State of the Divisions: Part 1.
First off, let me announce that we are going to be doing our pick’em shows a bit differently, with the massive expansion of the MMA roster of the UFC, I personally just do not have the time to go in a research the 2-3 debuting fighters on each show, especially when there is going to be a half dozen guys cut after every card as well, I’m sure guys like Joao can, but to be honest, I still love my NFL, NBA and the unpaid minor leagues, not to mention the fact that there are a half dozen minor league MMA promotions a quick drive from my house.
So what we have come up with is we are splitting up the divisions, each writer will take a division or two to concentrate on and hopefully be more of an expert on, as we are unpaid (for now) its not exactly right to expect Collin to spend his weekends watching 15 hours straight of the Smashes season II for a roundtable, while Joao has been watching the show weekly as it came on. Hopefully going forward if you have a question about some 12-1 185er that is coming to the UFC, Roni has seen him fight once or twice on Youtube, and we can all look to him for expert opinion.
I am going to be taking on the Heavyweights and the Light Heavyweights, since those two don’t have a ton of fights right now in the UFC. I also come from a boxing background, so the big guys are the ones I like. Since no one had any objections. MINE!
What I plan on doing is giving a bit of a breakdown of where I see the Divisions and where they might be going in the future. Let me also state this is not a RANKING of the divisions, in a world where Sonnen got back to back title shots in two divisions, Diaz get a shot over Hendricks, Fitch looked like he was going to have to win 20 fights to get a rematch, its obvious that Frank Mir will get another title shot before Barnett, no matter where they are ranked.
So with the New Year- Lets get to the January Status!
Champion: Cain Velasquez
After a DOMINATING win to re-take the title, Cain enters the first breakdown well ahead of everyone else, and just looks unreal going forward. Brown Pride might be back, and in a big way.
Junior dos Santos
Looking to rebuild, and lets be honest, there is no better fight Dana loves more than the third one. Cain got a rematch after 1 fight, If Cain beats Overeem, and possible Werdum, we could see JDS getting a rematch after 1 fight as well.
Daniel Cormier – Jan 12 – Dion Staring
All he needs to do is win, he can’t allow himself to play around after winning the Grand Prix. He’s Cain’s teammate, so he might be looked at as the Jardine to Cain’s Rashad, until they simply have to fight. I do think that Jon Jones might be an eventual opponent, but for this month, just win vs an overmatched opponent, keep talking junk to force Mir into a UFC debut fight, and wait on the title.
Alistair Overeem – Feb 2 – Antonio Silva
Nothing for January, but Bigfoot is tailor-made to give him an impressive win. He is obviously looking at the next title shot, he’s going to be hoping no one gets hurt and he won’t have to fight Cormier.
Fabricio Werdum – June 23 – Mike Russow
With Mir out, Werdum is looking like the next WTF title challenger, the best bet is looking at Cain in a Wrestler vs Ju-Ju specialist.
Frank Mir -
Has no chance at a title shot again, but is going to be constantly looked at as a title gatekeeper.
The only man to take JDS into deep waters, and is more popular that most guys on this list, he is only good matchmaking away from a title shot. If he can keep knocking out out lower talented fighters, he can get in there when no one is left, all he needs to do is avoid Cain, Cormier and Overeem. He needs to fight and beat Carwin, and he could end up with a title shot with his win streak.
Josh Barnett – Jan 12 – Nandor Guelmino
Needs a good fight to get into the UFC, unless Dana lets him in, he could be looking at Japan. The Loss to Cormier really hurt his UFC chances. I do think he could be a great opponent for Roy Nelson or Mir, and Werdum would be a facinating opponent as well. Barnett has been out of the UFc and his Strikeforce run avoided many guys, so his matchup possibilities are endless, and I still want Josh/Nog III
Bigfoot Silva – Feb 2 – Alistair Overeem
Has to rebuild after Cain. Overeem can KO him as well. A second KO loss in obliterating fashion can wipe out all the Fedor-killer Love in the UFC’s eyes and make him the bigger Pat Barry.
Stefan Struve – March 3 – Mark Hunt
Is still improving, and still gaining fans. Still in the “freakshow” level
Mark Hunt – March 3 – Stefan Struve
On a 3-fight winning streak, Hunt is overly popular with fans, but with his age and limited skillset, he is doing his best to capitalize his fame.
On a 3-1 streak, turned down a fight with Cormier, and is quickly losing steam as a fan favorite.
Ben Rothwell – Jan 19 – Gabriel Gonzaga
On a win-one-lose-one streak, Rothwell is a good UFC gatekeeper.
Also popular, but also VERY limited.
Gabriel Gonzaga – Jan 19 – Ben Rothwell
Remember when he fought for a title? Me Neither. This only shows how far the division has come.
Lost badly to Roy Nelson but is a popular fighter to both the brass and the fans. His age might stop him from doing anything, but almost always comes to brawl, and if you don’t watch, can sneak a shin to your dome.
First loss on his record, has to rebuild.
Brandon Schaub – Feb 23 – Levar Johnson
Needs to win here to stay relevant.
Jan 12th Stikeforce: Final
Daniel Cormier vs. Dion Staring
Josh Barnett vs. Nandor Guelmino
Jan 19 – UFC on FX
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ben Rothwell
Jan 26th – UFC on Fox
Mike Russow vs. Shawn Jordan
Well, thats my January breakdown of the Heavyweights, and to be honest, it might not be the 155ers, but the roster is much deeper than it used to be.
Thoughts and requests are always welcome. Anything I need to add, let me know.
I’ll be back next week with the 205ers.