Each UFC Champion's Weakness and the Fighter That Can Exploit It
At this stage in the game, most of the UFC champions are dominating their divisions. Most of the champs have proven that they are the best in the respective divisions by fending off their challengers.
Currently, the UFC champions are Dominick Cruz, Jose Aldo, Ben Henderson, Carlos Condit (in the interim), Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and Junior dos Santos. These men all have weaknesses that have yet to be exploited—but eventually can be by the right fighter.
Here is one flaw that each UFC champion has that can be exploited, plus the ideal fighter to knock off the champ.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Dominick Cruz has only one slip-up in his career, submitting to rival Urijah Faber early in his endeavors. There is not much wrong with Cruz's game (excluding lack of knockout power), but the weakness that can be exploited on Cruz is his lack of finishing.
Enter any wrestler with solid stand-up (i.e. Faber). Seeing as Cruz lacks the finishing touch, anybody that can use aggressiveness for the entirety of the fight has a good chance of beating Cruz. Faber was close in his latest fight with Cruz, showing Cruz is beatable.
So, although it is not technically a "weakness," Cruz's lack of finishing prowess could be exploited for a win in the future for his opponent.
Ideal fighter to knock off Cruz: Urijah Faber
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Jose Aldo has dominated every man put in front of him so far, as he is a lethal striker with a brutal top game. If somebody solves the puzzle, then kudos to them.
With Aldo, it may be a matter of fighting fire with fire. There aren't many that are better at striking than Aldo, but I think the key to beating him is beating him at his own game.
A striker with halfway decent takedown defense may be able to legitimately challenge Aldo. Many people are going to say that a wrestler can exploit Aldo, but he has a long list of victims with that background (Mike Brown, Urijah Faber and Chad Mendes).
Enter a guy who is an elite striker like Aldo himself. It could spell the end for "Scarface."
Ideal fighter to knock off Aldo: Frankie Edgar (should he eventually drop to featherweight)
If there is one thing I took from Ben Henderson's fight with Anthony Pettis, it was that Henderson will struggle against kickboxers. Now, people will point to his wins over Donald Cerrone as me being wrong, but that was a time before Cerrone improved to the well-oiled machine he is today.
Since coming to the UFC, Henderson has beat four legitimate lightweights. The problem is, they all had similar styles. Mark Bocek, Jim Miller, Clay Guida and Frankie Edgar are all wrestlers and submission fighters. Edgar has great boxing, but it is not a diverse enough attack to keep Henderson guessing (I guess we will see at UFC 150).
I am a believer that Henderson is legit now as champion, but that's not to say he can't be beat. A kickboxer, especially if they are a larger lightweight, would fare better against Henderson, provided they could handle his takedowns.
Ideal fighter to knock off Henderson: Anthony Pettis
Georges St. Pierre and Carlos Condit
Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images
Georges St. Pierre is on the shelf right now, so I will be brief with him.
When St. Pierre comes back from injury, I still don't think anybody will be able to dethrone him. He has the best wrestling, some of the best striking (believe it or not) and conditioning for days.
If there is one weakness an opponent will need to exploit on his return, it is his knee. Leg kicks aimed at that leg and takedowns could be the key to dethroning the king.
Ideal fighter to knock off St. Pierre: Carlos Condit
As for the interim champion, Carlos Condit is also very well-rounded. If there is a man who is going to beat Condit, it's a fighter with ground-and-pound and great takedowns.
Condit is so aggressive because he is comfortable fighting off his back. Should a heavy wrestler take Condit down and batter him with strikes, he could be in danger of passing on the title.
Ideal fighter to knock off Condit: Jake Ellenberger
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Although Anderson Silva is the best fighter on the planet, everybody knows his weakness that can be exploited. That weakness, of course, is wrestling.
The first man to ever show this chink in the armor was Dan Henderson, even though he was defeated in Round 2. Next up was Chael Sonnen, who won four-plus rounds against Silva before getting caught in the most famous triangle choke of all time.
In Silva's UFC title defenses, Silva has rarely fought power wrestlers. When he has faced them, he has actually faced some adversity. UFC 148 will be telling, as he takes on archrival Chael Sonnen, possibly the best wrestler in the division.
Ideal fighter to knock off Silva: Chael Sonnen
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Jon Jones is on a path of destruction which could lead to him being the best fighter of all time. He has already knocked off the best fighters in the light heavyweight division at the age of 24.
Jones is a devastating striker, an underrated submission artist and world-class wrestler. His chin has been somewhat tested, but I think the key to beating Jones is one-punch knockout power.
I wouldn't say that his chin is his weakness, but his weakest strength. His next opponent may be his toughest opponent to date, as Dan Henderson has the best one-punch knockout power in MMA.
Ideal fighter to knock off Jones: Dan Henderson
Junior Dos Santos
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Junior dos Santos has it all—crisp, technical boxing; knockout power; a BJJ brown belt; good takedown defense and great training partners.
I have always said that dos Santos' biggest weakness would be exploited by a power wrestler. That's why I always wanted to see him throw down against Brock Lesnar.
He has great takedown defense, but the only opponent he's faced with credible takedown ability is Shane Carwin. Should he face a top wrestler in the division, he could be tested and beaten.
Ideal fighter to knock off dos Santos: Brock Lesnar (I know he isn't in the UFC, but if he were..)