Looking for Some Heat

ufc-fn138In this era of fighting, there is a transition as old fighters who helped to bring the sport closer to the mainstream are beginning to walk away.

That happens in every sport and every era as there will always be transitions from the old era to the new era.

The UFC has experienced their own before with fighters that helped build the foundation of the sport have mostly moved on with a new era taking over.

That more recent era of fighters is coming to an end and younger more talented fighters are coming for their spots at the top of every division.

This transition is slightly different though as the new era of fighters is beginning to influence the older fighters.

The entertainment era is here and led by Conor McGregor who brings his own unique style in and out of the octagon.

It is that outside of the octagon part of the equation that is beginning to have a real impact on other fighters.

Any fighter with a decent enough name is realizing what can be done and they are trying to do it before they lose their pull in the sport.

There is no more perfect example of that than Daniel Cormier who became the second fighter to hold two belts at the same time in the UFC, you get one guess on who was the first.

For Cormier, it was a big accomplishment but it was more about the fact that the win against Stipe Miocic only grew his pull.

Cornier became instantly one of the best fighters ever and with a career that was always going to come to a close sooner rather than later, it was a move to increase his negotiating power.

With only a few fights left until he wanted to retire Cormier had the ability to pick and choose who he wanted to fight.

He could map out the final few fights of his career to get the most money and the most recognition for his swan song.

After Derrick Lewis became the third most talked about person at UFC 229 Cormier chose to fight him to defend his heavyweight title.

With options that include Brock Lesnar and Jon Jones, there is little room for other fighters especially if they aren’t going to get anyone excited.

Cormier is looking to take advantage of his notoriety and get the paydays that will allow him to walk away with legend and future intact.

With that in mind, the challenge falls on the rest of the fighters in the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions.

Cormier is being picky but he was set to fight Lesnar before signing to fight Lewis at UFC 230, so he is open to change.

That change would need to be something special as fighters looking to get one of the few fights left from Cormier are going to need to make an impression.

That is what Anthony Smith and Volkan Oezdemir had on their mind heading into UFC Fight Night 138.

They were headlining a card only a week away from Cormier’s next title fight giving them the upper hand.

If they could step into the octagon and make a real impression they could be able to capture the attention of Cormier for his next fight.

It would need to be something special though and for two fighters known for finishing fights that was a chance.

Oezdemir had already fought Cormier once but before he lost that title shot became known for his ability to end fights quickly.

Smith had put together an impressive streak of wins that ended in impressive ways with some very good knockouts.mma-sidebar.fw

Both came into the fight on the edge of being that contender and they needed a win but more than that they needed to finish this fight.

To keep the momentum going for both fighters they had to come out ready to brawl and put their opponent to sleep.

It wasn’t necessarily as quick as anyone thought it was going to be as neither fighter really came with a lot of urgency at the beginning of the fight.

Both showed what they brought to the table though as they each landed their shots in the first few rounds and created some damage.

Neither could finish it off though as they both ate shots and fired back in a much more careful fight than anyone thought would happen.

That careful fight still had a tough pace though and both fighters entered the third round exhausted.

It seemed as though Oezdemir was the one who was more tire though as he made the first real mistake.

Anthony Smith was able to get his back and with a better ground game locked in a rear naked choke.

Eventually, the squeeze was enough to make Oezdemir tap as Smith continued his streak of finishes this time on the ground.

Whether it was impressive enough to get him a title shot will be a big question as Jones and Gustafsson will fight later this year in what could be a title fight if Cormier is stripped of the belt.

Although Smith will be right there he might not have done enough to impress and take a spot among the bigger names in the division, at least not yet.

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