Whos Who in The World of #1 Contendership

Nick ColonSenior Analyst ISeptember 15, 2008

I'm tired of Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, and BJ Penn. No disrespect to any of those fighters, but we know they reign dominant right now. So why keep wasting breath about their reigns, and how about a little more talk on the contender subject.

With the most deserving man in Jon Fitch out of the contender role currently in the UFC's Welterweight division, who is left that has a shot of taking out current champ St. Pierre?

What about the Lightweight title? So many names, not enough talk. And please lets not go into Anderson Silva's apparent reign that will never end. Listen, if Napoleon couldn't conquer the world, Silva won't either—though he may come close.

Below I've listed a few names to keep an eye on in each division in the UFC. If anyone would like to do one for Dream, or any other promotion, please do so. I'm only interested currently in the bigtime.


Lightweight (155 lbs.)

1) Kenny Florian

Please, let's not downplay Florian's rise once again in this division. Since his loss to Sherk, Florian's looked nothing short of great, and he is the one in line for a title shot if he gets past Joe Stevenson in November. Don't sleep on "Kenflo".


2) Tyson Griffin

The next fight for Griffin will be a telling one against the former champ Sean Sherk. Don't be surprised if this one doesn't go to the judges, as Griffin and Sherk's feverish pace may make for fireworks.


3) Nate Diaz

As many of you may have read in my recent article about Diaz, he is a sleeper in this crazy division. Diaz is slowly creeping up the ladder with multiple wins in a stacked weight class. If Diaz can make it past Neer, expect bigger fights to come for the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.


Welterweight (170 lbs.)


1) BJ Penn

I know this isn't Penn's true weight class, but the fact remains the guy can demand a fight of anyone, and will get it at this point. He recently outpointed Sherk in the lightweight title fight, and it appears Super Bowl weekend may have gotten sweeter with the BJ/GSP fight.


2) Thiago Alves

Not much of a fan of Alves, as he struggled to make weight in his last fight, and shows a lifestyle not of a champion, rather of a chump. However, the guy fights with strength and speed, and if he wins his next fight with Diego Sanchez, could be ready for the shot.


3) Mike Swick

Swick has done well at the lower weight class, but his fights lack the normal luster he maintained at the higher weight. If Swick lets his hands go, and fights like the old Mike Swick, he could be one to watch.


Middleweight (185 lbs.)

1) Patrick Cote

Obviously he's the current contender, and a fill in for would-be contender Yushin Okami. If he, like Swick, lets his hands go, and fights much like he did against heavy hitter Drew McFederies, he may have a chance to pull off the unthinkable.


2) Nate Marquardt

Marquardt looked simply stellar in his last fight against a well-prepared Martin Kampmann. Marquardt came out with fire, and ended the fight early against a really good fighter. Is probably gearing up for a fight with Okami for that #2 contender spot after Cote.


3) Yushin Okami

You can't take a guy out of contention just because he gets hurt. If that happened with other greats like Liddell, or GSP, fans would have their arms up in the air. Okami should get one warmup fight, with Marquardt as aforementioned to prepare for Silva if successful.


Light Heavyweight (205 lbs.)

1) Rashad Evans

Now with a guaranteed shot against current champ Forrest Griffin, the season one and two winners of The Ultimate Fighter will duel to see who the best at 205 lbs. actually is. Griffin won't be knocked out by any fluke punches, and he'll take a beating before he goes down.


2) Thiago Silva

I'm his biggest fan. No question. But the guy now needs to rehab, and get another fight or two before his shot comes. This means fans will have to wait until late Winter, early Spring before we see the throat slash back in action.


3) Lyoto Machida

With his fight against Silva now scrapped, this leaves the warrior waiting by the sidelines. His camp has said he will wait for Silva to rehab so that they may continue on with the fight, however Dana White and Joe Silva may have different plans in mind.

Whatever happens, Machida's a fight or two away from the shot.


Heavyweight (207-265 lbs.)

1) Brock Lesnar/Randy Couture

Well, this is awkward isn't it? These two will be beating each other up about a month before Nogueira and Mir go to war. What does it mean for other heavyweights? Just keep winning.


2) Gabriel Gonzaga

He lost two bouts in the last two years; once to the current "champ" Randy Couture, and once to Fabricio Werdum. If he regains his hunger, he can make it back to the title.


3) Cheick Kongo/Werdum

To be quite honest, these two fighters need to fight one another. Kongo talks about training for nothing, and Werdum's next fight is against a nobody. These two would set up a nice No. 2 or No. 3 contendership.


If you have any suggestions, or recommendations yourself, please post comments. All are welcome.


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