UFC 175 Bold Predictions: What Does Future Hold for Chris Weidman, Ronda Rousey?
The UFC has a lot riding on this Saturday's pay-per-view event.
With Chris Weidman set to defend his middleweight title against Lyoto Machida and Ronda Rousey putting her women's bantamweight championship on the line against Alexis Davis, UFC 175 figures to be the fight company's biggest PPV of the year, at least so far.
Questions abound regarding this card. Does Weidman really deserve to be the 185-pound champion? Has Rousey given this training camp enough attention, as she's been off making movies? Do either Machida or Davis stand a chance of taking the straps off two of the UFC's next-generation stars?
Ordinarily, you'd have to wait for the event itself to find the answers. Not this time. Bleacher Report MMA lead writers Chad Dundas and Jonathan Snowden are here, they brought their far-eyes and they're ready to look into the future.
Here are their bold predictions for what will happen at UFC 175...
Prediction: Chris Weidman Fails to Answer the Doubters
Jonathan Snowden: At UFC 175, Chris Weidman will finally answer the question that has absurdly lingered over his title reign. Is he really the best middleweight in the world?
It's crazy that we even have to contemplate this. After all, Weidman knocked the great Anderson Silva out with a well-placed left hook, then broke his leg with a carefully timed check of a whipping Silva kick. Even Silva wants nothing to do with Mr. Weidman upon his return. That speaks loudly.
And yet—something doesn't quite sit right about Weidman's ascension. There's always going to be the suspicion that a fighter of Silva's age with his kind of mileage and style simply slowed down. Is Weidman really the best in the world? Or is he the beneficiary of Silva's decline?
The questions are totally unfair. I'm asking them anyway.
The good news? Lyoto Machida will provide a definitive answer. If Weidman dispatches the former UFC light heavyweight champion, he will finally put the haters in check and the doubt to rest.
But I don't think he can. I predict a new, even more glorious Machida era will begin at UFC 175 and that the questions surrounding Weidman will remain.
Chad Dundas: I really have no doubts about Weidman at this point. The finishes of both Silva fights may have been freakish, but Weidman had dominated pretty much every second of the two bouts' combined 12.5 minutes leading up to the stoppages. It's high time we recognize that he's just as legit as his 11-0 record, 73 percent finishing rate and two victories over the GOAT suggest.
That's why—at least to me—the biggest unknown in this matchup has nothing to do with Weidman's quality but everything to do with how good Machida really is at middleweight. And the answer to that question? Dude, I have no idea.
The Dragon has looked stellar since cutting to 185 pounds last year, proving the middleweight ranks probably should've been his stomping grounds all along. But will his elusive dink-and-dunk striking style be the antidote to Weidman's straight ahead wrestling?
I predict no. It won't. I think Weidman wins this, silencing the doubters—at least until he refuses to go to Brazil to fight Vitor Belfort (instead rightly insisting The Phenom must come face the music in Las Vegas) and the haters fire up the hate wagons all over again.
Prediction: Alexis Davis Gives Ronda Rousey a Scare
Chad: According to the odds, there is a better chance of former president Ronald Reagan returning from the grave and hitting a golf ball from Florida to the moon while standing on one leg atop the back of a camel this weekend than Alexis Davis beating Ronda Rousey.
Rousey is a 20-to-1 favorite by the estimation of some oddsmakers, but you know what? I bet Davis gives her a scare. Maybe it’ll be fleeting—maybe Davis almost locks up a submission (a la Liz Carmouche) or briefly drops Rousey with a punch—but I wager there'll be a moment during the UFC 175 co-main event where the Zuffa brass all suddenly taste their $1,000-per-plate GOP fundraiser lunches in the backs of their throats.
Davis won’t win, of course, but given that Rousey trained for this fight while out filming a couple of movies and is likely still planning to coast into the end of the year with a cushy cakewalk against Gina Carano, she won’t be at her razor-sharp best.
This bout still ends with arm bars for everybody, but at some point, Davis will catch her slipping. Too bad Rousey in full vacation mode is still a generation ahead of any other 135-pound woman currently under contract with the UFC.
Jonathan: Ronda Rousey is the Royce Gracie of women's MMA. Even distracted, half-trained and barely interested, she's going to run over Alexis Davis like a steamroller.
Davis has some skill, but the difference between Rousey and the rest of the weight class is pure athleticism. Look at Rousey, muscles bulging, feet quick as a cat, and then look at Davis, in her heart a Canadian scrapbooker.
There is no contest.
Rousey stands alone and will for some time. There is no athletic peer on the horizon. She's climbed the mountain, and there is no one else at the summit. Must be getting pretty lonely up there.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey Plans to Exit Stage Left
Jonathan: When you see pictures of Ronda Rousey these days, it's rarely in the company of fighters or sweating her way through another grueling workout in the gym. Instead, she's smiling, relaxed in the company of her fellow celebrities.
Almost, dare I say it, happy?
Rousey has spent 2014 preparing for the rest of her life. So, while she'll enter the cage at UFC 175 a huge favorite against Alexis Davis, her heart may be split between two dramatically different worlds. There's the gritty and, frankly, awful life of a fighter and the glamorous existence of a Hollywood actress.
Assuming she's really a standout in her film cameos, it doesn't seem like it's much of a choice at all. Why work out multiple times a day, sacrificing long-term health and well-being in a sport you own, when you can hang out at craft services and exchange texts with Sly Stallone?
Rousey says she'll take some time off after this bout, but this separation may end up being a divorce. If her movies make it big, this could be it for her and MMA.
Chad: Anybody who can make as much or more money in a career that doesn't involve copious brain-punching and weight-cutting should absolutely take advantage of it. If Ronda Jean Rousey is going to get that opportunity, she should run, not walk, out the door before somebody makes her sign away lifetime rights to her image so they can put her in a video game.
I have one question, though. Has anybody actually seen Rousey act? I, myself, have not, so I have no idea if this talk of her as a capital letters Hollywood Celebrity is just pie-in-the-sky dreaming. We had pretty much the same discussions about Rampage Jackson before he made The A-Team, but then Hollywood seemed to realize en masse that Jackson was craaaaazy, and where is he today?
Oh, right. He's probably getting ready for that big fight against Kimbo Slice.
Look, if Rousey becomes a worldwide movie star, nobody will be happier about it than me. But the truth is, that stuff is hard, man. A lot of people try it, and a lot of people fail. While Rousey has probably never failed at anything in her life—and it feels dumb to doubt her—I also won't be surprised if she's still hanging around the Octagon this time next year or the next.
Prediction: Stefan Struve Once Again Becomes UFC's Only Top 10 HWT Under 30
Chad: It's been a while since we've seen The Long Fellow in action. Stefan Struve has been out a bit more than 16 months making sure everything is cool with his heart. In our limited interactions, he always seemed like a good dude, and with most of the rest of the UFC heavyweight division about to qualify for senior special movie tickets, it’s great to have him back.
Luckily, the UFC set him up with this get-back fight against Matt Mitrione. Matty Mitts ain’t no walkover, but Struve figures to be just a bit better than him in all aspects, as evidenced by the fact that Mitrione is nowhere to be found in the company’s official Top 15.
Struve is currently No. 12 and will vault back into the Top 10 once he crafts a tidy first-round knockout on Saturday. That's good news for him, good news for his heart and good news for the division at large since…yeah, I wasn’t lying about that. He’ll be the only guy on the list under the age of 30.
Jonathan: The last image we have of Stefan Struve is the big Dutchman helpless on the mat, jaw broken by a Mark Hunt punch, and unbeknownst to all, his heart swollen and enlarged. That was more than a year ago.
While I applaud Chad's unyielding positivity, I don't think those are the ingredients for a huge comeback. More likely, Struve is tentative, unsure and once again on his back.
Matt Mitrione may not be the new Fedor, but he can bang a little bit. More importantly, he has the endless confidence you need to win in the cage. Does Struve? Saturday will be a big test, not physically but mentally.