New York Giants: Wayne Gallman had season best performance in Seattle

New York Giants, Wayne Gallman

The New York Giants lost a lot of their potential in the running game when Saquon Barkley went down early in the season with an injury that would take him out for the year. However, the situation hasn’t been hopeless and while the team previously struggled to move the ball on the ground at all, things have improved. The Seahawks game might be the best example of that improvement. Not only did they beat an 8-3 team while playing their backup quarterback, but the Giants saw one of their running backs have a career day.

That running back is Wayne Gallman, who previously has teetered between being in and out of the team’s plans. Before the start of the season, it was possible to question whether the Giants needed Gallman. Now, Gallman has rewarded their faith in keeping him around with his best rushing performance of the season.

Wayne Gallman’s career day against Seattle

That performance saw him rack up 16 carries, 135 yards, and 8.44 yards per carry. Those numbers are more than Giants running backs have typically been getting this season. For much of the season before Gallman stepped up his performances after all, Daniel Jones was the leading rusher. And that’s never a good sign. It’s easy to forget just how hopeless the rushing situation for the Giants seemed before things picked up.

Jason Garrett has gotten a lot of flak this season as an offensive coordinator, but despite any faults, it’s worth giving a lot of credit to Garrett and the offensive coaching staff in general for overseeing a turnaround in the middle of the season. Not every team is able to make these kinds of adjustments in a span of weeks.

It would have been easy to dismiss the rushing game this season and give up after Barkley was injured. But that isn’t what happened. And as Daniel Jones possibly comes back this week, we might just see a more multi faceted attack from the Giants involving both the ground game and the passing game making strides.

Buffalo Bills: Three stars from Monday’s win vs. San Francisco

An offensive explosion allowed the Buffalo Bills to exorcise their Glendale demons and come away with a win over the displaced 49ers.

The Buffalo Bills struck prime time, offensive gold against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night in a most unusual location.

Josh Allen threw for 375 yards and four scores, helping Cole Beasley earned a career-best 130 yards. Micah Hyde and Tre’Davious White also had interceptions as the Bills rolled to a 34-24 victory over the Niners at State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals and one of the most heartbreaking defeats in recent Buffalo memory. 

The win on Monday broke several dubious records in Buffalo history. It was good for their first win in a Monday night setting since October 1999, and the team also clinched their first pair of consecutive winning seasons since 1998-99. Stefon Diggs’ 92 yards allowed him to hit the plateau of 1,000 for the season, giving the Bills receivers with four digits in back-to-back years for the first time since 2011-12 (both Steve Johnson with John Brown accomplishing the feat last season). Buffalo (9-3) also maintains a one-game lead on Miami for the modern AFC East division lead.

ESM is ready to hand out game balls in the aftermath of a memorable victory…

3rd Star: TE Dawson Knox

4 receptions, 27 yards, 1 TD

I’m Dawson Knox, and this is a 10-point swing.

Knox tied his career-best with four receptions, none more important than a four-yard touchdown reception that gave Buffalo the lead for good. The second-year tight end has now scored touchdowns in back-to-back contests and is turning into a reliable red zone option. It’s perhaps a play that will only gain recognition and accolades in the Bills’ film room this week, but Knox would also come up big on another Buffalo scoring quest. Late in the first half, Knox stepped in front of quarterback hunter Dion Jordan as Allen rolled out to his right. It bought Allen enough time to find Beasley for a 20-yard gain that set the Bills up in San Francisco territory. Two plays later, Tyler Bass booted a 37-yard field goal that created a two-possession lead going into the halftime break.

2nd Star: WR Cole Beasley

9 receptions, 130 yards, 1 TD

Jon Feliciano may have rocked Beasley to sleep during first half action on Sunday, but the veteran was anything but sleepy on Sunday. Beasley continues to take on a larger role in the Buffalo offense, enjoying a career-night through mostly early endeavors in the first half. He has been one of the biggest contributors to the Bills’ division title trek, having reached triple digits in four games this season (yet another career-best), including three of the past six. His time couldn’t be much better, as his personal rise has coincided with John Brown being forced to miss some time with an injury.

1st Star: QB Josh Allen

32-of-40, 375 yards, 4 TD

The Bills’ ongoing national tour…they’ll host their first Sunday night game since 2007 next week against Pittsburgh (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)…is a chance to prove themselves to the NFL at-large. Their roaster features several parties trying to make their professional cases on a wider scale, perhaps none more prominent than Allen, who, despite nearly every analyst suggesting the contrary, is proving himself as one of the most reliable franchise quarterbacks in the league.

Allen certainly got off to a good start in that endeavor, joining Jim Kelly as the only Buffalo representative to throw four touchdowns in a Monday night game and misfiring on only four of his passes. The journey will get a little more difficult next week against what’s sure to be a furious Steelers defense, but it’s one he seems well-equipped for. His name may not be as attractive as that of Patrick Mahomes, but MVP talk might be part of the holiday conversation in Western New York.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Is Bellator making a mistake passing on Yoel Romero?

Just a couple of days ago, we found out Yoel Romero was released by the UFC. Immediately afterwards, fans were wondering if Bellator would be the place that Romero would call home after his shocking release.

The news really came out of no where. Yoel Romero last fought in February for the UFC middleweight title. Romero was ranked fifth in the promotion’s rankings and he was scheduled to fight in August before he had to pull out.

The UFC is making financial cuts and Romero was an asset they could live without. Bellator is arguably the second biggest MMA promotion in the world. Romero is still a top guy so it would make logical sense for Romero to end up with a promotion like Bellator.

However, today we learned some interesting news. Sources told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that Bellator was not interested in signing the former four-time UFC middleweight title challenger. Bellator seems comfortable not going after Romero.

This made me scratch my head a little bit. I understand that Bellator doesn’t want to be considered as the place for UFC rejects, but Yoel Romero is still one of the best fighters in the world. He would have been a great fit with Bellator.

Bellator’s mistake?

Let me preface this section by saying that of course things could change. Maybe Bellator has a change of heart and they decide to go after The Soldier of God. However, let’s say for the sake of argument that they hold firm and pass.

Is it a mistake for Bellator to pass on Yoel Romero. Yes, it’s a massive mistake for them to pass on Romero. They are thinking of this all wrong. I hate to break it to Scott Coker, but Bellator will never be the UFC. They just won’t ever reach that level.

That being said, Bellator is now becoming a promotion that will shun fighters if they are cut from the UFC. The reason is because they don’t want to risk a guy like Romero coming in and winning the middleweight championship after failing to win in the UFC.

They could then see the MMA world going, “You see, Bellator’s best are just the UFC’s rejects.” However, Yoel Romero shouldn’t be considered anyone’s reject. Yes, he was released by the UFC, but he’s still one of the very best in the world.

If Bellator were to sign Romero, they could build a huge event around Romero fighting Gegard Mousasi for the middleweight title. I think by passing on Romero they are focusing too much on their reputation and not enough on fight making. A mistake in my opinion.

PFL’s Kayla Harrison to fight Jozette Cotton at Titan FC 66

MMA, PFL

Arguably the brightest star in PFL is taking her second fight away from the promotion. ESPN first reported this evening that lightweight champion, Kayla Harrison (8-0), will be taking on Jozette Cotton (8-2) on December 17th.

The fight will take place under the Titan FC banner. As mentioned this is the second fight for the PFL lightweight champion outside of the organization. As many know, PFL didn’t host any events after the pandemic hit this year.

However, they are planning on a 2021 return. In the meantime, they have allowed some of their fighters to take fights outside of the organization. The only condition is that they couldn’t fight inside the big promotions like the UFC or Bellator.

Instead, if PFL fighters wanted to remain active, they had to fight at smaller venues. Likely PFL is trying to protect their investments with this move. Harrison recently fought on an Invicta card last month. 

The PFL champion brutalized Courtney King and finished her in the second round of their fight. It was the first fight of 2020 for the PFL champion and former Olympic Gold Medalist. It’s obvious now that Harrison was desparate to get one more fight in before the year is up.

PFL’s champ accepting a rematch

This is actually going to be a rematch for Kayla Harrison. Harrison and Cotton both faced off in PFL just a little over two years ago. That fight was actually the last time that Cotton stepped into the cage.

Cotton has spent her fighting career fighting in the smaller shows. She does have one victory in Bellator and she has the one appearance in PFL which came against the lightweight champion.

When these two ladies first faced off, Harrison was able to pickup the win by third round TKO. Harrison is expected to be a massive favorite and the result will likely be the same for Cotton.

I’m fully expecting Harrison to completely run through Cotton. It is worth noting that this fight is taking place at lightweight. Harrison recently fought at 145 pounds and made the weight with relative ease.

It seems like the long-term career play for the PFL champion will be to fight at featherweight. However, just to get another fight in, the lightweight champion will fight at her traditional weight class on December 17th.

New York Giants getting everything and more out of 2020 rookie class

New York Giants, Tae Crowder

The New York Giants are on a four-game winning streak. This is the longest winning streak the Giants have been on since 2016. New York is also in first place in the NFC East after beating a tough 8-3 Seahawks team on the road this Sunday. The Giants look poised to make a playoff run this season, proving their legitimacy while beating one of the best offenses in the NFL in Seattle.

One of the biggest difference-makers on the Giants this season has been their 2020 rookie class. New York has seen early returns on nearly every single rookie they drafted or signed this offseason. These rookies have been crucial to the Giants’ success in recent weeks.

Rookies on offense

On the offensive line, the Giants have been seeing their young, inexperienced players improve every single week. Andrew Thomas had the best performance of his young career so far this week against Seattle. For the second week in a row, Thomas did not allow a single pressure in pass protection. He also recorded the highest single-game Pro Football Focus grade of his career at 87.1 overall. Not only was this his highest-graded single game this year, but it was also the highest single-game grade among all first-round offensive tackle picks this season (PFF).

Right beside Andrew Thomas is Shane Lemieux, the Giants’ fifth-round pick from Oregon who has been starting at left guard for the past few weeks. The entire offensive line has played significantly better since Lemieux entered the lineup. Lemieux has had his fair share of ups and downs, but he has been very impressive when considering where he was drafted. Lemieux has also been improving week-by-week and looks like he will be with Big Blue for a long time.

In addition to the two rookies on the offensive line, Nick Gates has gotten better every week playing a brand new position. Initially, a guard, then a tackle, Nick Gates has transitioned to the center position and played at a high level in recent weeks after some great struggles early in the season. Gates is basically a rookie as he is learning and playing a brand new position this year. He has shown tremendous progress, though, and is already locked into a contract extension that should keep him as the Giants’ starting center for years to come.

Undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Austin Mack also has a game this season as the Giants’ leading receiver. The Giants’ other rookie offensive tackle, Matt Peart (selected 99th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft), has not elevated to starting status yet. However, he has seen playing time while rotating in at both left and right tackle this season. He has been super impressive whenever he is on the field and could play his way into a starting role sooner than later.

Rookies on defense

The defensive side of the ball is where the Giants have really seen their rookies contribute this year. New York has been starting rookies at multiple defensive positions this year. Darnay Holmes, New York’s fourth-round selection out of UCLA, has started at slot cornerback all season long. Holmes has, like the rest, improved every single week. He certainly has not been a liability like the slot cornerback position has been for the Giants in the past. Holmes had his first career interception against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks this week. A promising future seems to be laid out for Darnay Holmes and the Giants’ defense.

The second half of the Giants’ 2020 NFL Draft class was filled with defensive selections. New York drafted the likes of Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin, and Tae Crowder in the sixth and seventh rounds. Whether earned through merit or obtained through injuries, these rookies have all seen significant playing time in the Giants’ defense.

Tae Crowder, Mr. Irrelevant from the 2020 NFL Draft, has been starting on the Giants’ defense this year when healthy. Crowder has been so impressive for a player who nearly went undrafted. Crowder recorded a clutch sack against the Seahawks this week and recorded a game-winning scoop-and-score fumble recovery against Washington earlier this season. He has exceeded all expectations as a starting inside linebacker for the Giants this year.

Crowder was one pick away from going undrafted. When speaking of undrafted rookies, it is hard not to talk about Niko Lalos, the Giants’ undrafted gem out of Dartmouth. Lalos was elevated to the Giants’ active roster last week before their matchup with the Bengals. In his first NFL game, Lalos recorded an interception and earned more playing time this week. Of course, the Ivy League animal went ahead and recovered a fumble this week against Seattle. This undrafted rookie has been forcing turnovers left and right.

Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin were two under-the-radar linebackers that the Giants found late in the 2020 NFL Draft. Coughlin has seen increased playing time with EDGE Kyler Fackrell recently placed on injured reserve. Coughlin has played 79 defensive snaps this season, already totaling 6 combined tackles, 1 sack, 8 total pressures, and 6 hurries. Cam Brown has played 48 snaps, recording 5 pressures 3 hurries, and 8 combined tackles already.

Second-round pick Xavier McKinney has yet to see expanded playing time after returning from a fractured foot, but he is sure to be part of New York’s long-term defensive plans as well.

The Giants have seen early returns on nearly every rookie they drafted or signed this offseason. It was a job fantastically done by Dave Gettleman, Joe Judge, and company, acquiring young, talented players this offseason. The future is bright in the Big Apple.

New York Giants rookie offensive tackle Andrew Thomas makes PFF Team of the Week

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants just earned a clutch win over the Seahawks in Seattle to improve their winning streak to four games. The Giants had a phenomenal outing defensively, holding Seattle to only 12 total points in the contest. But on the other side of the ball, the Giants’ offense got going on the ground while struggling to gain yardage through the air with backup quarterback Colt McCoy.

Despite the Giants’ struggles to pass the ball, gaining only 105 passing yards, the offensive line did an excellent job keeping their backup quarterback upright. McCoy was sacked only twice, losing a total of only five yards. McCoy was rarely under pressure, especially from his blindside as rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas had a stellar performance on sunday.

The key to the Giants’ offensive success son Sunday was the offensive line. New York’s lead blockers helped the Giants gain a total of 190 rushing yards. The Giants found great success running behind Andrew Thomas and the left side of the offensive line. Wayne Gallman had 10 rushing attempts to the left side, gaining 102 rushing yards on runs to the left.

Andrew Thomas had such an excellent performance this week that he was honored with a spot on Pro Football Focus’s Week 13 Team of the Week.

Andrew Thomas in Week 13

According to Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus, “Thomas has looked like a completely different player the past few weeks,” which has been “huge for the Giants.” Thomas was selected as the Week 13 PFF Team of the Week left tackle after an incredible performance against Washington.

Andrew Thomas put together 86.7 pass-block and 84.3 run-block grades against Seattle, earning him a spot on Pro Football Focus’s Week 13 Team of the Week. Thomas’s 87.1 overall grade is the highest single-game grade among the first-round offensive tackle picks this season.

Thomas has not allowed any quarterback pressures in the last two weeks. He has been excellent for the Giants in both pass protection and run-blocking in recent weeks. The Giants are finally seeing their fourth-overall pick from the 2020 NFL Draft perform like a top offensive tackle talent and their offense is thriving because of him.

Yankees Winter Meetings News: DJ LeMahieu wont’ budge on contract, Cashman running out of time?

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

With the virtual winter meetings underway, the New York Yankees are reportedly prioritizing the retention of star infielder DJ LeMahieu. Of course, his contract negotiations will be the headlines until he signs a new deal, but there is a snag in the process as LeMahieu desires a five-year contract and the Yankees only want to offer him four.

Per Dan Federico, it is clear that both sides want to come to an agreement, but LeMahieu wants an excessively long deal worth $20+ million per season, and the Yankees are only hovering at four for now.

What will the conclusion be? Likely that the Yankees fold and meet at five years, paying a little bit less than DJ would have liked, but a compromise is better than nothing. He wants to settle in the Bronx long term, and it is clear based on his interactions with Aaron Judge and the remainder of the team this off-season. In fact, he even stated that his desire is to stay in pinstripes for a long time, and the Yankees simply can’t afford to lose his services based on his production the past two seasons.

When he signed with the Yankees in 2019 on a two-year, $24 million deal, the Yankees didn’t expect to be getting exponential value. He was always a quality player and above-average fielder, but DJ was always considered an offensive stud due to the stadium in Colorado.

He carried over his success and more to the Yankees, finishing the 2019 season with a .327 batting average, 26 homers, and 102 RBIs. He set multiple career records, mainly in the offensive production category. This past season, he finished with a .364 average, 10 homers, and 27 RBIs. He earned a career-low 9.7% strikeout rate and his best walk right at 8.3% since 2017.

Overall, the Yankees simply can’t afford to lose him unless they are willing to trade for a star shortstop Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians. There are alternatives, but they know what they are getting in LeMahieu, even if the contract is a little bit longer than they would’ve hoped. Realistically, there’s no way the deal ends up as bad as Giancarlo Stanton’s, considering he can’t even play defense anymore and is still on the hook for another seven years.

New York Knicks: Thibodeau hopes to cure Robinson’s foul woes

New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson

New York Knicks‘ third-year center Mitchell Robinson is at a crossroads of his young career.

The 22-year old Robinson, a second-round steal in the 2018 NBA Draft, is now eligible for a contract extension. This year, he’s scheduled to make only $1.6 million. His performance this season would dictate how lucrative his next contract can be.

Robinson is looking forward to a big year after spending much of his first two seasons constantly battling foul troubles on the court and instability in both the organization and his career management.

His propensity for committing ticky-tacky fouls that saw him averaged 3.3 and 3.2 fouls per game in each of his first two seasons while playing under two coaches — David Fizdale and Mike Miller — kept him from getting more than 22 minutes a night. Also, in that span, he’s switched agents five times.

Looking for stability

Now on his third coach in Tom Thibodeau and sixth agency in the Wasserman Group, Robinson hopes he finally found the perfect pair that will stabilize his promising career.

Robinson dodged questions about his latest agent switch, but he admitted it was a learning process to find the right one.

“It was just like personal stuff,” Robinson said on his zoom call with reporters Monday. “I don’t really want to get into that. But it was just personal. I just felt like I needed something different.”

He insisted he’s not thinking about his next contract, and his singular focus is to earn a role in the team and play the game that he loves.

“Not really, I’m just going to play,” Robinson said. “All this quarantine stuff, it’s aggravating. I just want to get out and play. I really haven’t thought about the contract stuff. When the time comes, it comes.”

But earning a significant time to play and perhaps a big payday will hinge on his commitment to stay disciplined.

The Knicks were 8-17 when Robinson had committed at least four fouls last season. In 66 games, he’s breached the 30-minute barrier only six times.

Thibodeau hopes he has the cure for Robinson’s foul woes.

“I think that’s been the emphasis in the training camp obviously for the first couple of days. We start with the fundamentals and build up to the team schemes, but there’s a lot of great instincts that he [Robinson] has. His ability to protect the rim is elite. So obviously, keeping him on the floor, getting him to play with a little more technique, I think he can be more disruptive. But he has a very big upside defensively,” Thibodeau said on a separate zoom call.

Back to the future

A glimpse of that big upside was very evident when the Knicks won four of their last six games, including a two-point victory over playoff-bound Houston Rockets before the global pandemic shut the league down.

Robinson started that stretch with his season-high 23-point double-double performance in a home win against the Chicago Bulls on February 29 and bookended it with a 16-point game on a perfect 7-7 shooting from the field in their March 11 win against the Atlanta Hawks.

During that six-game span, Robinson averaged 14.3 points on an insane 78.7 percent shooting from the field, 7.8 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and only turned the ball over just once.

What made him so effective in that stretch was that he never reached the fourth foul in all those games.

If Robinson is at his best, the Knicks can compete with the elite.

Weighty matter

During the long break, Robison said he’s put on additional weight as he reported to the training camp with a beefy 250-lb frame, 10 lbs. more than last season.

“I think it will help me a lot. For me, adding a little weight will definitely help me out stay on the floor a little more than normal. Now I can kind of maintain my [defensive stance] on guys,” Robinson said.

There’s an inkling that the 7-foot center will thrive and find stability under Thibodeau, who demands accountability. Robinson’s game is tailor-fit to Thibodeau’s style.

“Basically like, Tom is more of a defensive-type style of coach. We really don’t do much offense. From what I see, if he gets stops, those stops will turn buckets for you and your team. I feel like he’s mainly focused on the defensive end more than the offense, but he’s just more technical on the defensive end,” Robinson said.

Expanding his game

The Louisiana native has also worked on his shooting, with several videos of him pulling from beyond the arc made the rounds on social media.

Thibodeau, who said one of their game plans this season is to generate more corner threes, has welcomed that effort from the Robinson.

“The thing about Mitch is we’re in a day and age where you want guys to be all-around players. You want them to have the ability to make plays off the dribble. Put him on the floor make plays in the post. Obviously, the way he finishes around the basket is special and unique, and that’s his strength and will always be his strength. But I would never want to put a limit to what he can become,” Thibodeau said.

“We’ve seen throughout the league where guys that historically have been inside players and moved out to the perimeter and usually you start with the corner three. If we can get to the point where he is comfortable with his free throws and then extend out beyond that, so be it. That’s something that we do want him to work out.”

Robinson has been a 58-percent free-throw shooter, and he hasn’t attempted a three-pointer in his career.

Play with his strengths

While Robinson is in the process of expanding his offensive game, Thibodeau wants him to continue to take advantage of his strengths. And so far, Thibodeau has seen encouraging signs from Robinson, who will compete with veteran Nerlens Noel for the starting center spot.

“But also, we want him to play with his strengths and cover up whatever weaknesses he may have. And the big thing is every day, he comes in and tries to get better. Hopefully, he’ll do that throughout the course of the year. If he’s willing to work and make the commitment, there’s no telling what he can do,” Thibodeau said.

Which road will Robinson choose to take?

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Yankee News: Tomoyuki Sugano will be posted tomorrow December 8th, could the Yankees pounce?

Tomoyuki Sugano, New York Yankees

Tomoyuki Sugano, arguably the best pitcher in Japan, will be posted tomorrow, December 8th, and become available to the New York Yankees and other major league teams. Teams will have until January 7th to sign him. The New York Yankees have some tough decisions to be made during this offseason. The decisions will be mostly with what to do with their pitching rotation headed by Gerrit Cole, but there are no definites beyond that.

There may be some relief for the Yankees as Luis Severino is expected back before the All-Star break, returning from Tommy John surgery. If the Yankees decide to take back their 2019 most winningest pitcher Domingo German who was suspended for the 2020 season, They will have Cole, Montgomery, German, and at some point Luis Severino. But that still leaves a position or two to fill. One of those may be filled by Deivi Garcia.

The Yankees will most likely need another starting arm. But after a season of no money caused by the coronavirus, it’s hard to tell if the Yankees will penny-pinch or spend a modest amount to bolster the starting lineup.

The New York Yankees since the 1990s have had an interest in players that played well for Japanese teams. Hideki Irabu, Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui, Kei Igawa, Hiroki Kuroda, Ryota Igarashi, and Masahiro Tanaka. Now they could be looking at Tomoyuki Sugano to solve their pitching rotation.

Now that the Japanese season is complete, his record is 14-2 with an ERA of 1.97. For his career, he is 104-52 with an ERA of 2.34. The 31-year-old righty is 6′ 1″ and weighs 210 pounds. He a three-quarters delivery, Sugano throws two fastballs (four-seam and sinker sitting at 90-93 mph, a solid slider, a curveball, and a forkball. He is known for his excellent command, posting a BB/9 of 1.8 in his Japanese career.

Sugano has a solid ability to generate weak contact, holding opposing hitters to a 55% ground ball rate. To top it off, he can help himself out with the glove once the pitch is released. His pitching style makes him a good fit for the Yankee Stadium short porch.

Major League scouts have said that Sugano would make a solid number three starter in the Major Leagues. A posted player has a month-long window to reach an agreement with an MLB team from the date of posting, and his Japanese team receives a fee at a percentage of his contract if he signs with a major league team.

There is a change in the situation, considering that the free-agent season will be penny-pinched by most teams; Sugano could wait until next season to make his move to the Major Leagues; nevertheless, he will be posted tomorrow. It is anyone’s guess if any team will immediately pounce, being that this is the week of the Winter Meetings.

Could Tyron Woodley be on the UFC chopping block?

UFC, Tyrone Woodley

This past weekend UFC fans were shocked to see the news that Yoel Romero had been cut by the promotion. One of the best middleweights in the world who’s last appearance inside the octagon was for the UFC middleweight title.

Romero was the fifth ranked middleweight in the UFC. Dana White was asked about the decision to release Romero after UFC Vegas 16. White made the announcement that the promotion was going to be going through some serious cuts.

White said that the UFC would be releasing up to 60 fighters between now and the end of the year. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported that the number could be as high as 80 fighters getting released by the promotion.

White also said that Romero wouldn’t be the last big name to go. There would be some other recognizable names that the promotion would move on from. That got me thinking about potential UFC cut candidates.

I started looking up and down the rankings for all of the divisions. There was one name that immediately jumped out at me as a potential option to be cut. That would be the former UFC welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley (19-6-1).

Could the UFC cut the former champ?

I honestly never thought I would be writing about the possibility of Tyron Woodley getting cut, but here we are. I should preface this by saying that I have no insider knowledge on this and this is purely speculation at this point.

So, why do I think the former UFC champion could be on the chopping block? Well, for starters, Woodley makes a lot of money when he fights. It’s clear that the UFC is going to be trimming the fat which means high earning fighters who are not apart of the future.

Being a former 5x champion, Woodley earns a lot when he steps into the cage. Woodley’s resume earned him the money that he receives. However, his last three performances have been horrendous.

Against Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns, and Kamaru Usman, Woodley hasn’t even won a round. He’s been completely dominated in all three of his last UFC fights. He’s looked like a shell of his former self inside the octagon.

Woodley has other avenues for making money outside the UFC and it’s been questioned on if he’s truly focused on fighting. Another thing about Woodley is the fact that he’s turning 39 in April.

White even made comments suggesting he think about hanging it up after the Covington fight. All of this and it’s not like Woodley and the UFC have had a great working relationship. Dana White has had negative comments multiple times regarding Woodley.

Mix all of that together and you have a prime candidate for a UFC cut. However, I don’t think Woodley should be cut from the UFC. This article is completely going off of the assumption that more big names are going. Don’t be shocked if you see Woodley exit the promotion.