By: Brandon Kaplan
UFC 217 brings us three incredible title fights, and although GSP and Michael Bisping were not present for this media call, Joanna ‘Champion’ and her main card counterparts were definitely outspoken. Both the straw weight queen and her opponent Rose Namajunas were on fire out of the gate. Rose seems to be plagued by the statements Joanna has made in the interim of the lead up, and Rose has never been this upset or motivated for a fight. She denies to be changing her style or pace, but she realizes her own evolution and claims to have ‘a million jabs’ for the champion come fight night. When Rose broke down her last performance against Michelle Waterson, Joanna retorted retorted that she only has ‘one jab…long and strong’. It has been hectic with these two ladies at war, but no punches have been thrown or had to be pulled, so maybe they are just mocking it up for the big show….
Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw also engaged in heat, as they do for most every media appearance they make. There is an intense rivalry between the two, and when TJ was asked about his prior training with his upcoming opponent, he exclaimed that he will ‘…absolutely will use all his tools.’ TJ also let the fans know that he is “..learning from his coaches now and past, from Master Tong, from Duane Ludwig… That’s the whole point of being a martial artist, just soaking up the information from your entire path of martial arts.” Cody also chimed in with his opinion on TJ, and how his dominance in the division will show on fight night and well into the future. When asked how he would feel if he beats TJ, he immediately countered ‘when, I beat TJ’, as a confident champion should. “I think every fight to date is bigger and more next level… It’s gonna be a big win for me… I stole the belt off of Dominic Cruz like I said I would in dominant fashion…and I will go on from there.” Cody’s use of the word catapult and his description of the future show all the makings of a world class fighter, and a man who is ready to return from a barring back injury.
We can expect nothing but heat for this main card, and these three title fights alone are worth price of admission. Even without the spectacle of the ‘legends main event’, we have an immense card with some of the most well rounded and technical fighters in the world. This will be a paring of lighter weight classes to take over the card, very rarely are multiple bantam and straw weight title fights on the same card…but it shows you how far the sport, and how intelligence the fight audience has become. Expect war come UFC 217, this one has card of the year written all over it!