I’m in a slight rush, so I’ll be quick with my words. As we sat at the bar and tilted our heads so far back that our neck folded, my jaw partially dropped at the sight of the final 3 fights on the UFC 217 card. Usually a jolt of anxiety flies through my spine, prompting me to stand up from my chair or fold my arms from flailing. The universe had different plans. One couldn’t even build a surge of proper adrenaline to stress the fights, as they ended so damn abruptly. Honestly, it was relative to sitting in a coffeeshop and hearing a car crash outside all of a sudden.
I was sure Cody Garbrandt would starch Dillashaw with every ounce of righteousness karma could provide, and yet it was not to be. And not only not to be, but not to be in a devastating, potential 6 month medical suspension, f your brain sort of way. Cody was brought to an Old Country Buffet serving only humble pie for the night, in a fashion no one imagined or wanted.
What crushed me most was watching Duane Ludwig laugh at Garbrandt and Dillashaw eat up every fiber of the moment as if evil really was destined to prevail all along. The only redemption in that ending was Garbrandt stating, “I respect him as a fighter, not as a human being.”
What y’all may not be seeing here, or perhaps what my delusional brain may be creating out of nothing, is the epic battle before these two fighters. Garbrandt goes back to Sacramento to train like a man possessed, return to a fight with some poor soul as a rehab match to get back to the title, and in all of his new found rage, Garbrandt destroys a man’s career on a warpath back to fight TJ Dillashaw. All the while, Dillashaw and coach Ludwig sit in Denver producing s***talk at mass, only to realize that Garbrandt has returned. Thusly, giving us a terribly momentous returned battle between the two. One can only hope Dillashaw’s victory will make Garbrandt’s revenge that much more sweeter.
On to the final fight between Bisping and GSP where one could have imagined the upward elbows from Bisping were to be the end of GSP. The amount of blood loss and energy burned in that fight is surely too much for two human beings to sustain without one of them dying. And by some strange equation of physics, biology and sheer will, GSP was able to land a knock-out punch whilst bleeding profusely from his nose, eye, and head. The fact St. Pierre was cocksure enough to even throw a punch, at a world-class striker, with little vision, is something for the books. It’s not only relative to throwing a punch in the dark, it’s relative to closing your eyes while driving through a red light. You may see the other side, and then again, you might be firmly placed into oblivion.
With a GSP victory, the Middleweight division returns to some normalcy with a respectfully skilled fighter at the top, Bisping having to answer to Yoel Romero, and Rockhold & Weidmann left to duke it out for bro bragging rights and perchance the next title shot.
Then comes the most devastating outcome: Joanna Jedrzejczyk suffering a round one starching from Milwaukee’s own Rose Namajunas. When given the mic, and asked what it feels like to be champion, Rose answered in the only voice she has and knows- which sounds remarkably close to Misty Knight’s vocal patter from Luke Cage- “It feels like butter.” Don’t get it twisted, you couldn’t have scripted that answer any better. Humblest of all, was Rose.
It’s almost as if she had co-authored the book of “How To Humble A Titan” with Holly Holm. Joanna, on the other hand, retained a look of shock, heartbreak, and devastation in the same way she came in- sure as s*** and over confident. I’ll always be a Joanna fan, however it just wreaked too much of Ronday 2.0, in that she fabricated some sort of reason to s***talk Rose and manufacture anger. It was all just extra.
In the end, the fighters who talked the most trash, ended up eating the most of it as well. The silver lining to all of this is that we can for damn sure look forward to the lasting affects of UFC 217 for the next year to come.