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UFC Champions Review: Who Will Be the Fighter to Unseat Each Current Champion?

Spencer TucksenSenior Writer IJune 2, 2016

UFC Champions Review: Who Will Be the Fighter to Unseat Each Current Champion?

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    This list was created off of the knowledge that all things come to an end eventually. This is also a revised addition of an older article I wrote about eight months ago. If you would like to see how wrong I was then, you can follow the link here:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/480049-passing-the-torch-the-next-title-holder-for-every-division-in-the-ufc-w-video

    Anyway, thank you for reading! Please feel free to comment, like, share, or look through my other articles in the archives.

Bantamweight, 135: Dominick Cruz

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    Dominick Cruz is the current Bantamweight champion, and consensus No. 1 at his position. He is also one of the highest Pound For Pound fighters, seeing as he hasn't lost in more than FOUR years.

    However, I do believe he is beatable.

     

    The first example would be Urijah Faber, of course. Seeing as he is the only man ever to defeat Cruz in his MMA career and also the next challenger for Cruz's title, he must be included. I believe that stylistically, this fight is one that could go either way.

    Having said that, I do still believe Faber to have a better all-around game, despite how great Cruz has been in recent years. His ground game is among the very best at any weight class and his kickboxing has always been stellar.

    While I believe this won't be a one-sided affair, I think that Faber will be the new man with the title, post-UFC 132.

    But, let's say that hypothetically, he doesn't win. We have another challenger, who nearly defeated Dominick last August, in Joseph Benavidez.

    Benavidez has a fighting style similar to his training partner and fellow contender, Urijah Faber. While I don't necessarily believe he will defeat Cruz with ease, since he has lost two fights to him, I feel he has as good a chance as anyone.

    Not to mention Miguel Torres and Demetrius "Mighty Mouse" Johnson, who are both extremely talented and capable of winning against pretty much anyone in the division with their varied skill-sets.

Featherweight, 145: Jose Aldo

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    Jose Aldo is the current Featherweight champion and consensus top four Pound-for-Pound fighter in MMA. He has shown a great amount of aggression in his fights while still showcasing his fantastic skill, especially in stand-up wars.'

    Aldo hasn't lost in nearly SIX years, and has been extremely dominant in the time since. At only 24, he most likely has a very long and prosperous career still to come.

    But of course, there will always be challengers.

    Starting off with his most likely next opponent, let's talk about Chad Mendes. He has never lost in his 10-fight, three-year career, and is probably looking to extend that winning streak whenever Jose Aldo is healthy.

    He has a very strong wrestling base, finishing 30-1 in his senior year of college, with his only loss coming in the finals match.

    He has a very well-rounded game, and I believe he has the best chance at victory against the champ. As shown in the fifth round of the Mark Hominick fight, Aldo has a tendency to take a lot of damage off of his back. I do believe that Mendes has the potentially to bring that to him.

    Following him are fighters Diego Nunes and Kenny Florian. The latter defeated Diego convincingly recently at UFC 131, and Dana White was quoted as saying that Florian would be next in line for a title shot.

    However, I believe that neither of them would defeat Aldo, especially Florian, who has always shown a tendency to choke when it matters. Not to mention he has always struggled against high-aggression fighters.

    After them, I believe that Dustin Poirier is one of the many young, talented fighters currently lying in wait and moving up in the Featherweight division. I do look forward to seeing what can be done with them.

Lightweight, 155: Frankie Edgar

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    Frankie Edgar has become a model of consistency over his career in the lightweight division. He has often outstruck, out-paced, and out-wrestled his opponents.

    One need only look at his wins over BJ Penn to see how dominant he can be as a fighter. With only one loss in his six year career, he has become a consensus top five pound for pound fighter and is 13-1-1.

    Although, having given him credit, I must say that there is at least one fighter who I believe can defeat him. As you may have guessed, that fighter would be Gray "The Bully" Maynard.

    While most may see his game as a "boring" and "unimpressive" style of fighting, I look at it as showcasing the best takedowns and general wrestling in any division below Welterweight.

    He has showcased a rather impressive boxing game against Nate Diaz and Frankie Edgar in his last fight, which has really balanced out his attack very well.

    One of the main reasons people think Edgar will win is because he has great speed, cardio for days, and great game-planning. But let's not forget that Gray Maynard has shown good cardio in a number of his fights.

    And while he may have been exhausted in the last Edgar fight, he punched Frankie more than 90 times in the first round. That rarely happens in one FIGHT, much less a single round. And as for his speed, it may not be at Edgar's level, but he is definitely not a slow fighter.

    And as for game-planning, he works with Randy Couture, who is generally regarded as one of the very best game-planning fighters ever. He has shown he can follow a game-plan when the fight comes to it and adjust accordingly, should things change.

    One of the main reasons I believe is that I was one of the few who had Maynard winning on their UFC 125 fight, 47-46. In my eyes, he's already won twice against Frankie Edgar, and he's always improved. I think he can defeat him whenever they do meet again.

Welterweight, 170: George St. Pierre

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    George St. Pierre is one of the most dominant UFC fighters of all time and has avenged both of his losses, to Matt Serra and Matt Hughes, respectively. He has dominated all-time greats such as Hughes and BJ Penn, and has nearly cleared out his entire division.

    On this one, I'm not sure that there is anyone who can defeat him. The only relevant fighters in the Welterweight division that he hasn't beaten are Anthony Johnson, Nate Marquardt, Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit, and Dong Hyun Kim.

    One of them hasn't even fought in the division. Anthony Johnson has good wrestling, solid striking, but wouldn't be able to stop the takedowns, in my opinion.

    Condit has the potential, but he hasn't fought in so long, that I doubt he'll be fresh enough for St. Pierre any time soon. Kim is a good fighter who is undefeated in his career, but I expect him to lose to Condit and eventually fall to gatekeeper status.

    The only one left is the man he's scheduled to fight next. And the idea that Nick Diaz can beat Rush is purely childish. There's no chance. He has never defeated a top-ten fighter, and stylistically, would be a horrible matchup against St. Pierre.

    There would be just no chance, as far as I'm concerned. And while this is MMA, and crazy things happen all the time...I seriously have my doubts on that one.

    There are young, talented fighters who are coming up such as Rick Story. But I don't think St. Pierre has any legitimate contenders left in the division that will beat him.

Middleweight, 185: Anderson Silva

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    Now moving onto the hands-down greatest UFC fighter of all-time, Anderson "The Spider" Silva. He is on a 13-fight win streak, and holds the records for longest UFC win streak, and most title defenses.

    He has a black belt in Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo, and is even a yellow rope in Capoeira. Not to mention his prowess as a Muay Thai fighter, which while unranked, is probably on the level of black belt as well.

    Even though it is most likely that no one will defeat him, we must give a review of the options he has to fight.

    He is currently scheduled to fight Yushin Okami in a rematch of Silva's Rumble on the Rock Disqualification loss. I believe that Okami has the wrestling ability to get Silva down and the submission defense not to pull a Sonnen and get put in a triangle.

    While he probably isn't the very best fighter Anderson has faced, I believe he presents the biggest challenge of current options.

    Other than Okami, Silva has seemingly defeated every fighter near the top of the division, and with Marquardt moving down to 170, there goes another quality option. For now, we can only look forward to the future, with a fighter such as Chris Weidman.

    Weidman has the overall game to be a contender right now, and over time will only get better, seeing as he is only 27 years of age.

    His ground game is incredible with a strong wrestling base to complement his purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu, while his standup is very crisp as well. In his last fight at UFC 131, he submitted Jesse Bongfeldt via a Guillotine that looked like it might just live up to its name.

    I am also a huge fan of Brian Stann, and I believe he actually has the best chance at unseating Anderson Silva as the top dog at 185.

    He is SO powerful for the division that I think he might be arguably the strongest fighter there. Not to mention he is incredibly skilled as a fighter in general.

    I look forward to his development and waiting to see how much long Silva decides to fight before he finally retires.

Light Heavyweight, 205: Jon Jones

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    Jon Jones is easily the most dominant fighter in MMA right now. He has defeated everyone put in front of him with ease, excluding a Disqualification loss to Hamill (in which he was dominating anyway). He recently admitted that his biggest "weakness" is his Jiu-Jitsu game.

    Honestly, I look at that more as his least-incredible strength. With his wrestling, natural strength and power, I highly doubt he would be submitted anyway.

    At this point in his career, it's more about looking for people to give him the biggest challenge. I honestly think that there are very few with the overall ability to defeat him many time soon.

    However, I do feel like Thiago Silva, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, a HEALTHY Rua, Phil Davis, and Ryan Bader can be a challenge for him.

    Silva may not have been clean, since his urine test from before the Brandon Vera fight came back not matching human DNA. Of course, he could just literally be a beast, but I think it's more likely that he was juicing. Despite this, I think he has the skills and natural athletic ability to bring a challenge to Jones.

    Evans and Machida both have run on some hard luck as of late, but they also have a great skillset that might be difficult for Jones to handle. Not to mention Shogun Rua, who was clearly not in his best shape when fighting "Bones" and has never been at his best coming off a long layoff.

    As for Bader and Davis, I think they need more time to develop, but have the potential to bring Jones down.

Heavyweight, 265: Cain Velasquez

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    Cain Velasquez is the current Heavyweight champion, and last defeated Brock Lesnar at UFC 121. He is 9-0 and has never lost a round in Mixed Martial Arts competition.

    He even beat my beloved Brock Lesnar so violently that he tore his own rotator cuff. This is the reason he hasn't fought since that last bout with Lesnar and the cause of all this commotion for the No. 1 contender spot.

    I honestly don't see a whole lot of fighters who pose much of a threat to Cain in the near future. There are up-and-comers such as Dave Herman, but they all have at least a year or two before they can compete with him.

    Really, the only fighters I see being any threat to him in the UFC ONLY are Junior Dos Santos and Brock Lesnar, if he can get healed up and learn to take a hit.

    Before his bout with Shane Carwin, I wasn't overly impressed with Junior Dos Santos. I thought he had a mediocre gas tank and while he could destroy your face with a single shot, wouldn't be great on the ground. However, he disproved that by completely obliterating "The Engineer" at UFC 131 a few weeks ago.

    He stuffed most of the takedowns and when eh was brought down, immediately got back to his feet. Standing, he was a monster and mercilessly abused Carwin, which you can see by making a quick Google Images search of "Shane Carwin Face." He even managed to take Shane down multiple times near the end and looked great doing it.

    I now am a firm believer that he has the best chance of anyone at defeating the AKA Camp product for the title.

    And just a small mention of the fact that Jon Jones will most likely have to move up eventually. If he does, I think that will really shake up the division.

In Conclusion

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    This list was created off of the knowledge that all things come to an end eventually. This is also a revised addition of an older article I wrote about eight months ago. If you would like to see how wrong I was then, you can follow the link here:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/480049-passing-the-torch-the-next-title-holder-for-every-division-in-the-ufc-w-video

    Anyway, thank you for reading! Please feel free to comment, like, share, or look through my other articles in the archives.

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