Pep Talk: Heavyweights, Trash Talk, and Tweets

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I heard you break down the Velasquez-Big Nog fight on Pro MMA Radio. First off, I want to say that I was really on the fence about this fight coming into the PPV. For weeks I sized the two up and I always had Velasquez coming out on top, but I knew this was going to be the biggest test of his career, and if he passed he’d belong with the greats in the Heavyweight Division. Obviously he passed the test with flying colors. So, I heard you ask (your guest) Jesse Holland what he thought about a potential match-up between Cain and Brock and he seemed pretty sure that Brock’s size would be too much for Cain. I think Cain beats him for sure. My question is this. When it comes to MMA, do you think it is more beneficial to be big and strong like Brock or quick and technical like Cain?


(Velasquez en route to a stoppage victory over Nogueira.)

Let me break your question down a few ways, Brenden. Generally, I would take speed and technical skills over size and strength in mixed martial arts when we’re talking about every weight class except heavyweight. I’m relatively sure there are some bigger, stronger lightweights then BJ Penn or middleweights who have it over Anderson Silva. That said, I don’t see either man at significant risk of losing their respective titles anytime soon. And maybe the best example that comes to mind is the dominance Jose Aldo displayed over a bigger, stronger Mike Brown to win the title at 145. When there is very little difference in weight because of the class limit, technique and speed should overcome size and strength a huge majority of the time.

When we analyze the heavyweight division, however, I think size matters because of the huge spread across the class. When you can have a smaller heavyweight like Randy step in the cage at 220 against Brock who weighs in at 265 and walks in the cage at 278, yes, size matters. That’s the biggest reason that I argued for the development of a cruiserweight class that would fill the gap to 235 and make the heavyweight class go from 236 to 265 in a previous piece here on FIGHT!.

But here’s where the answer gets a little complicated. Even with a significant weight disadvantage, I believe that speed and technique wins over SHEER size and strength. However, you use Brock as the example of that fighter in your question and I see him as more than just a huge, strong guy. He has good technical wrestling skills as a former collegiate champ and is lightening fast for a guy that size. By Frank Mir’s own admission recently, and we know Frank doesn’t love Brock, the champ’s technical skills in keeping Mir in a vulnerable position and pounding away on him at UFC 100 were very sound.

As for Cain vs. Brock, when the time comes that they meet, that’s an interesting one. I favor Brock, but not by as much as I did six months ago. Cain has steadily improved and we have to see how Brock looks in his next fight after battling with his health scare. I think Cain’s path to victory there would have to be staying away from Brock’s right hand and wearing him down with his cardio and getting into those later rounds. The longer that fight goes, the better Cain’s chances become.

I read somewhere last year that the UFC had applied to the athletic commission for the right to host 5 round non-title main events & that they had won. Now I’m not sure if that’s true & obviously we haven’t seen any yet if they did, but it sounds like a great idea to me. It wouldn’t have made any difference this weekend but could have made the Randy-Vera & Rashad-Silva, both recent main events, far more interesting.

Neil S.

I hadn’t heard that the UFC applied to the athletic commission to host five-round non-title fights and I’d be very surprised if they did because Dana White is opposed to the idea. In fact, he reiterated that opposition recently at UFC 110. I agree with Dana. I like the idea that title fights have a different structure by adding the “championship rounds”. It adds something to the mystique and what’s at stake when a belt is on the line. Personally, I’ve seen just as many three round fights that I was glad to see come to a close as fights that I’d want to see continue. In fact, probably more. The sense of urgency that comes from a three round limit is preferable to me as well. Getting ready for five rounds is a much taller order for a fighter and I question if we’d see guys pacing themselves more. Last but not least, the UFC sometimes books four fights on the main card when there is a five round title affair on the card, and most fans would rather know they are getting more guaranteed fights on a non-championship Pay Per View, so I think there is a business element to keeping things the way they are that makes sense as well.

Pep, I saw some quotes attributed to Dan Hardy where he went after the guys at AKA and Nate Marquardt. I’m sick of this guy’s mouth and why is he bothering with those guys? Shouldn’t he be focused on not getting mauled by GSP?


Would you be upset if I told you that I was walking down the street yesterday and some guy punched me in the mouth and I responded by kicking him in the head? Key word, responded. Dan did a pre-fight number on Marcus Davis that was brilliantly designed to take Marcus out of his game and did just that. That gave “The Outlaw” a reputation as a trash talker that has stuck. (Davis still has a hard time letting it go, Tweeting this week that he hoped Hardy would die of AIDS. Marcus admitted it was an over the top comment when he deleted the Tweet.) When it comes to Hardy going after Kos, Swick and Nate, I have no issue with it at all. They’ve all said things about him and he responded, so that’s in the fair game category for me.

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