Frank Mir, Michael Bisping and the UFC's Top Title Pretenders by Division
The UFC has a number of fighters that claim they are the No. 1 contender for their respective division's championship belt. Some of these claims are legitimate, while others are highly questionable.
Others look like they are threats to the championship belt, but really are just pretenders. These are fighters who have been winning fights, but in reality are pretenders to win the belt.
Let's take a look at each division's top pretender.
Bantamweight: Scott Jorgensen
Scott Jorgensen has had a bantamweight title shot in WEC—a fight in which he was completely outclassed by Dominick Cruz. To his credit, he gutted out that fight despite never gaining momentum.
When the big fight comes, Jorgensen falters. Jorgensen is definitely a top bantamweight competitor, but he is a pretender to the title.
He lost to Cruz and most recently lost a top contender's bout against Renan Barao, where he was unable to win a single round.
Jorgensen will be a top-10 bantamweight for a long time, but will most likely never be the top dog.
Featherweight: Chan Sung Jung
Chan Sung Jung finds himself in a No. 1 contender's bout in his next fight against Dustin Poirier, but at this point in his career, Jung is a pretender.
Jung is 2-2 in his Zuffa career. He has lost to Leonard Garcia and George Roop, while defeating Leonard Garcia and Mark Hominick.
His submission of Garcia was impressive, as it was the first twister in UFC history. But like the "Showtime Kick," it has given Jung more hype than is deserved.
He then quickly beat an uncharacteristically overaggressive Mark Hominick. That win suddenly made him a top featherweight in the world.
Jung will always be my favorite, but at this point, he is not much of a threat to Jose Aldo's crown.
Lightweight: Melvin Guillard
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No matter how much momentum and title hype Melvin Guillard gets, he is, has been and always will be the lightweight division's greatest pretender.
Guillard picks up a couple solid wins at a time, before he is easily defeated by a fighter with half a ground game. Guillard is able to get close to title fights because of his fan-friendly style and large personality.
Guillard will continue to be a pretender but will still have a job in the UFC for a long time to come.
Welterweight: Martin Kampmann
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I will always be a fan of Martin Kampmann, but he is a long way from being the king of the division.
Kampmann beats a lot of tough opponents, but struggles against the cream of the crop.
Throw out that joke of a loss to Diego Sanchez and look at some of his other recent fights. He has beaten the overrated Rick Story, he lost to Jake Shields and had a comeback victory on a mental lapse by Thiago Alves.
Kampmann is a strong competitor, but he will always struggle against the best, despite how close he is to a title shot.
Middleweight: Michael Bisping
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This pick is definitely going to get me in the bad graces of the born-again Bisping fans.
Michael Bisping is currently at the top of the middleweight division, but I find him no threat. He is very technical as a striker, but has pillows for hands. He has a solid ground game, but will be beaten by wrestlers.
A lot of fans think he is a top contender because he hung in with a flat Chael Sonnen, but in reality, Bisping needs to beat a top middleweight before being considered for a title shot.
I would like to see how he fares against Vitor Belfort, who is currently caught up coaching The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.
Light Heavyweight: Alexander Gustafsson
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Alexander Gustafsson has great hype around him for good reason. He has beaten some tough guys who are tough to finish. But, in my opinion, he has not really beaten a top-10 opponent.
Gustafsson is good submission fighter with great striking. He has a very serious fight coming up in Sweden against a very scary opponent in Thiago Silva. If he can win this fight, I am sure he can hang with the top of the division.
We'll wait until then, but for now I believe he is a pretender in the light heavyweight division.
Heavyweight: Frank Mir
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I am an avid Frank Mir fan, but I am also a realist. Frank Mir has impressed lately, especially in his comeback submission win over Minotauro Nogueira. Mir is a savvy submission specialist with underrated striking.
Mir finds himself in a No. 1 contender's bout against Cain Velasquez at UFC 146, but I believe Mir's aspiration of winning back the UFC title is going to be a tough reality. That reality is that it probably won't happen again.
Hopefully he can prove me wrong, but for now he is the heavyweight division's biggest pretender.