UFC: One Fighter from Each Division Who Has the Tools to Beat the Current Champ

Hunter Homistek@HunterAHomistekCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2012

UFC: One Fighter from Each Division Who Has the Tools to Beat the Current Champ

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    The UFC is studded with dominant champions.  

    Names like Jose Aldo, Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and Junior dos Santos have ruled their respective divisions for years, and none of them show signs of slowing down.

    That said, MMA is a sport of matchups. One does not necessarily need to be a better fighter to defeat the champ; he just needs the perfect skill set and mentality to unseat the king.  

    Let us take a look at one fighter from each division who has the tools to defeat his division's current kingpin.  

Bantamweight: Renan Barao

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    Current Champion: Dominick Cruz

    How He Can Win: 

    Renan Barao is a tough test for any bantamweight in the world, including current champion Dominick Cruz.  

    While Cruz is a phenomenal fighter in his own right, Barao has the quickness and variety of attack necessary to dethrone "The Dominator." 

    As he showed against Urijah Faber at UFC 149, Barao has phenomenal takedown defense and cardio, both areas of need to defeat Cruz.  

    Add in Barao's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and devastating kicks, and it is clear that Cruz will have his hands full should he face Barao in his return bout from injury.  

Featherweight: Charles Oliveira

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    Current Champion: Jose Aldo

    How He Can Win:

    Charles Oliveira first burst onto the national radar as a lightweight at UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko in August 2010, where he submitted Darren Elkins by first-minute armbar.  

    From there, Oliveira defeated former The Ultimate Fighter winner Efrain Escudero in similarly impressive fashion before faltering against top competition in Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone.  

    Now reborn as a featherweight, Oliveira has recaptured his brilliance of old, and he could be a threat to champion Jose Aldo with his length, technical strikes and aggressive ground game.  

    He is one of few featherweights who would be able to handle Aldo's size, but whether he could handle Aldo's speed and power is a different question.  

    Aldo is undeniably on a different level at featherweight, but I like Oliveira's jiu-jitsu and range as valuable tools in a potential matchup with the 145-pound champ.  

Lightweight: Anthony Pettis

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    Current Champion: Benson Henderson

    How He Can Win: 

    Anthony Pettis is the only fighter on this list who actually has beaten the champion, so to say he has the tools to do it again is a safe bet.  

    Pettis is a bad stylistic matchup for Henderson, as he can avoid his takedowns and out-strike him with his crisp kicks and punches.

    Oh, and it does not hurt when you can fly off the cage and land kicks like a ninja.   

Welterweight: Carlos Condit

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    Current Champion: Georges St. Pierre

    How He Can Win:

    Carlos Condit is one of the most well-rounded welterweights in the world, and it takes a fighter with no holes to defeat current champion Georges St. Pierre. 

    Condit has more powerful striking than the champ and a more dangerous ground game once the fight hits the mat, both important advantages in a potential matchup. 

    Admittedly, Condit's weakest area is his takedown defense, while wrestling is GSP's bread and butter), but I like his aggressive style and ability to carry out a smart gameplan in his matchup with the Canadian superstar.  

    In a division where the champion is leaps and bounds ahead of everybody else, I see Condit as the man with the tools to end what has been a most dominant run.  

Middleweight: Chris Weidman

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    Current Champion: Anderson Silva

    How He Can Win:

    Do not get me wrong here: Chris Weidman is not better than Anderson Silva, no fighter in the world is.

    That in mind, Weidman is the worst possible matchup for Silva inside the Octagon. With his otherworldly wrestling and savvy submission game, Weidman is like Chael Sonnen with a knack for finishes, and that is dangerous for Silva. 

    While Anderson Silva is unquestionably the best fighter of all time, Weidman has the perfect style to thrash "The Spider's" invincible web.  

Light Heavyweight: Lyoto Machida

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    Current Champion: Jon Jones

    How He Can Win:

    Like Aldo, GSP, Silva and Junior dos Santos, Jon Jones will be the huge favorite in any fight. He has been dominant like few others, and he is stellar wherever a fight goes.  

    That said, Machida laid down a blueprint to defeating Jones in his first encounter with the champ before succumbing to Jones's deadly guillotine choke in the second round.  

    With his darting karate style and serious knockout power, Machida could confuse Jones just long enough to land a finishing blow and send "Bones" and his invincible aura to the canvas.   

    "The Dragon" has an standup advantage against any light heavyweight in the world, and if he can snug up his takedown defense, he could fight his fight against the champ and ride his punches and kicks to victory.

Heavyweight: Cain Velasquez

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    Current Champion: Junior dos Santos

    How He Can Win:

    Cain Velasquez was on the receiving end of a first-round knockout in his first encounter with Junior dos Santos, but that does not mean he cannot defeat him in a rematch. 

    Velasquez got caught, plain and simple, in their first matchup at UFC on Fox 1, but his wrestling and always improving boxing makes him a threat to any heavyweight in the world.  

    After brutally dismantling Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva at UFC 146, Velasquez finds himself in line for another shot at "Cigano."  

    This time around, expect to see Velasquez turn to his wrestling earlier and pin the champion on his back for the bout's duration. Once there, he can unleash his ground and pound and test dos Santos' heart and determination, something nobody has yet accomplished inside the Octagon.