In the wake of what some people consider to be Frankie Edgar's second-straight upset of B.J. Penn, the Lightweight division in UFC holds quite a bit of potential as we move forward into an uncharted frontier. The coming months provide opportunities to see who might be the next fighter to hold the belt after Edgar's reign.
Next up for Edgar is undefeated No. 1 contender Gray Maynard, who defeated Kenny Florian at UFC 118 to earn the next shot at the Lightweight championship. Edgar might not have to deal with the rest of the division, as Maynard holds notable wins over not only KenFlo, but also Nate Diaz, Jim Miller, Roger Huerta, and Frankie Edgar himself.
Coming up on September 15th at the next UFC Fight Night, the Lightweight division landscape will become a lot clearer, with three fights featuring some of the top names in the division.
Jim Miller returns to the octagon after six months with his record of 17 wins and two losses to face fellow BJJ black belt Gleison Tibau. Miller is on a four-fight winning streak, but two of those victories were by decision (his most recent victory was a highly criticized decision albeit unanimous amongst the official judges).
Potentially closer to the main event of the Fight Night is the fight between The Ultimate Fighter winner Efrain Escudero and the undefeated Charles Oliveira. Two fights ago, Efrain Escudero suffered the first loss of his career as Evan Dunham trapped him into an inescapable armbar which many predicted had permanently damaged Efrain's arm. Escudero rebounded from that loss and defeated Dan Lauzon by decision back in late May of this year. On August 1st, not even six weeks prior to this upcoming Fight Night, Charles Oliveira made his successful UFC debut, forcing a submission out of Darren Elkins with an armbar in the first 45 seconds of the fight.
Escudero isn't the only Lightweight division winner of The Ultimate Fighter on the card for the Fight Night, as Ross Pearson (winner of the Team USA vs. Team UK season of TUF) is scheduled to face tough UFC veteran Cole Miller.
Pearson is on a three-fight winning streak since appearing in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter, but two of those fights went to decision, and one was by doctor stoppage. If he's going to prove he's a top fighter in the division, he'll have to win this fight handily. That won't be easy, as Cole Miller of American Top Team brings his BJJ brown belt and a couple of Submission of the Night victories in UFC to the cage along with his record of 16 wins and four losses.
Cole's last two victories have come impressively by first round submission, so Ross Pearson won't be able to count on a decision to end this match. Cole Miller has only gone to decision ONCE in seven fights in UFC, a fight which he won.
Coming up at UFC 119 in two weeks, Evan Dunham looks to place himself in a prominent position to be considered for a title shot in early 2011, but in order to improve to a record of 12 wins and zero losses, the black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner will have to get past former Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk.
The last time Sherk stepped into the octagon, he lost to Frankie Edgar nearly a year and a half ago.
The only other loss Sherk has suffered in the past three years aside from Edgar was in the fight where B.J. Penn won the Lightweight title from Sherk.
At least four other fights which are already scheduled to take place in 2010 will help shape the exciting Lightweight Division in the UFC, and that doesn't even include names like Kenny Florian, Takanori Gomi, Diego Sanchez, or former Lightweight Champion B.J. Penn.
For the rest of my thoughts and analysis on this topic, view the full version of this article over at my website, www.GuysNation.com where you could win a free shirt just by leaving your opinion in a comment responding to this article.