Man... Something that felt seismic happened tonight in Las Vegas at UFC 189. It felt like every fighter stepped up and put on a career-defining performance. Each of them seemed to enter the cage and fight with complete and unusual confidence, and without hesitation or fear. From the new Reebok gear, the new graphics package, to the live music before the main event, the entire night just felt different.
The featured undercard bout between Matt Brown and Tim Means was as good as I expected it to be. Great fight.
Almeida vs. Pickett was another great scrap, ending with an incredible flying knee.
Gunnar Nelson put on a perfect performance, dismantling Brandon Thatch and putting himself back on track after his first career loss.
Stephens vs. Bermudez elevated the event. A thrilling back-and-forth battle ends with another spectacular flying knee.
Lawler vs. MacDonald was one of the greatest title fights I've ever seen. Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald both fought with grit and inspiration, but Lawler distinguished himself and showed the result of 15 years of competing in MMA, reaching a new and higher level. He is an absolute animal and he is my favorite fighter to watch.
McGregor looked like Nick Diaz in the cage, yet much more effective and deadly in his institution of the taunt/fight balance. He was 100% in the head of Chad Mendes. We saw Chad involving Herb Dean by complaining on several occasions and finding himself uncharacteristically weary even in the very first round. McGregor completely owned Mendes on the feet. He bided his time while on the ground, yes, taking some damage, but seemed to end the fight at will when he finally scrambled to his feet toward the end of the 2nd round. He finishes Mendes when he said he would do so in his prefight prediction. Conor has an incredible chin, lethally effective movement and his hands are deadly. He lived up to the hype and his inevitable meeting with Jose Aldo will be huge for the UFC and for the sport of MMA.
I truly love this sport, and soon even more people will.
Joe Rogan, like the rest of us, was in a trance tonight.... Wow!