Wow! *Followed by long silence* F****** hell.
My reaction to Anderson's display against Forrest last night at UFC 101. Any doubts after his two previous lackluster performances were gone just about when he did the Ali shuffle.
Anderson has put himself at the top of the mountain as P4P best fighter in dramatic fashion against someone I personally and a lot of people thought would be his hardest challenge.
But now we have to look to the future and who could possibly dethrone him at the top of the mountain:
Georges St Pierre
GSP currently is the closest fighter to Anderson not because of style but because of dominance. GSP dominates the welterweight division similar to how Anderson dominates his middleweight division and now seemingly the lightheavyweight division. Also along with Anderson GSP is believed to the be the other unbeatable fighter in the UFC so a clash of the unbeatables would be a spectacle.
GSP posseses the main thing that can challenge Anderson, great takedowns and a punishing ground and pound game when he is on top. Also GSP seems to highlight a fighters weakness and use it against them more so than any fighter except maybe Randy Couture so it would be interesting to see if he could figure out how to beat "The Spider."
Anderson has the best striking in the UFC hands-down and if he can stay on his feet it seems like only a matter of time until he would knock GSP down. GSP has not came up against anyone he couldn't take down and if Anderson can advoid the takedown for the first few rounds the fight would be his. Also Anderson is the bigger man and therefore has the natural strength advantage.
Anderson has the stand-up advantage but GSP's takedowns are just too good, he would be able to take Anderson down and ground and pound him for three rounds. However if the fight is a five round fight I give the Advantage to Anderson because it will only be a matter of time until GSP has to stand with him and then he will go the same way as Forrest Griffin.
Although Anderson said he would never fight his training partner and his friend Lyoto Machida Dana White said that even though they are friends the fight will have to happen if Anderson wins a few more times at LHW and Lyoto retains his title.
No one has figured out Lyoto's unorthodox striking and he has breezed through top contenders in the LHW division. Lyoto's counter striking will play against Anderson who likes to see gaps and exploit them in fighters that techniques aren't great but Lyoto seems too technically sound to get caught like Leben or Forrest did.
Lyoto would strike with Anderson and this plays into Anderson's hands as he loves to strike with people and he usuall gets the better of them, however I'm not sure he will be able to get the best of Lyoto's striking. While Anderson seemingly has no one in the middleweight division to worry about Lyoto has many LHW's that are put a bullseye on him this could cause him to be fatigued because of him defending his title so much.
Striking would be very even, maybe the slight edge to Lyoto, we haven't seem Lyoto's ground game so it is hard to determine who has the edge on the ground. This fight could go either way.
Former champion Rashad Evans would be a tough test against the Spider, a extremely effective counter puncher with great takedowns and power in both hands.
With the strength advantage Rashad should be able to take down Anderson but Rashad isn't really effective enough in the guard to trouble Anderson on the ground. Rashad has the advantage on punching power and if he hit you with the shot he hit Chuck with I dare anyone to stay standing after that.
Anderson technically is the better striker and on the ground he shouldn't be troubled by Rashad. Also Anderson isn't a fighter to make mistakes and leave themself open and that is typically what counter punchers like Rashad rely on.
Anderson would knock out Rashad if they fought, most likely quite early. Rashad can't hang with Anderson when standing.
Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson
Another former champion comes knocking at the door of Anderson, Rampage has possibly the hardest punch of anyone in the LHW division and he has used that lately to knock out Anderson's long time friend Wanderlei Silva in dramatic fashion.
Rampage is one of the strongest LHW's in the UFC and has enough power to knock anyone out at any given time. Also he has good boxing technique and seems to have learnt how to hit someone and cover up in his previous encounter something he hadn't really done before in his career.
We saw against Forrest that Rampage's main weakness is leg kicks, Forrest basically destroyed Rampage's shins and Anderson should have better leg kicks coming from a muay thai background. Also in his Pride days Rampage feared the thai clinch after Wanderlei imprinted it on his mind literally and we all know how good Anderson's clinch is (ask Rich Franklin.)
Unless Rampage is able to hit Anderson really hard the fight can only go one way, Anderson will just pick apart Rampage to the point where his legs are destroyed and he is in the clinch.
The only person to hold Pride Championships in two weight classes Hendo has great wrestling with an especially powerful right hand to go along with it. They have fought before and Anderson submitted Dan with a rear naked choke in the second round.
Dan Henderson has done arguably the best against Anderson when he won the first round in their encounter, he has the power in his hands to knockout Anderson if he gets close enough and he has the strong wrestling to take him down.
Anderson has the mental advantage, already beating Henderson. Anderson has the striking advantage and should be able to pick Hendo apart just like he did in their first encounter.
This fight is as straight forward to call as any other, Anderson beat him once......he will beat him again.
Our final challenger is Shogun Rua, he has earned a title shot at UFC 104 against Lyoto by knocking out fighters that should retire.
Shogun has the tools to trouble Anderson if he can strike like he did in Pride, with his great use of kicks, knees, and elbows, but we haven't seen any of that in the UFC yet.
Shogun has made a career in the UFC by knocking out fighters that are long in the tooth, unfortunately for Shogun Silva is possibly at his best at the moment and should easily dominate all areas the fight goes.
I can see this fight go only one way a W for Anderson.
So these are the possible fighters that could dethrone Anderson however it will be extremely difficult for any of them to do so. The two fighters with the most chance of beating Anderson is GSP and Lyoto however it will be hard for either of them to do anyway.
"The reign of Lyoto being the most feared fighter in the UFC is over before he could even defend his title. Long live King Anderson!!"