In part one of this two part series we looked at the unusual breadth that exists today between UFC champions and contenders, and noted that there has never been a time in the UFC’s history when there was such a vast expanse enjoyed by ALL of the champions.
Part one covered the lightweight division through the middleweights. Now, on to the light heavies.
The Light Heavyweights
Lyoto Machida is, simply put, one bad dude.
This human “Dragon” has been putting away top-flight contenders with relative ease.
The only knock on Machida is that, because of his incredibly effective counter fighting style, his fights can be boring. This has also been said of Anderson Silva.
Except for the cases when Machida is facing an opponent who is willing to chase him down and take chances, it is likely that he’ll put up somewhat boring fights.
That being said—regardless of whether his opponents are aggressive or looking to counter, Lyoto Machida is not likely to lose against anyone in the division.
There is no clear No. 1 contender in the LHW division at the moment.
Oddly enough, as much as Silva does not want to fight Machida (his friend and part-time training partner), the middleweight champion might just have to.
Silva will likely get one more fight at 205. With one more win at LHW after his demolition of Forrest Griffin, he will be the No. 1 contender.
Dana White is aware of Silva and Machida’s objections to fighting one another, but has said, "Trust me: This is the fight business. You know what you do in the fight business? You fight guys. You find out who's the best. I don't ever worry about guys saying they won't fight. Everybody [who should fight] will wind up fighting in the end." (Yahoo! Sports)
No. 1 contender (projected): Anderson Silva. Chance of victory: 50%
Brock Lesnar’s talents are obvious to everyone: He’s big, he’s large, he’s huge, he has a solid wrestling background, he uses his wrestling to “Donkey Kong”/hammer fist his opponents, he’s enormous, and he’s massive.
This heavyweight world champion is not a martial artist. That’s not a matter of opinion, it’s just fact. As bright as he is (yes, sarcasm), even he’d probably admit that.
However, the situation remains. He’s quick for his size. The wrestling is a great tool, and he will be more than a handful for anyone he faces.
Still, he hasn’t been matched up with the right style to beat him yet. I think Lesnar will be in the UFC for a long time—and a top contender for as long as he fights in the UFC. I also think he will probably be the first of the current champions to lose his belt.
His next title defense will be against Shane Carwin, a fighter who is comparable in size and is also a wrestler (albeit not as decorated).
The difference is, Carwin can strike and he can take a shot. He also has the size, strength, and enough wrestling to get the fight back to the feet. In this fight, as I have written before, Brock Lesnar will have to pick on someone his own size.
No. 1 Contender: Shane Carwin. Chance of Victory: 55%
Until next time, remember—there may not be a next time!