It’s been more than a year since these words were last uttered but…


Grappling with Issues is back with the same old format but a new cast of characters with Five Ounces of Pain writer Shane Reilly filling in opposite of yours truly. For those of you unfamiliar with the format, we’ll be offering up takes on six subjects from around the MMA universe.

This time around, Shane and I will discuss a number of issues relating to UFC 162 including the likelihood of an Anderson Silva-Chris Weidman rematch, Mike Pierce’s next fight, and much more. As always, feel free to offer up your own opinions in the Comments section.

Is Mike Pierce Due for a Step Up in Competition?

Reilly: I say Yes. Pierce is riding a four-fight win streak and is 9-3 overall in the UFC. His only losses have been very close or split decisions to the cream of the crop at WW. He has a reputation for being a “boring” fighter but almost half his wins in the octagon have come by way of finish, and he’s KO’d two of his last three opponents. I’m not saying throw him in with the Ellenbergers, Condits, and Rorys just yet, but give him the same treatment Matt Brown and Mike Pyle are getting. I’d like to see him take on Thiago Alves on the Main card in his next fight.

Conlan: He’s definitely in line for another Top 10 opponent after his recent run in the ring and I’m pretty sure more than a few readers would agree Pierce deserved the decision nod against Josh Koscheck when the two met in 2012. I think Jake Shields would work as an opponent or maybe Erick Silva since Pierce has called out Brazilians in the past.

Is Vitor Belfort Right in Calling out Weidman/Silva/Dana/the UFC etc. for a Title-Shot?

Reilly: Y’all know how much resect (or lack of ) I have for Vitor and his so called “storied” career, but I gotta agree with him 100% here. We all know this is a business but wins in the division SHOULD matter. It was ridiculous that both Cain and JDS got rematches, it was ridiculous for Silva to always try and cherry pick opponents, and even though Vitor has been ridiculously hypocritical himself recently, it’s ridiculous that he’s not getting the next title shot.

Conlan: I have no problem with Silva getting a rematch, but Belfort’s definitely next in line based on his success at 185 pounds. While his TRT use is controversial, it’s not illegal and shouldn’t be held against him. Other than that, there’s really no logical argument against him getting the nod.

Are We Gonna See an Influx of Fighters to the Middleweight division?

Reilly: In a word….Hell Yes. I see guys like Machida and Rashad at the top of the list but could also see big welterweights like Marquardt move back up or, Rory MacDonald if GSP stays at welterweight. The king is dead and I expect the middleweight division to get very interesting in the next 12 months.

Conlan: Machida and Evans are legitimate possibilities but in general I don’t think Silva’s loss will inspire other fighters to change their camps around. It’s not like Weidman’s some slouch who got lucky and is a victim in the making. He’s unbeaten, has a polished arsenal, and just knocked out the baddest man on the planet. That’s not a recipe for an opponent fighters should seek out.

True or False – Anderson Silva will change his mind about a rematch and fight Chris Weidman.

Conlan: True, though it won’t be his next bout. Silva seems set on facing Roy Jones Jr. and I think the UFC will find a way to make the match-up, especially with Jones Jr. apparently being on board with the bout. It will make Silva happy, draw mainstream attention, and probably do decent numbers on PPV. Then, once Weidman has a chance to defend his title against Vitor Belfort, I see Silva returning to the division for a final go at the gold.

Reilly: False (ish). If Weidman defends his title a couple of times and becomes a star, Silva may look for the rematch, but for now Anderson seems to want big money fights only, hense the boxing match. I think his buddy Machida makes the drop to 185 and Anderson moves up to 205 and a potential match up with Jon Jones. Silva has always been about the fights that make the most money and the big fights are at 205.

Should Cub Swanson have to beat Ricardo Lamas to get a title-shot?

Conlan: Yes, because they both deserve the opportunity and the winner of Jose Aldo-Chan Sung Jung probably won’t be ready to fight again before January. Swanson’s run is absolutely impressive and in most cases he’d be a lock for a crack at the championship but the featherweight division is tricky, especially with Anthony Pettis potentially messing things up more. Having Swanson-Lamas scrap will sort things out and buy time in case Pettis or an injury interferes in the title-holder’s immediate plans.

Reilly: “Should” he? No. “Will” he? Probably, but only because Lamas has started making noise recently about title shots. Swanson has gone 5-0 since their first meeting and Lamas has only fought twice. In a “What have you done for me lately?” organization like the UFC, I could see Cub getting the shot without having to go through Lamas again.

Who would you like to see Frankie Edgar face next?

Conlan: The winner of Chad Mendes’ meeting with Clay Guida at UFC 164. There aren’t a lot of other opponents that make sense from a rankings’ perspective, especially if Swanson/Lamas lock horns, and both pairings have a lot of appeal. Mendes’ power and wrestling could put Edgar’s skills to the test, while “The Answer” and Guida never crossed paths at 155 pounds and would almost certainly produce a Fight of the Night contender given their respective styles.

Reilly: I like the winner of Mendes/Guida, especially the Guida fight. That’d be like watching two super balls in the dryer. But I’m going to throw another name out there just for fun….Mike Brown. I know he’s had more downs than ups in his UFC career but with a win on Fox Sports 1 he’ll be looking at three in a row. He’s a former divisional kingpin, has better submissions than both Guida or Mendes and packs serious striking power. It may not be the fight that gets Edgar the title shot, but with three or four guys already in front of him, Frankie needs to stay busy. If he can’t get passed Brown, he doesn’t deserve the shot anyway.