UFC 199 is here and in my case, living in Los Angeles, it is literally here! The event is sure to be jammed pack with celebrities... and people who think they are celebrities. I know I definitely called every connection I have to try and get the hook-up, but alas, I will be watching it on a TV, or trying a last-minute attempt to sneak in James Bond style ... why won't you return my calls, Dana White?!
Regardless of where you watch it, I suggest doing so with a plethora of friends, food and drinks, as I foresee plenty of action, high-five moments and even a few upsets. So again, if you're a newer fan I got you covered, dude/dudette...
Here are three fighters in UFC 199 to root for:
Brian "T-City" Ortega
Opponent: Clay Guida "(Answer below)"
*I would NEVER recommend rooting against Mr. Guida. He is possibly one of the nicest guys currently in the UFC, but I think his time might have passed and I think Ortega is the one with the brightest future.
Reasons to root for him: First off, the "T" in "T-City" stands for "triangle," which is a submission in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (pictured below),
Brian happens to be a jiu-jitsu black belt and the triangle choke is how he's polished off four of his last 10 opponents. Not only is that impressive, it's downright unheard of!
I think if I had a nickname that dealt with what I'm best at they'd call me Dave "Nap-city."
Second, the man is undefeated and at only 25 years of age he's just beginning his tear through the UFC. As far as this featherweight division goes, we still don't know if Conor is ever coming back to defend his belt and most of the top contenders have already fought each other, so it's time for a shake-up and Brian Ortega might just be that new blood to bring it back to glory. Though, wouldn't you love to see Conor McGregor buy a one-way ticket to Triangle City?!?
How do you think this fight will end?
Dan Henderson, "Hendo"
Opponent: Hector Lombard
*At age 38 it's crazy to think Hector's the younger fighter in this bout.
Reasons to root for him: What might be an easier list is "reasons NOT to root for Dan Henderson" because that list would be blank and I could happily go back to napping.
The man has too many accomplishments to name, but here is the brass tax: he's 45 years old and has 45 professional fights. As the oldest active fighter on the UFC roster, he's an absolute pioneer of the sport who's fighting resumé reads like a who's who of MMA. He's a definite candidate to be in the UFC hall of fame and If you cut the man... he bleeds red, white and blue! (Cue "USA" chant)
The main reason Dan needs your support for this fight is because it's his 46th fight and might be his last. Win or lose, Dan has been open to the possibility of UFC 199 being his swan song (can you use that to describe a fight? Probably shouldn't), and if that's the case, we can bear witness to the end of a very impressive era in MMA.
Dan Henderson, we salute you!
How well do you know Hendo?!? Test your skills!
Do you think Dan Henderson should retire?
Urijah Faber, "The California Kid"
Opponent: Current bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
*This is the rubber match in a 9 year, bad blood fueled, fight trilogy and I cannot wait!!!
Reasons to root for him: He has an opportunity to do something he's been unable to in his decorated 10-year career, become a UFC champion.
Confession: I'm slightly biased, Faber was my first hero in the sport. I remember watching him in his WEC days, he was this constantly innovative savage, with great hair and a hell of a chin... both in the sense that he could take a punch and in the literal sense, that thing is insane looking! Once I found out he was my height (5 foot 6) it gave me a weird sense of confidence and Faber instantly became my prime example for why people my size should not be counted out in athletics.
Besides a recent falling out with his longtime teammate, T.J Dillashaw, you'd be hard pressed to find a large number of people to speak ill of "The California Kid," he just seems to be a friendly, classy dude. Even in his last fight, he came out of the tunnel with an ear-to-ear grin plastered across his face. Though he may be in the latter half of his career, his love and passion for the sport have not wavered.