How Would Bellator Champions Fare in the UFC?

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2012

How Would Bellator Champions Fare in the UFC?

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    Season 6 of Bellator is in full swing, with tournaments beginning to take shape and championships switching hands. Out of all this, I got to wondering how well each champion would fare in the UFC.

    Currently, Bellator has seven weight class championships, which is what the UFC has, minus the flyweight class.

    Let's examine how each champion would do.

Bantamweight: Eduardo Dantas

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    Eduardo Dantas is the newest Bellator champion, submitting Zack Makovsky this weekend to claim the belt.

    Dantas is a very skilled fighter and a prospect who has been on my radar for some time. Dantas is very well-rounded, especially for a young fighter. He combines powerful striking and a knowledgeable ground game to win fights.

    Matchups with other young fighters like Michael McDonald or challenging wrestlers like Scott Jorgensen could show how versatile the young Brazilian is.

    How he'd fare

    I personally believe that Dantas could challenge any of the top 10 bantamweights in the UFC. At this point, I don't think he could beat Dominick Cruz, Urijah Faber or Renan Barao, but give him time, and he might be able to do so.

Featherweight: Pat Curran

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    Another guy whom I have been very high on for some time, Pat Curran is ready for the big show. He has proven it by beating some of the toughest featherweights in the world. But, there are few tougher than the UFC featherweights.

    Curran has developed to be such a well-rounded fighter who has showcased his devastating striking in recent bouts. Add to that his already polished wrestling background and a solid submission game, and you have yourself a threat in any division.

    How he'd fare

    Curran is a top featherweight in the world; there is no doubt about that. With Jeff Curran training him, the sky is the limit.

    I can see him being a title challenger pretty quickly if he made the jump to the UFC, which is saying something as the featherweight division is tough.

Lightweight: Michael Chandler

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    Michael Chandler has quickly emerged from the shadows and made a name for himself with his win over Eddie Alvarez. Chandler is now one of the most talked-about lightweights in the MMA world.

    Chandler is a very skilled wrestler who holds a great arsenal of submissions and ground striking. His stand-up game is still developing, but given time, it could be a lot better. His overall game provides a stern test against whomever he faces.

    How he'd fare

    Chandler would be walking into an extremely difficult division, so he would have to work his way up. I could see him beating guys in the middle to lower part of the division, but would run into problems with top-15 guys.

    Given some time to grow, I could definitely see him developing into a contender one day.

Welterweight: Ben Askren

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    Ben Askren has definitely been one of the most dominant champions in Bellator to this point, but he would suffer in the UFC's welterweight division.

    The big-mouth champion is a one-dimensional wrestler who wins decisions. He claims to have brutal ground-and-pound, but that is really yet to be seen. His submission game is decent at best, showing that Askren still needs much improvement.

    How he'd fare

    Askren would not do well in the UFC until he learned how to finish. He does well in Bellator because a lot of the fighters do not have the skills and backgrounds that UFC welterweights have.

    Yes, Askren would have better wrestling than most UFC welterweights, but they have great MMA wrestling and all-around games to complement it.

Middleweight: Hector Lombard

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    Hector Lombard has been ready for the big show for some time now, and it may just be a matter of time before it happens.

    Lombard is a big, strong middleweight with great power and size. His striking is lethal, and he has a solid grappling background and has a judo black belt as his backup. 

    Once his contract is up, there is a good chance he makes the switch to the UFC. There are much better fights for him to take than in Bellator.

    How he'd fare

    Lombard would be an immediate contender. He would probably be fed a mid-tier fighter whom he would manhandle. Then, he would probably face a top guy who would give him a challenge.

    Lombard has the opportunity to be a top middleweight in the UFC that he needs to take immediately. 

Light Heavyweight: Christian M'Pumbu

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    I like Christian M'Pumbu. Let me get that off my chest. He is a very good fighter, with a killer instinct and devastating power.

    That being said, he needs to develop his game.

    He lost a non-title fight to Travis Wiuff recently that in any other promotion would not have been a non-title fight, meaning he would have lost his belt.

    M'Pumbu is a talented, athletic fighter. He needs to continue to work hard on his game that, if properly managed by a reputable trainer, could bring him great success.

    How he'd fare

    Sadly, M'Pumbu would be in the lowest ranks of the light heavyweight division. There are too many well-rounded, extremely skilled light heavyweights that would destroy M'Pumbu. He could grab a fight night bonus or two, though.

Heavyweight: Cole Konrad

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    Cole Konrad is another guy like Ben Askren who is a pure wrestler with limited abilities.

    I will give him credit: his submission game is definitely a lot better than that of Ben Askren.

    Konrad is a dominating wrestler with a smothering top game. He has decent ground striking to go along with a solid submission game, but if he stays on the feet too long, he is almost like a fish out of water.

    He does have solid training partners though that could continue to develop himself as a respectable fighter.

    How he'd fare

    Konrad would probably linger toward the low-mid tier of the division. There are so many good heavyweights in the division that would put him away, but there are definitely winnable fights for Konrad.