The problem is, with no official rankings, it's anyone's guess who is next in line for a title shot.
We also have all of these fallen champions, and stars who just can't make it over that hump who have no where to go, and thus they become the gatekeepers.
A gatekeeper is one who separates the contenders from the pretenders.
There are gatekeepers in each division, so let's take a look at who they are:
Spencer Fisher- He's a great fighter, but he just always seems to lose the big fight.
Rich Clementi- Same as above, just not on the same caliber as Penn.
Melvin Guillard- Seems the same as above, but can't even beat Clementi.
Clay Guida- All the talent in the world, but can't seem to harness it into a good amount of consecutive wins.
Future Gatekeepers- Kenny Florian, Sean Sherk, Frank Edgar
Matt Hughes- This is the obvious one, with losses to GSP and Alves, it's shown he fits right into the position. If he was to fight a joke, he'd expose him in a second. But real contenders (GSP, Alves) have been able to stop this aging champ.
Karo Parisyan- Don't get me wrong, this article isn't to bash anyone, I'm a huge Parisyan fan, but he just can't get over that hump.
Marcus Davis- Another great fighter, but just doesn't seem to have what it takes to compete with the top guys like GSP and Fitch.
Future Gatekeepers- Mike Swick, Josh Koscheck, Ryo Chonan
Rich Franklin- He is THE gatekeeper of the UFC middleweight division. With no one wanting Franklin-Silva III, all he can do is sit back and separate the future heroes from the soon to be zeros. If they can't beat Franklin, they sure as hell can't beat Silva.
Ed Herman- He is one that just can't win the big fight, but will expose you faster than Silva took out Jardine.
Nate Quarry- With a knockout from Franklin, I don't think anyone sees him as a viable opponent for Silva, and this he sits in that middle ground.
Future Gatekeepers- Dan Henderson, Yushin Okami, Patrick Cote
Keith Jardine- He can pull out a great win every now and then (Griffin, Liddell) but when it comes down to it, he seems to have a button on his chin that makes him drop (Alexander, Silva).
Houston Alexander- After jumping out of the gate with a knockout of Jardine, he went out to amaze, only to get beaten down by Thiago Silva, and then James Irvin.
Matt Hamill- I know this pick will be argued, but I just don't see him getting past guys like Liddell, Evans, Rua, or Jackson.
Future Gatekeepers- James Irvin, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Sokoudjou
Gabriel Gonzaga- After getting taken out by Werdum and Couture, it was obvious he wasn't quite on that championship level.
Brandon Vera- Same as Gonzaga, but many see him going down to Light Heavyweight.
Cheick Kongo- He's a great fighter, but he just can't go over guys like Herring, Werdum, Nog.
Future Gatekeepers- Heath Herring, Antoni Hardonk
Oh, and one side note. Did anyone else think Jason Lambert looked like he just had a three day Fast Food-a thon before his fight at UFC 85?
Like always, feel free to comment, but be respectful, no point in arguing over what we can't control.