami landed more power strikes than Munoz, 17 to 13, including 11 for the winner in the final round.
It was confirmed that Cecil Peoples was the reason for the split decision. He gave the first two rounds to Mark Munoz.
– BOOM! The Gomi-Griffin killshot (via FL):
– Even Takanori Gomi himself was a little surprised he KO’d Tyson Griffin like he did. He had “doubts” that he could make it in MMA in the US.
“Yes, there was (doubt) just in terms of fighting in the States. I’m established at home, but I was wondering, ‘Am I really going to make it here?’… I started off a little bit uneasy – not during the fight, but of course before the fight because I was coming off a loss. I was hell-bent to make up for that, and I was training really, really hard. But I wasn’t absolutely convinced when I got to the bout that I was to the place that I was supposed to be at… There was the sense of experience I had having fought here once and lost here once. I sort of got over the case of nerves that I had… I basically mastered the way that you have to switch over from the Japanese emotional style of fighting to the American emotion. We tend to be maybe a little bit more subtle. I had to do that, and then there was sort of a release that I could let myself go and get a little bit more emotional.”
Gomi told FIGHT! Magazine he wants to train full-time in the US and plans to fight again towards the end of the year. Oh, and for all the talk that Japanese MMA is dead, etc., Gomi says “it’s not his mission to turn Japanese MMA around.” Seems the DREAM folks are the only ones worried about that.
– Jake Ellenberger hopes his win over John Howard puts him in the top ten or at least close to it.
“There’s so many good welterweights here in the UFC. I’ll fight anybody that I have to to get my shot at the title. I think this hopefully puts me back in the top 10 at least or in the mix. There’s a lot of guys out there who I could fight. It’s up to (UFC matchmaker) Joe (Silva) and (UFC president) Dana (White).”
– And last but not least, John Howard’s giant swollen eye.