UFC Winners and Losers for the Month of June

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2012

UFC Winners and Losers for the Month of June

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    The UFC showcases a variety of events on a monthly basis.

    From free cards on FX to international PPV events from Brazil, fans have grown accustomed to watching their favorite athletes perform on a variety of stages.

    But for a handful of fighters, ones whose future is often judged by what they've done lately, a single fight could decide their definitive rank within the UFC's many divisions.

    Based on wins and losses, knockouts, submissions and the caliber of competition, here are the overall winners and losers for the month of June.

Winner: Demetrious Johnson

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    In a rematch against Ian McCall to determine the definitive flyweight championship contender, Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson unanimously captured glory.

    For Johnson, a guy many people believe to be the best all-around flyweight fighter in the world, knocking off McCall has solidified his spot among the UFC's best.

    If the speedy Johnson is able to beat Joseph Benavidez in the flyweight tournament final sometime later this year, his stock will continue to rise.

Loser: Mike Russow

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    With heavy hands and mass experience, heavyweight Mike Russow was supposed to give top contender Fabricio Werdum a run for his money.

    But in front of a sold-out Brazilian crowd, hometown favorite Werdum didn't let Russow catch his breath, knocking the previously undefeated fighter out at the 2:28 mark in the first round.

    For Russow, the loss is devastating.  He needed a worthwhile victory over a top guy like Werdum to prove his worth within a growing division.

    But after coming back to America with a decisive loss, the 35-year-old police officer is no longer a relevant chess piece in the heavyweight title scene.

Winner: Rich Franklin

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    Before UFC 147 in Brazil, Rich Franklin hadn't fought in the UFC for nearly 17 months.

    But after a recent injury prohibited Vitor Belfort from competing against fellow countryman Wanderlei Silva, Franklin stepped in to take on "The Axe Murderer" in front of a hostile Brazilian crowd.

    And after five brutal rounds, marking yet another installment in the Franklin vs. Silva series, the comeback kid once again proved his worth in the UFC's middleweight division (albeit this fight being at 190 pounds).

    For Franklin, the win couldn't come at a better time.  He seems healthy, extremely driven and ready to step in and fight the winner of Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen II, assuming the UFC doesn't give newcomer Hector Lombard first dibs.

Loser: Jonathan Brookins

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    Jonathan Brookins hasn't been all that good since winning the 12th season of The Ultimate Fighter.

    His three fights since then simply haven't ended well, going 1-2 with a submission loss in June to top prospect Charles Oliveira at the TUF 15 Finale.

    With his recent lack of success, it's becoming more evident that Brookins may not be the talented striker we thought he was.

Winner: Michael Chiesa

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    Since we're on the topic of The Ultimate Fighter winners, it's only natural that we mention Michael Chiesa's rise to stardom.

    After knocking off Team Faber teammate Al Iaquinta to capture TUF glory, Chiesa received the six-figure UFC contract he most definitely deserved.

    It will be interesting to see how he stacks up against more complete lightweights, but for now, the submission expert has come out of June as a glorified winner.

    Too bad he shaved his beard.  That's a true loss.

Loser: Jake Ellenberger

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    With consecutive victories over Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez, Jake Ellenberger seemed like the best bet to contend for a UFC welterweight title in 2012.

    But following a nasty TKO loss to Martin Kampmann at the TUF 15 Finale, a fight Ellenberger had been winning, the power wrestler's UFC success has come to a stop.

    Now Ellenberger surely has what it takes to bounce back and fight relevant bouts in the coming years, but with a crowded division around him, as well as titleholder Georges St-Pierre on his way back from injury, the 27-year-old's championship hopes are currently on hold.

Winner: Gray Maynard

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    Gray Maynard was not only a winner in June because he knocked off the wily Clay Guida, but more so because fans started cheering for him.

    It's been hard for Maynard to obtain a relevant fanbase with recent lightweight fights against favored opponents like Frankie Edgar and Guida, but after a nearly sold-out crowd at UFC on FX 4 witnessed Guida run around the ring for 25 minutes, Maynard started to hear some cheers.

    Personally, it was truly something to see. 

    Like a Roman gladiator, Maynard's likability went from obscurity to prevalence in just one fight.

Loser: Josh Neer

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    After securing back-to-back wins to start off his second stint in the UFC, Josh "The Dentist" Neer desperately needed a victory over Mike Pyle at UFC on FX 3 to launch him into contender discussions.

    Unfortunately for Neer, a fighter who's often regarded as a KO specialist, his striking didn't come into play.

    Instead, Pyle, who is known more for his submissions than his power, secured a one-punch KO victory in the first round.

    For Neer, losing to Pyle is not something to take lightly, considering this defeat should significantly drop him down the divisional ladder.

Winner: Eddie Wineland

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    With a decisive KO victory over Scott Jorgensen at UFC on FX 3, Eddie Wineland has once again proven he deserves to be mentioned in contender discussions.

    His striking has never looked better, and his will to bang with any bantamweight makes him a prominent draw every time out.

    In the future, a bout with either Urijah Faber, Renan Barao or Michael McDonald is not out of the question.

    Remember, Wineland's only losses over the last three years have come against Faber and the always formidable Joseph Benavidez.

Loser: Leonard Garcia

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    As one of the biggest fan favorites in the UFC today, it's truly sad to see Leonard Garcia's luck turn sour.

    With four of his last five fights ending in defeat, it wouldn't be surprising to see the UFC let him go.

    His June loss to Matt Grice at UFC on FX 3 may be the straw that finally breaks the camel's back, but fans surely aren't hoping so.

Winner: Martin Kampmann

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    Martin Kampmann has arguably been the UFC's 2012 MVP through the first six months of the year.

    And after securing a June TKO victory over Jake Ellenberger at the TUF 15 Finale, "The Hitman" is currently the hottest fighter in the game.

    His production inside the cage has been near-perfect, translating into a No. 1 contender's bout against Johny Hendricks in November.

    If Kampmann proves victorious, he'll meet the winner of Georges St-Pierre vs. Carlos Condit for the welterweight championship.

    I'd consider June a good month to be Danish.

Loser: Spencer Fisher

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    Spencer Fisher once again fought his ass off against Sam Stout at UFC on FX 4.

    But even though "The King" continues to put on a show inside the cage, his desire to do so has stopped.

    Fisher announced his retirement from the UFC days before his fight with Stout, making their third showdown even more emotional and entertaining.

    But even though their trilogy was a moral gain for fight fans, it's always a loss when a true fighter walks away from the game.

Winner: Cub Swanson

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    Cub Swanson has been absolutely on fire.

    Since being choked out by Ricardo Lamas back in November, the former WEC great has racked off two impressive wins.

    One came against the always-tough George Roop and the other came at UFC on FX 4 against a hungry and highly-touted Ross Pearson.

    At this point, it's fair to consider Swanson's comeback legitimate, making him a candidate to contend for the UFC featherweight title sometime in 2013.

Loser: Hatsu Hioki

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    In many people's eyes, Hatsu Hioki came into his fight against Ricardo Lamas at UFC on FX 4 as the No. 2 featherweight in the world.

    So for a lot of fight fans, Lamas' victory over Hioki was more than surprising.

    If Hioki had won, he would have been on the fast track to a title shot sometime next year, whether against Jose Aldo, Erik Koch or even Chan Sung Jung.

    With the loss, Hioki drops down the featherweight ladder and is no longer a top-5 guy.

    Sad, but true.

Winner: Matt Brown

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    Matt Brown is an absolute gamer.

    Having already secured two victories in 2012, Brown's win over Luis Ramos at UFC on FX 4 in June added on to an already impressive win streak.

    The 31-year-old is quickly showcasing the overall skills that are needed to make a jump in competition.

    It has yet to be seen if the UFC feels that way, but Brown did enough in his last bout to warrant a fight against a Rick Story, Mike Pyle or Charlie Brenneman.

Loser: Ross Pearson

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    Even though Ross Pearson has been as good as any non-title contender in the UFC, you still have to consider his recent June loss to Cub Swanson a true letdown.

    Swanson was definitely Pearson's toughest competitor to date, but that's no excuse for getting knocked out.

    At 27, the British featherweight still has a bright future ahead of him, but a loss is a loss is a loss.

Winner: Justin Lawrence

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    Despite not taking part in The Ultimate Fighter finale, Team Cruz combatant Justin Lawrence still provided fans with a memorable moment at TUF 15.

    His devastating head-kick KO over a tough John Cofer gave fans to get exactly what they wanted.

    Lawrence inside the Octagon.

    That victory, in front of a national audience, was good enough to earn "The American Kid" KO of the Night and Fight of the Night honors.

    Lawrence may have had an up-and-down June, but securing a highlight-reel win in front of millions of UFC fans makes him a true winner.

Loser: Clay Guida

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    What can be said about Clay Guida's performance at UFC on FX 4 that hasn't already been etched into nearly every UFC fan's mind?

    Guida's very essence of competing, which has arguably made him the most popular fighter in the UFC, never showed against a bigger Gray Maynard.

    It may have been part of a grand scheme to score points and not get bloodied up as he usually does, but Guida's unwillingness to strike with Maynard contradicted everything he has worked for.

    In just one night in June, Guida went from being one of the most trustworthy and beloved fighters in the game to a titanic question mark moving forward.

    Hopefully, he can rebound and regain his status within the lightweight division.

Winner: Ricardo Lamas

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    It's about time Ricardo Lamas gets the recognition he deserves.

    Including his June victory over Hatsu Hioki at UFC on FX 4, Lamas has secured wins over Cub Swanson and Matt Grice over the past year.

    That impressive win streak has left Lamas undefeated within one of the UFC's most shallow divisions, which could lead to a serious title run in the near future.

    If his ability to rag-doll Hioki and submit Swanson is any indication of what kind of fighter Lamas really is, then we should be seeing his hand raised more often than not.

Loser: UFC

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    On the grand scale of things, the UFC is always going to win.

    Their product is leaps and bounds beyond any other MMA entity in the world, so nothing can really keep them down.

    But when it comes to pushing their product and giving fans the best fights available, their dying luck has turned the month of June into a death trap.

    Plagued by key injuries to featherweight champion Jose Aldo, Brazilian legend Vitor Belfort and middleweight contenders Michael Bisping and Brian Stann, the UFC has been scrambling to make their monthly events viewable.

    Luckily, guys like Rich Franklin love to fight.

    But for the UFC, these type of injuries, alongside already lengthy suspensions to prominent PPV draws like Alistair Overeem and Nick Diaz, are continuously debilitating their potential for greatness.

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