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© Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
© Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
Ike at the Fights

MMA New Year's Resolutions!

by Ike Feldman
Updated On: January 4, 2022, 1:21 pm ET

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In an MMA-themed New Year’s resolution edition of Ike At The Fights, I’d like to make resolutions for some of the biggest names in MMA today concerning what adjustments they can make to guarantee 2022 is another successful year!

Amanda Nunes Truly Iron Outs Her Cardio Issues:

The greatest women's Mixed Martial Artist of all-time, Amanda Nunes, lost her bantamweight title because her lingering cardio issue sprouted its ugly head at UFC 269 against an unafraid Juliana Peña. Nunes was invincible for 6 ½ years, but every dog has its day and the huge underdog Peña (+550) shrugged off any doubt going into the fight and executed her game plan. Peña wore out Nunes out to the point of having no resistance from the all-time great. It worked out perfectly for Peña and now the rematch seems inevitable. It hasn't been announced if the rematch will be at 135-pounds or 145-pounds, but whenever and wherever the fight takes place, Nunes must address her cardio conditioning. 

Max Holloway Fights Volkanovski … Again, But Uses All of His Weapons:

In what seems like an immovable object meeting an unstoppable force between kingpins atop the UFC’s featherweight division may not be the top fight fans are clamoring to see because of Volkanovski's two prior wins. What I’m hopeful to hear and see from longtime champion and statistical king, Max Holloway, is that he addresses his stubbornness to just box instead of uses kicks or grappling. He’s limiting himself against a more well-rounded Volkanovski by not incorporating a full arsenal of weapons and has it drilled into his head that he is “the best boxer in MMA”, which is arguably true, but in the same breath is self-sabotaging. Holloway gave up so many unchecked leg kicks that he put himself in an early hole in both fights. The Hawaiian native must start to use kicks of his own or at least use the threat of grappling.

Jon Jones Goes An Entire Year Without Making A Negative Headline:

Being on the naughty list is nothing new for the talented Jon Jones who can’t seem to shake his demons. Jones is at his best, and really connects his mind and body, when he is solely focused on training and more specifically a fight date. When training in vain and no fight contract is signed he tends to drift, which leads to historically poor decision-making. I really hope he figures it out just for the sake of having a peaceful existence. It will help if/when he finally steps into the cage again at heavyweight this year – hopefully. He hasn’t seen the cage since February 2020.

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone Gets A Fitting Retirement Fight:

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is a man among boys who truly embodies the anytime, anywhere, anybody motto that so many fighters try to present. He literally eats, sleeps and breathes this sport and because of his special place in every MMA fan’s heart and must get a quintessential perfect retirement fight. Now I don’t know when father time will knock for Cerrone as he is rumored to face one of the most intriguing prospects in the UFC in Paddy Pimblett (tough fight for Cerrone), but after Pimblett, the UFC should find a rightly matched opponent for Cerrone to tip his black cowboy hat and call it a career. 

Khamzat Chimaev Fights Two Or More Times This Year:

Khamzat Chimaev is a man of few words that has captured the attention of so many fight fans when he burst on the scene in 2020. Chimaev, unranked at the time, set the MMA community on fire once again when he returned from a long layoff (illness) at UFC 267 to absolutely demolish the #11 ranked Li Jingliang in the first round. For starters, I’d like to see Chimaev fight at least two times this year. If I’m being greedy, I’d like for the first fight against a top-five opponent and depending on his performance, give him a title shot shortly after. Dana White is being pressed by the press to get Chimaev to face current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and the boss isn’t 100% sold yet. One more hugely impressive win and Chimaev could sway the UFC brass.

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Weili Zhang vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk 2 Gets Booked:

If the 2020 fight of the year between Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk were to happen again in a few months I have absolutely zero issue with that and neither should you! Recency bias can be a thing so do yourself a favor - if you aren’t sold on this rematch yet - and go watch these two warriors slug it out and steal the show back at UFC 248. Even if you’re already sold on this fight, do yourself a favor and go watch it again anyway! The first fight was an instant classic and the encore should be just as good if not better. If these women get booked to fight next, it’s beautiful matchmaking at exactly the right time of their careers.

Georges St. Pierre Returns to Competition:

Sadly, the French-Canadian MMA legend Georges St. Pierre has spoken strongly about wanting a return to the cage, but for whatever reason, him and the UFC can’t strike a deal that makes all parties happy. It’s a sin for a man who not only helped build a division but who turned Canada into one of the biggest MMA markets in the world because of his herculean efforts and achievements. At 40, it wouldn’t make sense for most fighters to compete, but GSP is in a league of his own. By simply tracking his social media, it’s arguable that he may be in better shape than at the height of his UFC reign. I’m hoping we at least get to see the legend make a return to competition in any capacity. Whether that’s an exhibition grappling match or in the boxing ring, get this man a date! Rumor is, the UFC can present a legal team to St. Pierre should he try to find a loophole and enter a boxing ring as opposed to a cage … but hopefully that’s just hearsay. 

Jake Paul Faces An Active UFC Fighter Before The End of The Year:

The man who stole most of the combat sports headlines in 2021 is now in an internet spat with UFC president Dana White. Yes, Jake Paul the YouTube sensation turned professional boxer is hot off his sixth-round knockout victory over former UFC champion Tyron Woodley and is barking louder and louder up the UFC’s tree in hopes of landing a humongous payday. Dana White has made statements that no active UFC fighter will ever face Jake Paul. White has been all ears to Paul’s viral attacks and has responded with videos of his own. Months ago it was nothing, but White seems to be warming up to Paul - at least as a businessman - and knows a crossover pay-per-view event with Paul could do massive numbers. Paul has specifically called out active UFC fan-favorites fighters Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal, but in order to fight one of them, White and the UFC need to sign off first.

Israel Adesanya Properly Bulks Up For Light-Heavyweight Return:

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya took a chance in 2021 by trying to become only the fifth two-division champion to simultaneously hold two belts. Jan Blachowicz, the light-heavyweight champion at the time, out-muscled Adesanya to win a dominant decision victory. Adesanya was way under what a typical light-heavyweight would weigh. Adesanya was not able to contend with Blachowicz's strength and power. Years leading up to that point, Adesanya had been extremely boisterous about fighting Jon Jones, but all of that chatter was silenced with Adesanya getting physically dominated by Blachowicz. Adesanya says that he is not done with light-heavyweight aspirations, but you hope he learns from his miscalculation and etches himself down in MMA history.

Though it’s another week without live fights, take this time to reset and reload as the UFC returns next week and will be on for 11 out of the next 12 weeks! 

Ike Feldman

Ike Feldman is not only a longtime combat sports practitioner, but he is also an Edgy broadcaster that has been covering and handicapping combat sports on a high level since 2016. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @IkeFeldman to get unrivaled MMA and Boxing content, insight and entertainment.