It’s that time that we all love as we begin to anticipate the upcoming UFC PPV. In this case it’s UFC 135 that will be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between the current champion Jon Jones and the former champion Rampage Jackson. The co-main event consists of a welterweight bout between former champion Matt Hughes and former title challenger Josh Koscheck. Koscheck is stepping in on short notice to replace an injured Diego Sanchez who had to withdraw from the bout with a broken hand. This card appears to be a fairly weak event on paper. However, past experiences have shown us that these cards provide some of the best action. Let’s get into the three big questions going into this event.
- Does the Jon Jones era begin if he beats Rampage Jackson?
Jon Jones has looked almost unbeatable since he arrived in the UFC with each performance becoming more dominant as the level of competition has gone up. Of course any fighter can lose on any giving day, but if Jones runs through Jackson like he’s done everyone else you naturally have to ask this question. Some people are already saying the era is underway, but I’d like for Jones to defend the belt at least once before giving him such high praise. However, the list of contenders with a realistic chance of beating him seems to be on the short side.
- Will Matt Hughes retire if he loses to Josh Koscheck?
Hughes had put together a nice little 3 fight winning streak(over a 2 year period) before getting blizted by BJ Penn last November to lose the rubbermatch between those two. Hughes will turn 38 years old next month and it’s clear that he is way past his prime in regards to how he stacks up to the rest of the top welterweights in today’s game. Hughes has always said that he will not stay in the fight game to let younger fighters build up their names off his. I asked if Josh Koscheck will treat Matt Hughes the same way he did Frank Trigg back at UFC 103? Now, I think Hughes may have a little more gas left in the tank when compared to Trigg trying to fight as a welterweight back then. However, it’s going to be awfully tough for him to win this fight and any other fight against the top guys. Does he decide to call it a career with a loss here?
Can Travis Browne be labeled as a ‘contender’ with another win at UFC 135?
I know it seems early for this question because Browne only has three fights in the UFC. He’s (2-0-1) during those fights and has fought some proven UFC veterans during that timespan, winning both of those fights via TKO/KO. However, he is (11-0-1) in his career and just turned 30 years old last month. It’s not like the UFC has a lot of time to build him up so to speak, but if he keeps knocking guys out they won’t need to spend a lot of time doing so. He’s a legit heavyweight standing at 6’8″ and near 250lbs with absolute dynamite in his hands. The heavyweight division is so shallow nowadays, all these guys have to do is put together three or four wins and they are right there in the mix of things. See Shane Carwin.
Another interesting tidbit on this card is the official UFC debut of TUF 13 winner Tony Ferguson as he’ll be taking on MMA veteran Aaron Riley. I’m really high on Ferguson, and it’ll be interesting to see how he performs on Saturday night.
So, let me hear your thoughts on these questions and feel free to share what you are most looking forward to on Saturday night? Will you be rooting for Jones or Rampage?