We've used a lot of words to try and explain just how meaningful the UFC's upcoming debut at #MadisonSquareGarden for #UFC205 is for MMA. We've talked about the sport's rise from the underground to the mainstream, given an overview of just how many historic events MSG has hosted, and taken an in-depth look at all of UFC 205's main players.
But even after all of our (extremely thoughtful and well-constructed) bloviating and guffawing, it's still hard to describe the sight of this Saturday's stars gracing the floor of Madison Square Garden for today's UFC 205 open workouts as anything other than...surreal.
First to hit the floor was women's strawweight challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz, who was her usual bubbly self while speaking with Megan Olivi, predicting that her bout against champion #JoannaJedrzejzcyk would be "the hardest fight of my life."
Next up was the woman standing between Kowalkiewicz and the title, #JoannaJedrzejczyk. After savaging the pads, Jedrzejczyk called for the inclusion of more Polish women in the UFC before confirming that she would emerge from UFC 205 as the strawweight division's "one true champion."
Continuing to exude the confidence that he has all week, welterweight champion #TyronWoodley stated his intentions to "completely dominate" challenger Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson before engaging the crowd in a chant. Unfortunately for Woodley, it didn't go quite as expected.
Likely adding further insult to injury was the raucous ovation that welterweight title challenger #StephenThompson received during his workout, no doubt thanks to the high-flying karate kicks he put on display.
Speaking on Woodley, Thompson claimed that the champion simply "wasn't ready" to face what he brings to the cage and rebuked the notion that Sage Northcutt (whom Woodley brought in to mimic Thompson's style) would be able to provide an accurate picture of his skillset.
Lightweight champion #EddieAlvarez was up next, and opted to forgo the typical hype-talk to show off his boxing skills. Interesting to note was Alvarez's use of pool noodles in his routine, which may or may not have been an attempt to throw some shade at the "unique" training methods his opponent used prior to his loss to #NateDiaz at UFC 196.
Finally, featherweight champion #ConorMcGregor arrived. After a brief workout, the Irishman grabbed a basketball from the crowd and proceeded to drain a shot from the free throw line. While not the typical kind of "balling" we've begun to associate the outspoken champion with, it was an undoubtedly cool moment nonetheless.