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MMA Roundtable: Superfights, Liz Carmouche, Struve vs. Hunt, and screwball politicians

A new name gets thrown into the superfight speculation mix. Results of last week’s events are examined and rehashed. The next fight cards wind their way down the conveyor belt. And a brand-new screwball politician comes screaming out of the woodwork to make ridiculous claims about our fair and noble sport. Sounds like it’s time for another edition of The MMA Roundtable. This time around, the MMAFighting Pacific Division checks in, as my Arizona-based compadre Shaun Al-Shatti teams up with your humble Los Angeles-based scribe to tackle this week’s pressing issues. So without further ado, on to the Roundtable: 1. In light of this week’s news, which one of these five hypothetical match-ups do you consider most compelling for the next major UFC championship fight: Henderson-GSP, Henderson-Aldo, Henderson-Pettis II, Melendez-Aldo, Melendez-Pettis? Al-Shatti: To start, all due respect to Gilbert Melendez, but he doesn’t factor into the equation here. If we’re already past the point of caring about little things like weight classes and divisional rankings, Benson Henderson versus any of these three men is a goldmine for the UFC. It also says something to Henderson’s versatility that we’re sitting here discussing him fighting: A.) the former No. 1 lightweight contender, B.) the greatest featherweight ever, and, C.) the greatest welterweight ever. Not too shabby of a list. Dana White already squashed it, but that Henderson called out St-Pierre in the first place is surprising, though not overly if you’ve ever heard the man speak. He simply craves challenges, and from a general standpoint, fighting an opponent bigger than you is a much greater challenge than one smaller. Plus there’s the whole aspect of St-Pierre being one of the biggest pay-per-view draws in the UFC. I’m sure that didn’t hurt. After headlining two straight FOX shows, who could blame Henderson for wanting a piece of that sweet, sweet pay-per-view pie. But while Henderson-GSP or Henderson-Aldo would be both fascinating stylistic contrasts (and guaranteed ”ËœFight of the Year’ candidates), I still can’t help but lean towards Henderson-Pettis II as my fight of choice — and not for any idealistic belief about the sanctity of fairness or rankings, because it’s obvious those have been thrown out of the window by now. Simply put, I was cageside for WEC 53, and Henderson-Pettis was the single greatest sporting moment I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing live. Neither man’s life has been the same since, and whether they’ll admit it or not, each one thinks about the other on a weekly basis. If a 23-year-old Pettis and a 26-year-old Henderson were able to put on such an electric performance three years ago, it’s a salivating proposition to consider what sort of fireworks could be on display now. Doyle: My first thought when I heard about the potential for a Aldo-Pettis fight, right after they announced Henderson vs. Melendez, was that they’re in some way positioning themselves for a sort of superfight tournament, with the winners of Aldo-Pettis and Henderson-Melendez squaring off. I wouldn’t be as blithe as Shaun to dismiss Melendez’s prospects. If Melendez can knock off a prime Henderson on network television, he becomes a player. But that said, in terms of which of the listed fights I’d like to see, Henderson-Aldo and Henderson-Pettis really is a coin flip for me. If Henderson and Aldo both win, we’ll have the truest superfight we’ve seen in a long time. The last real title vs. title superfight, GSP vs. B.J. Penn, came at a time when the guy moving up, Penn, hadn’t cleaned out lightweight. But in this case, Aldo has been untouchable at 145 pounds and would have defeated both a former UFC lightweight champion in Frankie Edgar and a former WEC champ in Pettis, back-to-back. The timing would never be better for Aldo to challenge the lightweight champ. As for Henderson-Pettis, Shaun already explained the appeal, no need for me to expound further. I’ll have to part ways with Shaun, though, on whether Hendo has earned a superfight with St-Pierre. Not yet, and not if he defeats Melendez, either. If GSP is looking to make a superfight, Anderson Silva is going to mean a lot more money to him at this point than Henderson. If Henderson can defeat Melendez, and then the winner of Aldo-Pettis? Then he’s in the picture for a GSP superfight. But simply beating Melendez in a division as deep as lightweight doesn’t quite get you there. 2. Ronda Rousey got the bulk of the attention last week, but Liz Carmouche also made herself a star last week, both in the buildup to UFC 157 and by delivering on fight night. What should be next for Carmouche? Doyle: The Liz Carmouche who shined through in the UFC Primetime series and through the fight is the same Liz I got to know when I spent a couple days at the San Diego Combat Academy over the summer. She’s as genuine and authentic a person as you can hope to meet meet. Her earnest, straightforward, no-nonsense demeanor is similar t…

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