MMA Fallout: Torres, Penn, Silva—What's Next?
If you’re an MMA fan, this past Saturday and Sunday’s fights served as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day respectively. The results of the UFC and WEC’s events have set up an interesting series of dynamics from a match-up perspective as well as dynamics within the sport itself.
One of the more intriguing discussion threads is: “what’s next for Miguel Torres?” In asking that question, it brings up a similar question posed to Urijah Faber.
The inquiries surrounding Faber’s future have been prevalent since his rematch and second loss to champion Mike Brown. He is in the same no-man’s-land scenario that the UFC’s Rich Franklin was in at the middleweight division: having lost twice to the current champion with no chance to move up until a title change occurs.
It begs the question: why not pit Faber against Torres at a catch weight of 140 pounds? Once Torres’ head clears following Sunday’s viscous knockout loss, he’ll likely want to set his sights on a tune-up fight or two, culminating in a rematch against Brian Bowles.
If the WEC set a fight between Faber and Torres for December, they’d have a legitimate blockbuster on their hands.
Faber needs this fight, rather than treading water in the featherweight division. Torres probably won’t consider the fight with Faber once he starts down the path towards a rematch with Bowles.
The time for this fight is now.
Thinking further down the road after a fantasy match-up of Faber v. Torres, Urijah should set his sights on BJ Penn and the lightweight division of the UFC. Penn will have a tall order in his next fight, defending against Diego Sanchez, but given the way he’s dispatched of all challengers so far—including Kenny Florian on Saturday night—Penn vs. Faber would keep a high level of interest at lightweight since the prospects drop off a bit after Sanchez.
Putting Faber and Torres back under the scope: if they were to fight each other next, one fighter will be dealing with two consecutive defeats. If it’s Faber that comes up short, he’ll have lost three of his last four and will have two victories over Jens Pulver in his last five fights to boast about. Given how poorly Pulver has fought of late, that doesn’t bode well for Faber.
Would that win/loss record damage Faber’s stock, similar to the defeat laden streaks that Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva and Matt Hughes recently endured? The “retirement” word has been bandied about for those three and if that label is slapped on Faber, he’ll have gone from the face of the WEC to near-washout in a span of months.
Let me be clear: I’m not saying that Faber is washed up. But if you overanalyze the numbers, you start to see the California Kid as a fighter past his prime.
Its looking like Faber will fight Josh Grispi next—a fight that hardly carries the same cache as a match-up with Torres. So I’ll repeat: Faber needs the fight against Torres.
Anderson Silva: the writing is on the wall in that he will run through anyone at middleweight as well as light heavyweight, except current champ Lyoto Machida who he is adamant against fighting.
I put up a reader’s poll in a previous article asking who Silva should fight after Thales Leites, with one suggestion being Brock Lesnar (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/157672-anderson-silva-vs-thales-leites-then-what). A reader wrote to me saying that he refused to read the article based on the poll.
Was the question that far fetched?
Yahoo sports writer Dave Meltzer recently speculated that the only person with a chance against Silva could be famed heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko. That fight won’t happen since Fedor recently signed with Strikeforce, but the light has gone off for everyone that Silva should still be considered the best pound for pound fighter in the world.
His knockout of granite-jawed Forrest Griffin with an off-balanced jab (that eerily resembled the off-balanced jab that Seth Petruzelli knocked out Kimbo Slice with—as well as Elite XC) was proof enough.
What’s next for Silva?: a rematch with Dan Henderson in the near term followed by a rumored match-up with Georges St-Pierre. The fight with GSP doesn’t seem likely given Silva’s dominance of larger fighters let alone someone from a lighter weight class.
Could we see Silva in the Octagon with Lesnar after all? Lesnar has some house-cleaning to do at heavyweight with the winners of Shane Carwin / Cain Velasquez and Randy Couture / “Big Nog” Nogueira on the horizon, but the thought of this freakish matchup is intriguing.
Back to the 155 pound division (lightweight) of the UFC: wouldn’t it make sense to move that class to WEC? If the WEC goes forward with a 125 pound class, they could potentially have weight classes in ten pound increments starting at 125 and ending with 155 pounds, giving four title holders under the company’s banner.
The UFC could in turn open up a super heavyweight division starting at 240 pounds and maxing at 300 pounds. Imagine Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin fighting at their natural weights north of 280 pounds without having to cut?
This would give the UFC five unique weight classes which opens up some intriguing bouts at heavyweight, since guys like Liddell, Quinton Jackson, Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture and Forrest Griffin could fight near their more normal weights between 220 and 230 pounds without having to fight today’s super heavyweights.
Guys like Cain Velasquez, Cro Cop, Junior Dos Santos and Antonio Nogueira could straddle two weight classes: heavyweight and super heavyweight, creating more potential champion vs. champion matchups.
Dana if you’re reading, call me to discuss further. If you’re planning a trip to Southie any time soon, I can be there in a half hour.
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