I have been saying this for quite some time now, but I will gladly say it again with conviction:
The best fighters in the world fight under the UFC banner, period.
At UFC 149, fight fans saw the Octagon debut of Hector Lombard, an insurmountable mountain of a man, a powerful and devastating knockout machine, a wondrous fighter with fists of steel!
Oh, wait, he is actually none of that? He's just a 5'8" middleweight who can throw a hard punch?
To say Lombard's UFC debut was disappointing is an understatement; he looked absolutely atrocious against Tim Boetsch.
This performance not only raised questions about Lombard as an elite middleweight, it certainly makes one wonder how legitimate the smaller organizations are as a breeding grounds for fighters.
If Lombard could look so good in Bellator but then flop immediately in the UFC, how good is Bellator, anyway?
Well, I am here to tell you that, even though I believe wholeheartedly in the strength of the UFC's roster, there are still great fighters that have yet to sign with the MMA's premier organization.
Is the UFC the only place to find elite fighters?
Obvious fighters to point at are guys like Gilbert Melendez, Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett, three Strikeforce fighters who could fit right in their respective divisions in the UFC.
Outside of them, there is Bellator's Pat Curran, Michael Chandler and Ben Askren, three dominant fighters who rule the featherweight, lightweight and welterweight roost, respectively.
Both Curran and Chandler have shown a diverse skill set that makes them dangerous wherever a fight goes, and they have thoroughly outclassed their opponents inside the Bellator cage.
Askren, on the other hand, is a decision machine, capable of grounding almost any fighter in a grappling battle. While this is not the most exciting style, "lay n' pray" works, and it has worked in the Octagon before and could certainly work again.
What I am saying is that, while Lombard certainly did not put in a good performance for the smaller organizations, it was, after all, just one fight. Maybe he is actually better than he looked against Boetsch. Maybe the UFC jitters got to him.
One cannot make such a broad generalization based on this performance, though, so let us refrain from doing so and give organizations like Bellator and Strikeforce the benefit of the doubt for just a while longer.
Even if Melendez, Cormier, Curran and Askren all migrate to the UFC and flop like Lombard, my argument still has a trump card:
I guarantee you the women outside the UFC are better than the ones inside the Octagon.
Good night, everybody.
If you are a fan of fighting, music or general absurdity, follow me on Twitter @HunterAHomistek.