Earning wins in the UFC is certainly no easy task, but what comes next is often even more important: the post-fight callout.
So after Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 22 event in Sao Paulo, who took advantage of their time on the mic? See below for this week’s Callout Collection – and just how realistic each one is.
* * * * *
First up, let’s take a look at the night’s prelim winners.
Wants to fight: Michael Chiesa
The callout: “I got somebody I want to talk to: Michael Chiesa, I’ve always wanted a fight with you, my brother, and I don’t want to have to talk about your momma in order to get this fight, so let’s make it happen, my brother.”
The reality: To be honest, I really don’t hate the idea of this fight, and I like the way Randy Brown (12-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) approached the request. It was respectful, but it had a little humor in it, as well, bringing up the infamous Chiesa-Kevin Lee press conference exchange ahead of their 2017 clash. The two rangy fighters would likely provide an entertaining contest, and Brown’s obviously improved submission skills mean that he’s becoming a more well-rounded challenge.
If I’m being honest, though, I can’t see where Chiesa (16-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) agrees to this. Yes, the former lightweight is relatively new in the welterweight division, but he came in with wins over true legendary names in Carlos Condit and Diego Sanchez. Sure, you can argue that neither of those men are at their peak right now, but you can’t deny the starpower they carry. For that reason, I see Chiesa looking for an opponent with a number next to his name, and I’m guessing the UFC will oblige.
Wants to fight: Edson Barboza
The callout: “I would like to face Edson Barboza next. He is the best muay Thai athlete in Brazil. I think it would be a great match.”
The reality: For years, it seemed Brazilian fighters not only weren’t all that interested in facing their countrymen but actually went out of their way to avoid clashing, regardless of the circumstances. But Saturday’s card had a number of Brazil vs. Brazil matchups, and those days seem to be changing, a welcome development. Now, you’ve got a Brazilian folk hero in Francisco Trinaldo (24-7 MMA, 14-6 UFC) outwardly asking for a fight with another standout from his home nation in Barboza (20-6 MMA, 14-6 UFC).
In truth, Barboza isn’t really one to be calling the shots right ow. He faces only the absolute best fighters in the division, but he’s at 1-4 in his past five appearances and is going to have to take whatever is offered. That might be good news for Trinaldo, who has had mixed results in his UFC run but in seven years has had only brief exposure to the top-tier talents at 155 pounds.
Both guys probably see this as a winnable fight, and I can’t see more pressing needs for either of them. Let’s tee it up for that rumored Brasilia event in March.
Wants to fight: Conor McGregor or Paul Felder
Conor McGregor and Paul Felder
The callout: “I’ve been here for 10 years. I always say I want a ranked opponent. I’ll call it by the name: Conor McGregor, come on, or else Paul Felder, the last one to beat me. Come on. I’ll meet you again.”
The reality: Charles Oliveira(28-8 MMA, 16-8 UFC) has been in the UFC for more than nine years, and we’ve watched him grow up in front of us, in both the physical sense and as a fighter, in general. Along the way, he’s turned in some incredibly memorable performances – well, memorable except for the fact that he has always taken the “whatever is next” approach to his career. Now, at 30, Oliveira is finally speaking out.
In truth, he deserves it. Finally admitting he’s not a featherweight, Oliveira has embraced his move to 155 pounds is now riding a six-fight winning streak – a run that includes five “Performance of the Night” awards. That’s incredibly impressive.
The McGregor call-out, well, that’s a little disappointing, but it’s understandable. McGregor is still a huge name, and I’m sure to a submission ace like Oliveira, the Irishman looks like an easy paycheck. But let’s be honest. It ain’t happening.
Felder? Well, “The Irish Dragon” was the last man to beat Oliveira, and I’m sure he’d appreciate a shot at revenge. Of course, Felder is in the midst of a 5-1 run right now, as well, with the lone loss in that span coming in a welterweight fight, and he’s hoping for a No. 1 contender fight – or something close to it – as he manages the final stages of his in-cage career before jumping full-time into the broadcast booth.
For those reasons, I don’t know that I see either of these coming together. The good news for Oliveira, though, is the top of the division is all unbooked right now. Islam Makachev isn’t a big name, but his reputation is strong among fighters. Or perhaps Kevin Lee?
What makes sense to you?