Maynard's skid; Rousey's TUF act
Yet another season of "The Ultimate Fighter" came to a close Saturday, and the show's biggest personality, Ronda Rousey, made it clear that she would have preferred to be somewhere else.
Anywhere, it seemed. So how's that supposed to make the rest of us feel?
Rousey was going to join with Miesha Tate in saving the UFC's reality show franchise. I don't know if she did do that. TUF continues with Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn, with Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva in Brazil, and with country-versus-country series such as the upcoming "TUF Nations: Canada versus Australia."
While we can agree that TUF's value as a promotional vehicle and an arbiter of talent for the UFC isn't as important as it once was, it has maintained its influence. Just look at how much Rousey's image took a hit after TUF 18 came and went.
For some it seemed like this was simply a case of Rousey being Rousey -- pit-bull passion and an uber-competitive mean streak.
For the majority, however, Rousey came off aloof. Immature. Scared. Other pejorative terms.
Good or bad, the show produced a response among the people who watched. Rousey will have to deal with it, as well as the questions that fall in line with a new narrative that makes her out to be less than gracious, less than professional, more a crybaby, more annoying.
As I said on Twitter on Saturday night, TUF may not have been good for Rousey's image. She doesn't care. That's fine. All that matters is she keeps winning. There's immense pressure to do that, which makes the whole situation around Rousey very compelling.
UFC TUF 18 Finale
When Nate Diaz is on, there aren't many fighters who look better. He appeared just about perfect against Gray Maynard during Saturday's first-round stoppage. The problem is always Diaz's inconsistency. He'll go from looking fantastic one night to weak the next. Diaz's boxing ability, length, and general attitude in the cage make him a must-watch for many fans. He has the pedigree to win a title, though that alone isn't enough. At 28, the time is now for Diaz to prove he's as good as he thinks he is.
Julianna Pena tore apart Jessica Rakoczy, reminding me a lot of Diego Sanchez's TUF 1 win against Kenny Florian. "The Venezuelan Vixen" was simply relentless en route to becoming the first woman to claim the title of TUF winner. She's young and driven, and doesn't mind speaking her mind, which means she has a shot to do something in the UFC.
Chris Holdsworth made the most of his strengths, tapping Davey Grant for his fifth submission as a pro. Grant had some success on the feet, but he couldn't contend with Holdworth's grappling. That will be the test for other bantamweights in the UFC, and many will be prepared. The 26-year- old doesn't look like he's old enough to drive, but he can fight in a cage. He'll certainly get his chances.
Gray Maynard suffered his third rough loss in in four fights. At the age of 34, with the mileage he's compiled, Maynard may not stick around much longer. Things have deteriorated for Maynard ever since boxing overtook wrestling as his main source of offense. Frankie Edgar got to him. Then TJ Grant. And now Diaz. Head movement doesn't seem to be a thing with Maynard, nor, lately, is winning. He's just 1-3-1 since 2011.
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