Five talking points from UFC 210

1/ New York State Athletic Commision continues to raise eyebrows

The highly anticipated match-up between Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi was one of the main attractions behind the third UFC card that has been staged in New York. However, the fight was marred by controversy over whether the knee to the head used by Mousasi in the second round was legal or not. Referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight, because he thought that the knee Mousasi used was thrown whilst Weidman had both his hands on the canvas, which would have made it illegal.

The rule states that if a fighter has both hands on the canvas, then any knee that is thrown is illegal.

Originally Miragliotta gave Weidman the standard five minutes to attempt to recover from the supposed illegal knee. Weidman was taking full advantage of these fives minutes and remained on the canvas trying to compose himself while the doctors were also looking over him, trying to ascertain whether he could continue the fight.

“With the new athletic commission, it’s like we’re in 2001 again,” UFC president Dana White said  in the post-fight press conference, when referring to the fact that the use of video technology in the state of New York is illegal to aid in making a decision.

This was another source of controversy for the New York State Athletic Commision, because whilst Weidman was taking his five minutes recovery time Miragliotta, seemingly not knowing the rules, exited the cage and viewed a tape which showed that Mousasi had in fact lifted Weidman’s hand off the canvas before throwing the knee, making it legal.’

This gave Miragliotta no choice but to give the victory to Mousasi via TKO and leave everyone, including Mousasi with a sour taste in their mouths.

“He can have the rematch no problem, I was ready to continue the fight. I was ready to continue. I apologise to Weidman, I like the guy, I was ready to fight, I was fighting,” stated a bemused Mousasi who seemed to acknowledge that a rematch was one of few ways forward for him.

2/ What is next for Daniel Cormier?

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier is one of the most underrated champions in the company’s history. His second round submission victory over Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson marked his fourth victory in a row.

The reason fans allegedly don’t see him as the legitimate champion is due to fact that he never beat Jon Jones for the title. Jones is undoubtedly one of the most gifted athletes to ever perform in the octagon and in their only previous meeting, it was Jones who defeated Cormier via unanimous decision.

It has been Jones’s disciplinary issues which have kept him away from the title scene over the past three years, but with his suspension up in July, a rematch between the bitter rivals looks like the most logical match for the UFC to make.

A possible reason the rematch wouldn’t go ahead is that Dana White has stated publicly that he won’t trust Jones with a main event spot on a card, due to his past misdemeanours, most recently at UFC 200. This isn’t likely to please Cormier who would see himself deserving of a main event payday after successfully defending the title twice.

This may pave the way for England’s Jimi Manuwa to get a title shot. Manuwa was cageside after Cormier’s victory over Johnson and engaged in a war of wars with the champion, making it seem that a fight between those two may come to fruition sooner rather than later.

3/ What is going to happen with the middleweight division?

With Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi seemingly headed toward a rematch, the middleweight title picture is as confusing as ever, with no real number one contender having yet emerged.

Champion Michael Bisping is waiting for Georges Saint-Pierre, current number one ranked Luke Rockhold seems most likely to fight Anderson Silva at light-heavyweight weight at UFC 212, after Kelvin Gastulum was pulled from the fight, allegedly testing positive to banned substances.

It may turn out that the fight between Jacare Souza and Australia’s Robert Whittaker, next week at UFC Fight Night in Kansas City, could decide who is next in line for a title shot following the Bisping v GSP match-up.

Whittaker has been on a great run in the UFC as of late winning his past six fights to get himself into the title picture. His latest win over number eight ranked middleweight Derek Brunson in Melbourne was arguably his most emphatic victory.

Souza is 7-1 in the UFC and does have a win over Mousasi on his resume. His ground game is one of, if not the strongest out of anyone in the middleweight division, and his latest victory over the dangerous veteran Tim Boetsch was extremely impressive.

4/ Is that the last time we’ll see Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson?

There was a sense of shock around the MMA World when, after his loss to Cormier, Johnson got on the mic and announced his retirement from the sport of MMA.

Johnson is only 32 years old, which would put him in the prime of his career as a fighter. Granted his performance against Cormier wasn’t the best, but he has proven over the past year that he is one of the most dangerous strikers in the promotion, with nine first round knock-out victories in his UFC career.

Retirements in the fighting world are generally taken with a grain of salt. Such notable names as Georges Saint-Pierre and even Conor McGregor previously saying that they have retired from the sport, only to come back and fight again.

With Johnson being so young in the context of the sport, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him back in the octagon in a short space of time and back in the light-heavyweight title picture.

5/ Cynthia Calvillo Continues to impress

She may be only two fights into her UFC career but Cynthia Calvillo is already making serious waves in the women’s strawweight division.

Her submission victory over Pearl Gonzalez was her second Pay-per-view win in the past two months and it seems just a matter of time before she is going to get a ranked opponent.

Calvillo’s ground game seems a level above her current competition and it will be interesting to see how her game goes against more proven fighters in the strawweight division.

She certainly has the ability to get a crowd on her side, the support she received from the Buffalo crowd was huge and it was only enhanced when she grabbed the mic off Joe Rogan and imitated both Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor by saying “Surprise surprise motherfu**ers” ehich got a huge response from the crowd.

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Sean McKernan
Sean McKernan is a Melbourne based writer for Fight News Australia.