Champions Emerge from the Circus

ufc-232The final card of every year is meant to be a celebration of the year that was in the UFC and this year was no different.

UFC 232 was going to be that celebration but it also successfully represented the year that was in the UFC.

This year was not the greatest for the biggest promotion in Mixed Martial Arts as it started with controversy and ended with controversy.

Most of the beginning of 2018 centred around the potential organization of fighters who were complaining about the pay they were receiving.

Despite the pay for the biggest names a lot of fighters were scrapping by needing a fight bonus to stay afloat.

The talk continues although it seems like it has faded to the background while other big stories have taken over.

There was the fall of a number of promising fighters and the loss of most of the major stars throughout the roster.

Conor McGregor continued to be bigger than the brand but still lost a fight and drug tests took more and more focus from more and more legends.

Numbers were down across the board for the UFC and a long process showed that the demand to show UFC might not have been as big as they expected.

It just seems fitting that the UFC’s rough year full of questionable decisions and revelations that showed the underbelly of the promotion ended with a mess of a card.

The move of the fight from Nevada to California was a questionable one and to many really showed how desperate the UFC was for stars.

Jon Jones was set to fight for the first time in more than a year after a USADA suspension and the UFC need Jones as part of their limited number of real stars.

His drug test failure rose eyebrows and continues to baffle most especially when he was allowed to continue fighting despite his third failed test.

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The UFC claimed consistently that the failed test was just a result of whatever happened 18 months ago and that NSAC just simply didn’t have the time to approve of Jones to fight.

Whatever the real story it looked bad on Jones, the UFC and USADA leaving some to wonder how things actually work between the UFC and USADA.

Like the entire year, the controversy dominated despite the fact that the card itself was full of very interesting fights.

The year saw controversy hide the fact that there are some serious stars coming through and potentially making a name in 2019 and UFC 232 represented that perfectly.

It would take something like this to disguise two of the potentially best fights in the history of the UFC.

In the co-main event, two of the greatest women’s fighters ever were going to face off for the featherweight title and the unofficial all-time pound-for-pound title in women’s MMA.

Cris Cyborg is considered the greatest ever beating just about every name in women’s MMA and doing it in convincing fashion.

She was going to defend her belt against Amanda Nunes who ran through the Bantamweight division with a similar style to Cyborg.

Heading into the fight, Nunes seemed like the only person who had a chance and she was going to show why.

That she did as this fight did not last long but it was the most unpredictable finish that anyone could have thought of.

Both fighters came out strong swinging away and trying to establish their dominance with their clashing styles.

Cyborg has done this many times but she clearly had never faced someone with the power of Nunes as the Bantamweight champion caught her early.

She continued to put on the pressure and knocked out Cyborg handing her fellow Brazilian only her second loss ever and breaking a winning streak longer than a decade.

Nunes became the first ever woman to win two championships in the UFC and put her name as the greatest female fighter of all time.mma-sidebar.fw

The main event was the centre of the controversy as Jones was set to return and reprise his most challenging fight ever.

The former UFC champion has been the most polarizing figure in the UFC as his talent is clearly miles above but failed drug tests bring doubt.

The only fighter to ever come close to beating him was Alexander Gustafsson and many believed that their first fight was a robbery anyway.

This was Gustafsson’s chance to get that revenge after his own long layoff due to injuries and to prove that he is truly the better fighter.

The layoff for both fighters seemed to affect them as the fight wasn’t overly impressive for either fighter.

Gustafsson just didn’t have enough as Jones was able to put this fight on the ground and get the TKO in a convincing although not overly impressive win.

Jones returns as a champion and will look to reclaim his legacy as long as he can avoid the trouble he has created in his career.

It was a fun night that would have been great had nothing else overshadowed the card much like the entire 2018 in the UFC.

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