We kick off our first UFC 1-Outs weekly thingy-ma-jig with UFC 198, where we met our new heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and also met the lady they call 'Cyborg'.
Oh, but first we need to roll through a few storylines that will probably headline upcoming UFC 1-Outs. The first isn't really that appealing from a UFC perspective, however from a pure sporting perspective, seeing Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather go 1-outs and see who's the better boxing would be pretty fun.
There's constant noise about this match up and it's getting a lot of headlines. I'd love to see these two fight but this narrative has its foundations firmly rooting in classic 'fight business' shenanigans and until it actually happens, I'm taking it with a grain of salt.
From McGregor's perspective, it keeps him in the news headlines and keeps him front and centre of any media attention.
From Mayweather's perspective, it keeps a retired boxer in the news headlines.
See the trend here?
The other major storyline is that possible change in ownership of the UFC, which is considered to be worth a truckload of money. Current owners Zuffa are reported to be in advanced negotiations with a gang of massive corporations from around the world, the sort of corporations who can afford the reported $3.5billion price tag.
There has been rumours for a while now that the UFC is up for sale and coming off the back of a few huge pay-per-view events featuring Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor, this is the perfect time for Zuffa to cash in on their investment in the UFC. It's hard to say how a possible sale would influence the UFC as we see it, which is all that really matters from a fan's perspective but we will follow this storyline over the coming weeks and see how it pans out.
UFC 198 was headlined by Stipe Miocic's KO of Fabricio Werdum, with Miocic landing a brutal right-hand as Werdum recklessly strolled forward. Miocic did it for Cleveland, surpassing LeBron James as the lad to bring Cleveland a title and there's now an interesting future awaiting Miocic and the heavyweight division. Miocic has Alistair Overeem, Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos lining up for a shot at his title, plus a rematch against Werdum could be on the cards as this loss came in rather strange circumstances for Werdum.
There's also our favourite heavyweight Mark Hunt lurking. Given that there's a lengthy list of contenders, Hunt seems content with a fight against a top-five ranked fighter which will then open doors for a possible title shot. The heavyweight division has seen a rotating cast of champions in recent years, so who knows who will be champion when Hunt is ready for a title shot.
The second fight that caught my eye was Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza's win over Vitor Belfort, giving Souza his 9th win in 10 fights. Souza landed 39 significant strikes to Belfort's 4, he out-struck Belfort 54-5 and landed a takedown for shits and giggles as well, putting him in a great position as he'll likely be next up to fight the winner of Luke Rockhold's first title defence and rematch against Chris Weidman.
That middleweight title rematch is set to go down on June 5th at UFC 199 and there's another cheeky kiwi angle here as Robert Whittaker is ranked 6th in the middleweight division. Souza's ranked 2nd, behind Rockhold and Weidman so if Whittaker can snatch another win, he'll be perfectly poised for a title shot within the next 18-24 months.
Belfort has now lost twice and won once since testing positive for testosterone replacement therapy, which doesn't look too good does it?
We'll finish with Cris 'Cyborg' Justino's long awaited UFC debut, beating Leslie Smith in what some (Smith herself) considered an early finish but it was pretty clear that Smith would fall victim to Cyborg sooner rather than later. Cyborg finally joined the UFC for this fight, but she's still on the books of Invicta where she is the featherweight champion, which leaves us with a very interesting wee situation in the women's ranks.
With Miesha Tate, Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey forming a triangle of intrigue in the women's bantanweight division, there's alright enough funk to keep fight-fans satisfied without Cyborg. Throw in Cyborg, who looks to be a clear contender and we've got four female fights in the bantamweight division who can all lay claim to being the best.
When/if Cyborg returns soon to fight in the UFC, it will likely be against Holm or Rousey (anyone who isn't champ) and a Cyborg vs Rousey fight would draw massive numbers. The catch is that Cyborg is the champ at 145lbs for Invicta and this fight against Smith was fought at 140lbs, mainly to suit Cyborg and Cyborg didn't exactly call out Rousey or any of the UFC's female stars as they fight at 135lbs. Cyborg could get another fight at an agreed catch-weight, it doesn't appear too likely that she'd drop down to 135lbs to fight which poses a tricky little conundrum for the UFC.