Dennis Siver vs. Nam Phan: What's Next for Siver
The match was so one-sided that the judges' scorecards read 30-24, 30-25 and 30-26, all in favor of Siver.
The win moved the German to 2-0 at 145-pounds and was convincing enough to suggest he's capable of impacting the UFC's featherweight division at the highest level. Just how high he is able to reach remains to be seen, but what is for sure is that Siver is ready for the opportunity to fight his way into the weight class' top tier.
The opportunity to penetrate the nest level was earned, not just because Siver looked good against Phan, but because he looked good, period.
Siver is massive at featherweight yet demonstrated spectacular cardio for all of 15 minutes against Phan. Granted, he didn't take any of the damage that saps a fighter's endurance, but he did set and maintain a blistering pace the entire match. He also executed his strikes with both precision and speed.
These are all attributes that are not opponent-specific in the slightest.
Siver also showcased improved wrestling and strong grappling, as well as his usual strong standup.
In the case of these latter performance elements, the argument could be made that his UFC on Fox 5 opponent doesn't represent anything near the best that the division has to offer. But it's not like Phan is a pushover, and it's not like we've never seen Siver impress before.
Still, it's time to get confirmation of just how well Siver's skills will translate against the upper echelon of the 145-pound weight class, rather than the just adequate.
When we look at the current landscape of the division, many of the top fighters already have impending obligations. Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, Erik Koch, Ricardo Lamas and Dustin Poirier all have matches scheduled for the near future.
That means immediate options are sparse, but there are a few viable candidates remaining for Siver's next bout.
One option is Cub Swanson, who has strung together three straight knockout wins. The winner of Siver vs. Swanson would produce a possible title contender and the bout would most certainly have some real potential for fireworks.
Alternatively, Charles Oliveira or the winner of Poirier vs. Jonathan Brookins all embody appropriate opponents, though the latter options would keep Siver on the sidelines a little longer.
Chan Sung Jung is another possibility, though his place on the featherweight ladder might be a bit lofty just yet.
Of the scenarios available, I'd like to see Siver get Swanson. If not, at least someone approaching Swanson's level. He earned an opportunity of that magnitude with his performance on Saturday night.
Siver looks poised to make waves at 145 and there's certainly no cause to make him take the long road to the top. That's not to say he should get an easy road, but rather that he's ready for the hard one, and should begin that journey in earnest as soon as possible.
Watch for the German to continue his ascent in 2013.
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