That fight fell through, but the UFC’s plans for five-round non-title fights haven’t. There are no shortage of candidates that stand to benefit from such a policy, although a few fighters stand out for their style, stature and substance.
Here are five UFC fighters that would benefit most from five-round non-title fights.
5) Brad Pickett
The British bantamweight’s last three bouts were all-around, back-and-forth 15-minute grueling battles.
He came up victorious versus Demetrious Johnson and Ivan Menjivar and was unanimously defeated by Scott Jorgensen in between.
Anchored at American Top Team, Pickett has developed the cardio to push his grit around the cage more effectively than a straight-banger style.
In a division loaded with incredible pace, Pickett is a contender that can be increasingly dangerous as the clock ticks on.
4) Jim Miller
The most impressive feat Gray Maynard accomplished before beating Frankie Edgar in a potential 10-7 first round of a title fight was dominating Jim Miller.
That’s because Jim Miller is nearly impossible to take out of a fight and he’s proven that by responding to the Maynard loss with a two-year, seven-fight win streak.
The AMA Fight Club representative has a potent blend of ill-intentioned wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, throwing his hands better with each outing.
Well-rounded, all-in fighters like Matt Wiman, Mac Danzig, Mark Bocek, Gleson Tibau and Kamal Shalorus have all fallen to Miller’s ability to seize control fights with bull-headed steamrolling.
He’s proven ready for the upper echelon of the division by performing in 15-minute fights like 25-minute fights would be just another day on the job.
Michael “The Count” Bisping’s cardio is apparent in his ability to play a strong stick-and-move striking game.
It also shines when the Brit turns it up, sits on his punches and fights to finish. He has been able to stay off his back because he is always fresh enough to pop back up if the fight hits the mat.
Consistent footwork and output have carved The Ultimate Fighter season three winner’s place at 185-pounds as perennial contender.
If there was an ideal striking candidate at middleweight for five-round non-title fights, it’s Michael Bisping.
The skill level in mixed martial arts elevates daily and is represented well in fighters like Bisping, Georges St. Pierre and Frankie Edgar, who are clear-cut winners due to efficiency and strategy while confusing the competition with multiple looks.
2) Jon Fitch
The term “grinder” in mixed martial arts latches on to no one more than Jon Fitch.
American Kickboxing Academy’s welterweight insists if his all fights went into the championship rounds, his last six wins—and his February draw with B.J. Penn—would have been finishes instead of unanimous decisions.
Posting a 10-8 round versus the former two-division champion was no easy feat from inside Penn’s guard—a testament to the suffocating style that has kept Fitch’s record since 2002 spotless outside of dropping a unanimous decision to champion Georges St-Pierre.
Extra time is just extra time to impose his will and few, if any, welterweights can deal with that for 25-minutes.
1) Clay Guida
“The Carpenter” is simply wired differently. Guida runs to the cage on his surplus supply of high-energy and never rests once inside the Octagon.
He’s had championship cardio since 2006 and that was illustrated best as his Octagon career progressed with classic scraps with Tyson Griffin, Roger Huerta and Diego Sanchez.
The Chicagoan’s performances never waver in entertainment value, crafting a fan base that matches his energy.
Fighters like Clay Guida beg the question if non-title fights can be five-rounds, is there room for seven-round title fights?
Too much, maybe, but some mixed martial arts still have a no-holds-barred, no-time limit spirit and Guida has the cardio to make it seem practical.
Danny Acosta is the lead writer at FIGHT! Magazine. Follow him on twitter.com/acostaislegend