UFC: Why Evan Dunham Is the Lightweight Division's Hottest Prospect

Andrew GladstoneCorrespondent IJanuary 20, 2011

Courtesy of Zuffa
Courtesy of Zuffa

Evan Dunham (11-1) is one of the most talented new lightweights in the UFC lightweight division.

This Saturday night, Dunham will look to make another step forward in the stacked UFC lightweight division when he meets former Ultimate Fighter season 2 competitor Melvin Guillard at "UFC: Fight for the Troops 2."

Before losing a disputable split decision to Sean Sherk, Dunham racked up impressive victories over the likes of Tyson Griffin, Marcus Aurelio and Efrain Escudero.

I believe what really makes Dunham stand out is that there isn't one area in MMA that he is weak at.

Dunham made his UFC debut in style when he made a statement with a 2:13 TKO victory over Per Eklund.

In the Griffin fight, Dunham took a talented wrestler in Griffin at will, landed clean combinations and secured Griffin's back over and over again.

Dunham possesses a sharp kickboxing game that he has shown in his last five UFC bouts. While Dunham may not be the most powerful striker, he tends to put a lot of combinations together and utilizes straight punches.

In the fight against Escudero, Dunham showed he isn't just a kickboxer with solid wrestling and in the third round utilized a tremendous armbar to win "submission of the night" honors. 

Had Dunham been awarded the victory against Sherk, the prospect label would've been removed, and Dunham would be considered a title challenger.

UFC President Dana White was very outspoken on Dunham's lone loss to Sherk.

"The way that I look at Evan Dunham right now is this kid's undefeated," White said at the UFC press conference.

"He got screwed, and everybody...knows a big problem in mixed martial arts right now is some of this judging. I think Evan Dunham won his fight. So, you know, on his record he's 11-1, but this kid's one of the most talented, up-and-coming kids in the division."

If Dunham is able to secure the victory over Melvin Guillard, I believe that Dunham will get a top contender in the division and will be ranked in the top 10.