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Jake Shields Rules, Dan Hardy Drools Says Sherdog's Jake Rossen
According to Sherdog's Jake Rossen, Jake Shields rules and Dan Hardy drools, or at least that's the message that I got out of his recent blog post.
It is relatively clear that Jake Rossen isn't a big fan of the UFC's dominance of the MMA industry. Rossen is obviously far from alone in his distaste for UFC's rule over the MMA landscape, but his latest post concerning Dan Hardy and Jake Shields makes it clear to me that his political views have colored his judgment.
Of course, all MMA writers, myself included, are sometimes guilty of bias or misunderstanding to some degree or another, but I find this example particularly amusing.
In his latest post, Rossen says Dan Hardy stands little chance against Georges St. Pierre and goes on to bemoan the politics that are preventing a fight between St. Pierre and Jake Shields.
Many people will agree with both sentiments, but the way that Rossen explains them is quite humorous.
During a recent interview, Hardy said it would be unwise for GSP to stand with him because Hardy could knock GSP out. Rossen laughs at this idea, citing the fact that Hardy has only one knockout in four UFC fights.
This is certainly true, but such a statement ignores the truth that aside from knocking out Rory Markham, Hardy rocked both Marcus Davis and Mike Swick more than once.
In addition to discrediting Hardy's hands, Rossen goes on to say "If there?s one thing you don?t want to engage St. Pierre in, it?s a distance fight."
This statement is laughable at best and is otherwise simply absurd.* On my first reading, I thought Rossen was simply talking about Hardy choosing to fight GSP at range.* If this was the case, Rossen would be correct in one aspect, as St. Pierre has been very good at controlling in most of his fights by using his jabs and kicks, engaging St. Pierre at distance is simply one of the few viable options for any fighter.
If you're using your range against GSP, you might just have the opportunity to land some strikes, while also having adequate time to avoid some takedowns.* Engaging in a clinch or any other close-range striking is simply an invitation to get taken down by GSP, who is indisputably one of the best functional wrestlers in MMA.
What other way is there to beat GSP?* Well, I suppose someone could try to take him down, but since great wrestlers like Josh Koscheck and Matt Hughes have had only minimal success with such attempts, it doesn't really make for a viable strategy for most fighters.
Ultimately, most fighters who fight against GSP wind up on their backs, but inviting such a situation seems foolish, considering what GSP has managed to do from the top position against some of the better grapplers in MMA.
Dan Hardy's best chance is to try to engage GSP at range, thus avoiding the ground as much as possible.* To say that is "the one thing you don't want to do" is pretty funny.
However, when I woke up this morning, I was advised of a different interpretation of Rossen's article, with Rossen saying that Hardy stands little chance because he is unlikely to finish GSP and, therefore, is likely to lose against GSP in a fight that "goes the distance."
This is probably the better interpretation of Rossen's post, but the post is still very flawed because Hardy still very obviously has the ability to rock his opponents and finish fights, and even when the fight has gone the distance, Hardy has not really been exposed as the type of fighter who fades too badly over the course of three rounds, so it is not really certain he would fade badly over five.
Rossen goes on to bemoan the "political jockeying" that is preventing a fight with the more-deserving challenger, Shields.
In fairness, Shields is a more deserving contender to the title than Dan Hardy, but the problem I have with Rossen's statement is that he makes it in contrast to what he sees as a terribly one-sided affair between St. Pierre and Hardy because as much as Shields may be a more deserving challenger, he is no more of a threat to GSP than Hardy.
Shields is a good grappler, but that is all he is good at.* In the words of Jake Rossen, "If there's one thing you don't want to engage St. Pierre in...it's a wrestling match."
At this point, it should be absolutely clear that Shields stands no chance against St. Pierre while the fight remains on the feet.* Shields doesn't have the striking ability or even the power to hurt GSP were he to land a lucky punch.
Shields' only chance would be to get the fight to the ground, but in order to do so, he would have to contend with perhaps the best takedown defense in the welterweight division.
Few people in the division are capable of taking down GSP, and I don't know if Shields is one of them.* Even if he managed to get GSP down on his back, GSP is considered to be a difficult fighter to hold down or submit.
If Shields was bold enough to pull guard on GSP, he would be doing so against a guy who cut through BJ Penn's guard like it didn't even matter.
Going back to Rossen's argument against Hardy, I doubt that Shields is very likely to submit Georges and, therefore, if Shields were able to bring a potential fight with GSP to the five round distance, I doubt that Shields would benefit at all from a decision.
Taking these things into consideration, I personally think Dan Hardy has as much of a chance against GSP as would Shields.* At least Dan Hardy is dangerous on the feet, where all fights begin.* Shields might never even get a chance to bring the fight to where he wants it.
None of this goes to say that Shields should never be afforded a title shot against GSP.* If Shields goes to the UFC and is still on a good run, he's more than deserved his shot.
But when Jake Rossen says we shouldn't be interested in Dan Hardy's shot and that we should be upset about missing a potential fight with Shields, what becomes clear is that fight promoters don't need to do any political jockeying when MMA bloggers are willing to do the work for them.
*Note* The preceding article was written a few days ago, but I republished it after accidentally deleting it while attempting to make some edits.
Since the first time this article was published, Dana White's displeasure with Jake Rossen has become public knowledge, so I feel that at this time it's worth making a few additional remarks on the current state of MMA journalism.
Writers such as Steve Cofield have mentioned correctly that MMA journalists aren't required to blindly promote everything that the UFC puts forth, but there is still another side to the issue.
A writer can and should be critical but shouldn't go nitpicking whatever the UFC does while liberally supporting the competition.
There is a difference between being critical and being opinionated.
As far as Dana White's criticism of the media is concerned, I can't blame him for having his own opinions or for expressing them.* Sure, he doesn't like some journalists and may even try to get some of them fired by threatening to refuse credentials, but that's a relatively mild and generally accepted form of censorship.
Free speech is a right. Getting paid for your opinions is a privilege.
MMA Mod Supreme
Re: Jake Shields Rules, Dan Hardy Drools Says Sherdog's Jake Rossen
There is a difference between fighting from range, fighting from the pocket, and fighting from the clinch. Hardy needs to stay in the pocket and exchange with gsp, while gsp will look to use his kicks and reach to win the exchanges from a distance. It doesnt really matter where the fight takes place though as gsp will get his takedowns.
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