Warning! Personal Opinion Advisory!
It's over. The injury bug has appeared to move on to plague a different company—probably some local, unsupported promotion that gets no love from the local brethren, ultimately forcing it to close down operations.
Showing the importance of a deep roster, the UFC managed to put on a phenomenal show under the ugly circumstances.
While some were complaining about having the UFC 108 card shoved down their throats, others were congratulating and celebrating the performances of those who stepped up so the show could go on—and the show did go on.
Some of you are saying, "But, Sterling, we shouldn't have to pay for..."
Then don't buy it! I can't stress that enough. Besides, most of you are savvy enough to pirate the fights off the Internet the same night. So where is the princess attitude coming from?
Moving past my ranting madness, the UFC trucks on and hopes to please the high standards of the modern fan, offering two cards in February.
Yes, they may look weak on paper to some of you, but those cards tend to blow your "stacked" cards out of the water; so please, lower your expectations.
After Frankie Edgar dominated Matt Veach in their December bout, Gray Maynard was left with no choice but to finish off Nate Diaz to earn a shot at lightweight kingpin B.J. Penn.
While there are quite a few fans who would disagree on the outcome of the split-decision fight, Maynard came out victorious.
However, it was in less-than-impressive fashion in the eyes of the UFC big wigs. Thus, Edgar has been granted the next title shot, securing his No. 2 spot on my board.
Takanori Gomi is set to make his UFC debut, digging the lightweight talent pool even deeper into the abyss. With so many talented fighters, there are even five guys floating outside of the top 10 in my noteworthy spot.
Noteworthy: Clay Guida (25-11), Nate Diaz (11-5), Kurt Pellegrino (14-4), Terry Etim (14-2), and Sam Stout (15-5-1)
10. Takanori Gomi (31-5-0-1)
9. Jim Miller (16-2)
8. Joe Stevenson (31-10)
7. Tyson Griffin (14-2)
6. Sean Sherk (33-4-1)
5. Diego Sanchez (21-3)
4. Kenny Florian (12-4)
3. Gray Maynard (10-0-0-1)
2. Frankie Edgar (11-1)
1. B.J. Penn (15-5-1)
Paul Daley continues to explode through the opponents standing in his way, cleaning the clock of the grappling machine, Dustin Hazelett. After running right through Hazelett and Martin Kampmann, Daley will face his toughest test against Josh Koscheck.
Speaking of Kampmann, he returned to form after choking out the shark bait of a man, Jacob Volkmann. His next fight will come against the very dangerous "Killa B," Ben Saunders.
The Welterweight Division is sort of at a stand€still. A few contenders slug it out with an un-ranked opponent here and there, but there have only been slight changes to the pecking order—and the month of February won't be any different.
But any fan of Mother Earth's temper tantrums knows that the weather is usually calm before the big storm.
Noteworthy: Carlos Condit (23-5), and Ben Saunders (8-1-2)
10. Mike Swick (14-3)
9. Martin Kampmann (16-3)
8. Paulo Thiago (12-1)
7-. Paul Daley (23-8-2)
6. Matt Hughes (43-7)
5. Josh Koscheck (14-4)
4. Dan Hardy (23-6)
3. Thiago Alves (16-6)
2. Jon Fitch (21-3)
1. Georges St. Pierre (19-2)
Now more than ever, there is a heavy weight of uneasiness throughout the middleweight realm that's been crawling with spiders.
Other than Dan Henderson leaving for Strikeforce, there has been no change to the top 10 for months now. To some, it appears that Anderson Silva will rule the division for many more years to come.
In February, a slight, shimmering beam of light may present itself in the form of Nate Marquardt, who has improved by leaps and bounds since his last outing with Silva.
Marquardt will be facing the grinder, Chael Sonnen. Additionally, February also offers up two more fights featuring two of the middleweight's top 10 fighters in Demian Maia and Michael Bisping.
Noteworthy: Rousimar Palhares (10-2)
10. Yushin Okami (23-5)
9. Patrick Cote (13-5)
8. Alan Belcher (15-6)
7. Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-1)
6. Michael Bisping (18-2)
5. Chael Sonnen (24-10-1)
4. Demian Maia (10-1)
3. Vitor Belfort (19-8)
2. Nate Marquardt (29-8-2)
1. Anderson Silva (25-4)
While his camp is claiming that Thiago Silva wasn't 100 percent healthy in his fight against Rashad Evans, his recent display shows that Silva isn't ready to hang with the top five of the division, regardless of what he may have been dealing with.
Evans on the other hand, despite slowing down and playing it safe, showed that he can still be a threat on any night. Knowing that he's still at least one win out of the title picture, Evans looks forward to his grudge match with Rampage Jackson.
Finally, an apology to Jackson and everyone associated with him. I've looked back over my last few ranks, and I think that it's a sham that I've let him fall so far from grace.
I've fixed my mistake, and Jackson is back where he belongs on the board.
Noteworthy: Vladimir Matyushenko (23-4), and Luiz Cane (10-2-0-1)
10. Randy Couture (17-10)
9. Jon Jones (9-1)
8. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (18-3)
7. Forrest Griffin (17-6)
6. Thiago Silva (14-2)
5. Anderson Silva (25-4)
4. Quinton Jackson (30-7)
3. Rashad Evans (19-1-1)
2. Mauricio Rua (18-4)
1. Lyoto Machida (16-0)
First and foremost, Brock Lesnar's career will not be over at this point in time as most of you already know. I anxiously await his return against the winner of the Frank Mir and Shane Carwin fight, so he can lose of course.
I just don't like him, it's my opinion, and until he shows me something different, I'm sticking to it. I'm thankful for his return because I would like to see fighters finish there career as healthy as possible.
Back to the rankings, Junior dos Santos made Gilbert Yvel's debut a disastrous one, knocking him out in the first round. With the heavyweight division experiencing a log jam, Junior only moves up slightly.
Although Dana White has announced that Lesnar will fight the winner of Mir and Carwin, unpredictable scenarios may change the champion's opponent to the winner between next month's clash of the titans, between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cain Velasquez.
February will also showcase a fight of the "Who belongs in the top ten?" caliber, as Ben Rothwell faces Pride legend, Mirko Cro Cop.
Noteworthy: Cheick Kongo (14-6-1), Stefan Struve (19-3), & Paul Buentello (25-11)
10- Ben Rothwell (30-7)
9- Mirko Filipovic (26-7-2)
8- Randy Couture (17-10)
7- Gabriel Gonzaga (11-4)
6- Cain Velasquez (7-0)
5- Shane Carwin (11-0)
4- Junior dos Santos (10-1)
3- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-5-1)
2- Frank Mir (13-4)
1- Brock Lesnar (4-1)