Aug. 25, 2009
The Untouchables – Part I of II
Has there ever been a time in the UFC’s storied and exciting history when there have been so many dominant champions at once?
Let me rephrase that: There has never been a time in the UFC’s history when there were so many dominant champions at once.
There is an extremely odd and expansive gap between the champions and contenders. Let’s take a look at these gaps, division by division.
BJ Penn – “The Prodigy”, truly is a prodigy. Now that he’s fighting at 155 again he looks unstoppable. Even though his recent title defense against the ultra-talented and legitimate No. 1 contender Kenny Florian made it to the fourth round, “KenFlo” was never in the fight. Penn looked well conditioned (which has been a problem for him in the past) and focused.
No. 1 Contender: Diego Sanchez. Chance of victory: 30 Percent
What can be said about “King Georges” that hasn’t been said? Georges “Rush” St, Pierre has demonstrated time and again that there are no real threats to his belt in his division. GSP may be the most dominant of the current champions, but that of course is a matter of opinions, of which there are many on this subject.
My dad used to say, “Opinions are like @ss#%@*s – everybody has one.” What cemented his supremacy at 170 for me (along with a few other fights) was his thrashing of one of my favorite fighters, Jon Fitch.
There is no clear-cut number 1 contender in the Welterweight division. Here’s how it breaks down: Dan Hardy, Martin Kampman, Mike Swick, and Anthony Johnson are the fighters in the running. The general consensus is that the winner of the upcoming match between Mike Swick and Martin Kampman will get the No. 1 contender “title.”
Of the four fighters in the running, I don’t think any have done enough to earn the “title” of No. 1 contender...but somebody has to be the guy and in my opinion—of the four fighters listed, Mike Swick will be GSP’s next title defense.
No. 1 Contender: Mike Swick. Chance of victory: 20 Percent
There aren’t many folks out there who aren’t willing to call Anderson “The Spider” Silva the best P4P fighter in MMA. I am not personally one who believes that, but I can certainly respect the argument for it. There is no one in the middleweight division who will take this guys belt, with one possible exception.
He will fight a man he already beat again soon in Dan Henderson. And, while Silva beat Henderson once, if the PrideFC veteran can take the fight to the ground and keep it there, he will win the fight. The biggest word in that sentence is “If."
I realize that most readers (and pundits) will strongly disagree with this assessment, but consider the following: Henderson has reeled off victories over highly touted contenders such as:
1.) Rousimar Palhares, who entered his fight with Henderson being hailed, along with Demian Maia, as one of two of the UFC’s absolute best, rising jiu-jitsu practitioners
2.) Perhaps most impressively, former middleweight champion Rich Franklin, who entered his fight with Henderson at 26-3, having only lost to Anderson Silva (twice) and Lyoto Machida
3.) At UFC 100, “Hendo” annihilated Michael Bisping, reminding fans why the man was once considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world
Henderson is also the only fighter who has won a round against Silva. He wouldn’t be the favorite by any stretch, but he would pose not just a threat, but a legitimate threat.
No. 1 Contender: Dan Henderson. Chance of victory: 40 Percent
Part II of “The Untouchables” will be posted tomorrow.
Until next time, remember: There may not be a next time!