Once a champ, always a champ. That's how I see it for someone who's managed to climb to the top of the UFC mountain, and that's how I see it for someone like Ricco Rodriguez, who years ago defeated Randy Couture to earn the heavyweight belt then lost it to underdog Tim Sylvia the next time he stepped into the Octagon. On Thursday, September 20th, Rodriguez will return to action to face Ben "Bad Motherfucker" Rothwell at the IFL. It will be the former champ's toughest test in years and Rothwell's toughest opponent ever. It's also a masterstroke for the promotion, as they've finally matched up their untouchable star against someone who could very well kick his ass. Bravo for all involved. Back in February of 2003, I was writing an article called "A Tale of Three Fighters", and I had gotten the before-, during- and after-bout perspective from three competitors who were at very different stages of the fight game. Rodriguez was my champion's perspective, and he was friendly and more than happy to talk about everything leading up to his UFC 41 rendezvous with Sylvia. Then his reign as king came to an abrupt end, and after the bout, the only thing Rodriguez had for me was, "Sorry Jim, but no interviews at this time." I respected that. He had been the UFC champ - he deserved all the respect in the world. And it doesn't matter if he wins or loses against Rothwell, as he will always deserve respect.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Undefeated Bombsquad badass Tamdan McCrory, who made his UFC debut a successful one when he submitted veteran Pete Spratt back in June, is either facing Akihiro Gono at UFC 78 or he's fighting gonorrhea. I don't know which. Too much rock and roll over the years has damaged my hearing. McCrory is a stud, though, so it could be either one. Or both. I don't know. But either way, my money is on McCrory because he's aggressive and well-rounded and more than capable of defeating the Pride: Bushido veteran, and also because a shot of penicillin is supposed to clear up the clap fairly easily. Note: I didn't get a lot of sleep last night.