1. Jared Hamman might want to consider not fighting UFC level guys anymore.
This was difficult to watch. After taking a hard low kick to his lead leg in the first round that saw his back leg buckle, the rest of this fight was, simply put, Jared Hamman skidding around on roller skates and trying to return enough punches to convince Adam Martinez that he was still in it. Let there be no doubt: he wasn’t.
Normally, I’m all for a referee giving a fighter every possible opportunity to recover from damage, but this fight should have been stopped after five minutes. The first round was a perfect storm of violence; you had an extremely hittable guy (who cuts weight to the point that there isn’t an ounce of fat OR muscle on his body) sustain a leg injury that hobbled him to the point that I mentally compared him to a Weeble. Then you had his opponent, Michael Kuiper, realize that he could basically tee off with no regard for defending counters because, again, his opponent was doing the chicken dance. It was like that King of the Cage “Wet n’ Wild” card all those years ago, except without raindrops. Enough was enough.
I’m not here to question Jared Hamman’s heart. That’s something that’s always on display in plain sight. The guy just won’t quit. But fighting at this level seems dangerous for him. Even when he wins, he takes significant damage. I would never try to tell a fighter what to do, because it’s his health and body being put on the line, not mine. But I’d definitely tip my hat to Jared Hamman if he went the way of Jonathan Goulet and decided to hang them up.
God, is he ever.
3. As a champion and title challenger, Frankie Edgar might be the most unappreciated high level fighter in MMA history.
Before I opine on the events of the rematch, I have to say a few words about poor Frank Edgar. First off, I heard tons of people calling Edgar a “cry baby” after his main event bout at UFC 150. This is a preposterous stance to take. He put an emphatic stamp on the BJ Penn rematch, the Gray Maynard trilogy, and then went to two razor close decisions against Ben Henderson. The entire time, people were pining for him to move down to featherweight. Imagine earning the right to call yourself the best in the world at something and being told you should do something different, no matter how many times you’ve proven that your style succeeds no matter who’s standing across from you. Wouldn’t you be a little bitter if things stopped going your way, especially when you were still fighting at the same level of excellence? I sure would.
The idea of Edgar moving down would have been fine if A) he had said that it was something he eventually wanted to do and if B) he wasn’t, you know, the freaking lightweight champion of the world. Frank Edgar, his situation, and his style of fighting really hammers home how fickle MMA fans are.
“Oh, he gets hurt in every fight with punches! He’s too small!”
“He keeps getting beaten up by bigger guys! Why wouldn’t he just move down? All his problems would be solved!”
“Never mind the fact that he’s one of the most durable, tough, and talented lightweights on the planet … he has a black eye! He’s stupid for not cutting to featherweight!”
I heard stuff like this all the time. Why couldn’t the man just do what he wanted? Why couldn’t he continue to prove himself as an excellent, if undersized, lightweight? Hell, if Dan Henderson drops a fight at 205, people don’t immediately start screaming for him to cut to middleweight, even though he’ll always be undersized at 205. And why? Because he’s a better light heavyweight than he is a middleweight. This will never change. So why does everyone demand that Edgar drops weight? What gives? Seriously … what the hell gives?
Now, does this mean that I’m against him moving down? Of course not. If that’s what he wants to do, then I hope he does. I just hope he’s able to do it on his own terms. He would definitely have success at featherweight, a division that is just now starting to establish a nice pool of good fighters. But man. Take it easy, folks.
As far as the rematch goes, I had a 48-47 scorecard for Edgar. I thought he was the far superior boxer throughout. It didn’t matter if he was throwing crisp counters when Ben would leap in, or if he came forward throwing textbook combos; either way, I thought his boxing did enough to earn him the nod, never mind the fact that he soundly outwrestled Bendo during a few key front headlock sequences. The most dominant rounds were 2 and 5, rounds that I both had for Frank.
I didn’t see this fight until about a day after it happened. Reading about it, the sentiment seemed to be that it was a highway robbery in favor of Henderson. Honestly, I didn’t feel that way at all. It was a close, competitive fight that I thought Edgar should have won. Just like their first meeting.
There’s a larger point here, though. Judges and fans alike don’t seem to appreciate what Frank Edgar does on a fight to fight basis. And that’s unfair to him. It’s unfair because 25 years from now, people are going to get on Frankie Edgar’s fight finder (or whatever the fight finder is called in 25 years) and assume that he started losing decisions to lightweights that were bigger and better than he was. Ben Henderson is bigger than Edgar, but he damn sure isn’t better. He’s worse. But, I guess the perception of reality is greater than reality itself.