Is UFC Matchmaking Becoming an Issue?

Greg ParfittCorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2010

After reading lots of articles recently about, who should fight GSP, who fights for the title if Brock Lesnar is out, should Nate Marquardt or Vitor Belfort be fighting Anderson Silva and the ongoing BJ Penn debate a thought came to me. The UFC divisions are fast becoming a bit of a mess and that for the most part it is down to matchmaking.

By a mess I mean that in each division fights have been made and scheduled where there appears to me no clear line of contendership. Now we all know there is no official ranking system in the UFC and that fights are made to make $$$. However Joe Silva and Dana White must in theory have some sort of idea of where they place each fighter in there division and who will be getting title shots. So why do we find the UFC in its current situation. 

The Heavyweight Division is in a unique place due to the health issues of the current champ Brock Lesnar, his indefinite illness causing the title picture to be on hold. We now know that Frank Mir and Shane Carwin will meet at UFC 111 for an Interim Title. Many fans including myself have issue with this because there is an argument that Junior Dos Santos, Cain Valasquez and Antonio Nogueria are all equally deserving of fighting in an Interim-title fight.

The Light-Heavyweight division is again in a mess for a division that is stacked with talent. After the Lyoto Machida vs Shogun Rua re-match which is set for May, who will be fighting for the title? Rashad Evans and Quinton Jackson, arguably the top ranked contenders are set to meet in June or July. No one else is being set up as a legitimate challenger, which is why myself and other B/R writers have suggested Randy Couture will be given a shot should he beat Mark Coleman.

In the Middleweights, Dan Henderson left the UFC because he wasn't given his promised title shot. Vitor Belfort has had 1 UFC fight upon his return at a catch-weight and has jumped straight over what most people would consider the true No.1 contender in Nate Marquardt. The Welterweight Division is again stacked but we were left with a Mike Swick vs Dan hardy No.1 contender fight. As a Hardy fan I am happy but I know it upsets a lot of you.

Finally the Light-weight division has not been helped by the dominance of the Champ BJ Penn but fresh challengers are not being lined up quickly enough. Its crazy to think that should Nate Diaz beat Gray Maynard, which is a distinct possibility, the only deserving title challenger is Frankie Edgar.

Therefore its time that Joe Silva and Dana White really take a step back and evaluate each division and try and set up a line of contendership. By no means am I advocating rankings because I just don't think it would work in the UFC, and I think Boxing is a good example of how not to do things. But a clear regular No.1 contender fight may work for example.

Something needs to change, I don't have all the answers so I put it out to you for your thoughts. But there will surely come a time when fans will not except title fights with challengers that should not be there!