I Have Another Idea Dana White…

It seems obvious that UFC is attempting to market worldwide.  They have choosen their venues wisely for fights and they have been strategic business moves.  Dana White may be stubborn, but he is a brilliant busisness mind.  He has marketed well in Canada, with an expected fight there in April.  No doubt Georges St. Pierre will be on that card win or loose against Matt Hughes.  I would say Dana has a dream of St. Pierre vs. Serra for the title in Canada.  St. Pierre has to beat Hughes first.  He has marketed very well in England, with England’s love for Michael Bisping helping him out.  Perhaps Roger Huerta’s plea after beating Guida for a fight night in Mexico will come true.  I would almost bet that there will be a fight in Mexico in 2008.  Possibly a title shot for Roger Huerta? So, I admit it is brilliant to market MMA worldwide.  I would suggest to Dana two ideas.  One, a fight night in Brazil.  Perhaps later in the year.  Assume with me Anderson Silva beats Dan Henderson, let him fight fellow Brazlian Paulo Filho.  It would be a good chance to market the UFC in Brazil with some of the other Brazilian fighters (Wanderlai, Thiago Silva, Lyoto Machida, Gabriel Gonzaga, Nogueira, etc.)  Not only that, but pit them against your mopre exciting American fighters, perhaps they can win over some fans.  Look for Brazil to be a fight locale in Fall or Winter of 2008.   My grand idea…I know there are legal issues behind selecting a locations, but suppose with me you could get a fight in Europe, more specifically Eastern Europe, maybe Russia.  You remember the scene in ther Rocky movie don’t you?  The Russian crowd, the monster Russian, the communist Russian leaders, the passionate speech by Rocky calling people to change.  What a moment.  I know that was the movies and that was boxing and that was 20 years ago.  Imagine a main event of: Mirko “Cro Cop” from Croatia vs. Andei “the Pitbull” Arlovski, from Belarus.   That would be a cool fight.  Plus, Dana, you have to get Arlovski back in the octagon.  He has a huge fan base, is a great fighter, too good to loose to another organization, as a few organizations are a few good fighters away from competiting seriously (WEC, M1, EliteXC, and even K1). There is my new idea for the week.  It was free for you Mr. White, but one day I will charge for all my brilliant ideas. 

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Who can beat Anderson Silva?

UFC’s middleweight divison is the weakest divison with the strongest champion.  So the title picture at middlewight is not bright.  Can anyone beat Anderson Silva?  I would say yes, but there aren’t many who can.  The middleweight division is tough and UFC is making an effort to remedy it.  The next Ultimate Fighter will feature middleweights, but I doubt any will seriously be able to contend any time soon.  Michael Bisping is dropping down to 185, he is good and will be a top 5 guy in middleweight, but not the top middleweight.  If Matt Hammil could rock him standing up, Anderson Silva would destroy him.  I am glad to see Dan Henderson dropping to fight Anderson, makes for another good unifcation bout.  I will rank my middleweights according to who has the best chance of beating Anderson Silva and in my opinion unlike the light heavyweight divison they should line up to beat Anderson Silva.  Again, this is not the same as my rankings.  My UFC middleweight rankins would be: 1. Anderson Silva 2. Dan Henderson 3. Rich Franklin 4. Yushin Okami 5. Michael Bisping.  Prior to Bisping and Hendo dropping the top four always included Silva, Franklin, Okami and McDonald, but none of them could challenge Anderson.  In fact there is a huge gap between Anderson and Rich and then Rich and the rest of the pack.  Poor Franklin is between a rock and a hard place.  He won’t get another title shot until Anderson is dethroned.  So here are my guys most likely to be Anderson Silva. 

1. Paulo Filho.  Some content Filho is the best middleweight in the world even ahead of Anderson Silva.  They are great friends and don’t want to fight.  I believe the fight would be great and translate to big bucks.  I’d love to see Paulo move over from WEC to the UFC.  Since both are Zuffa owned will his contract allow him to fight in UFC?  This to me would be one of the most anticipated fight in MMA.  If Silva wins and Filho looses in WEC anytime soon look for the move. 

2. Dan Henderson.  Dan is better at middleweight then light heavyweight.  I think he can beat Anderson.  he has to have a good night and Anderson has to have a bad night.  Dan showed against Rampage he could take a hit, but he has to be more aggressive then he was against Rampage.  He has to stun Silva to beat him.  I look forward to their match and I look forward to seeing Dan at middleweight.   He may take the belt. 

3. Matt Lindland.  Rumor us he has been talking to Dana White about a return to the UFC.  He wants to fight Anderson.  I think Dana needs to put his pride aside and sign a top 3 middleweight in the world.  I don’t know if Lindland can beat Silva, but he is a serious contender, and would be a good boost for the middleweight divison.  If he can’t beat Silva at least it would be some competition to the 2-10 spots in the divison.

4. Denis Kang.  He is a fantastic fighter who has a great resume and has fought some of the best, but I think he is a long shot, but nevertheless I would love to see him in the UFC

5. Matt Hughes.  Matt mentioend going up to fight Silva.  It could happen.  Matt has the rapport to get the fight if he wants it, but size may hurt him.  If he could ground and pound Anderson he may win, but I believe Anderson’s clinch and stand up is too much for one of my favorite fighters. 

6. Robbie Lawler. I would love to see Lawler back in the UFC.  Was his stint as a coach with Matt Hughes a starting point.  I don’t see him laying down his EliteXC belt though, and don’t see him loosing it.  I think he could really compete here.  He is a hard hitter, however he may get knocked out.  If Nick Diaz can knock him out I imagine Anderson Silva could too. 

7. B.J. Penn This would be a huge move up for B.J.  He can get the weight class, but I don’t know if he can beat Anderson.  I am a B.J. Penn fan, and on the ground he could contend, but does he have the desire to do it?  I have heard talks of it, but this one I dount will ever materialize.  Now, I believe we could see B.J. fight for the welterweight belt again some time in 2008 or 2009, but he would have to get in line behind Matt Serra, Jon Fitch and Karo Parisyan. 

8. Yushin Okami.  He hold a win over Anderson Silva, but he didn’t beat Anderson Silva.  Okami is a big guy, but that won’t beat Anderson Silva.  I wouldn’t mind the fight being booked, but Okami needs to beat one or two more quality guys before he gets a title shot.  He may not be very exciting, but he has been effective in the UFC, so perhaps he has earned his shot. 

9. Ninja Rua. Okay, I would much rather see Shogun move down to fight Anderson, but Ninja is a good fighter even though he lost to Lawler.  He is a legit top ten middleweight.  I’d like to see him in the UFC regardless and think he could be a good fighter in there and on a lucky day maybe he could get the best of Anderson Silva.  Now Shogun vs. Anderson would be exciting. 

10. Rich Franklin. He is the #2 or #3 middleweight in the world still, but we have been there and done that. Rich has pushed his luck with Anderson and should be thanking God that he survived two fights with Silva.  One more he may be done.   

It will never happen, but I woudl love to see one of those fights where Fedor fights a middleweight.  Fedor killed Matt Lindland and I suspect he would be Anderson Silva.  That is it!  Notice I didn’t even include “Twinkle Toes” Trigg or “Mayhem” Miller as I don’t see they have a shot.  There are some other guys who may get a chance guys like Nate Quarry.  Anderson has already beat all your other middleweights in the UFC worth anything (Leben, Marquardt, and Lutter).  Well if Dan Henderson can’t beta him and if Dana can’t get Filho or Lindland to fight him look for a long reign for Silva. 

Title Picture at UFC’s Light Heavyweight Divison

Okay, so what does the title picture look like at the light heavyweight division.  We know the champ and who is considered the number one contender.  I will rank the guys in order of who deserves a title shot.  Obviously, they are not going to just line up an go in this order, some will get knocked off.  Also, this is different from my rankings, I don’t think for example, Forrest Griffin in the second best UFC light heavyweight.

1. Quinton Rampage Jackson

2. Forrest Griffin

3. Wanderlai Silva

4. Thiago Silva

5. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

6. Lyoto Machida

7. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

8. Keith Jardine

9. Chuck Liddell

10. Rashad Evans

11. Tito Ortiz

12. Dan Henderson

13. Houston Alexander

 If my line of thinking is anywhere near that of Dana White the Wanderlia Silva/Chuck Liddell fight has huge implications.  Chuck can move up some, not enough to fight for the title, but if he wins, maybe even if he loses I think he will get Jardine again.  Sokodjou and Machida fight has huges implication as the winner may be one fight away from a title shot. I’d like to see Thiago Silva and Shogun fight with the winner getting the Sokoudjou/Machida winner. And the winner of that fight getting the Griffin/Jackson winner.  Looks as if they are 6-10 guys lined up for a chance at the belt.  Could a Griffin win equate a Shogun rematch instantly?  I believe a Jackson win and a Wanderlai win would make an instant chance for Rampage to avenge his two losses to Wanderlai.   He wants to beat those former PRIDE guys and prove something to them.  By the way, hasn’t the UFC done a beautiful job cleaning out PRIDE’s light heavyweight division?

My UFC 79 Predictions

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On paper UFC 79: Nemesis looks like one of the best fight cards of the year.  There are at least three main-event worthy fights on this card and I am excited about this fight night.  I will slowly work on my predictions as I am tired of eating crow.

Doug Evans vs. Mark Bocek

I am gonna pick Doug Evans simply because he fought Roger Huerta and went past round one.  Perhaps no logic in the pick, but I am going with my gut.  Evans by unanimous decison. 

Roan Carneiro vs. Tony DeSouza

These guys careers are fairl similar.  Both have a good win this past year.  Roan beat Clementi and DeSouza beat Hazelett.  Both are coming off losses.  Roan to Jon Fitch and Tony to Thiago Alves.  I think Roan Carneiro’s experience will be the edge.  He has fought some quality guys.  Carneiro by submission.

Dean Lister vs. Jordan Radev

Radev got killed by Drew McFedries.  I think Dean Lister will win this fight and win it by submission.  I look for this to be the submission of the night.

Manny Gamburyan vs. Nate Mohr

Manny is a good fighter.  I will pick Manny, but this is all hinging on how his injury has healed.  The last guy he fought named “Nate” he was beating until he hurt his shoulder.  Manny will have trained hard and prepared well for this fight.  I assume he wants to prove himself here.  Nate Mohr is not a push over though.  This is Manny’s big chance.  I pick Manny by split decision.

Eddie Sanchez vs. Soa Palalei

I pick Sanchez, who was the one to be greet Cro Cop into the UFC.  Palalei is unproven.  If this wasn’t for having Liddell and Silva on the card this could be knockout of the night.  I look for a first round TKO.

Rich Clementi vs. Melvin Guillard

Melvin Guillard is dangerous, if you don’t believe me ask Gabe Rudeiger or watch the knock out to Gabe’s abs.  However, I think Clementi will be in better shape.  Guillard can be good, but I don’t think he wants it.  I pick Clementi in a second round stoppage.

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Lyoto Machida

This one is interesting to me.  I got to give Dana props for landing Sokoujou.  Dana has landed most of the most popular pride guys (Big Nog, Dan Henderson, Cro Cop, Wanderlai, and Shogun).  Sokoudjou is still unproven because he hasn’t fought many guys.  He beat Nogueira and Arona, which is huge.  I say this will be fight of the night.  This is the hardest pick for me, because I believe these guys are top ten UFC light heavyweights and this fight has as much title contention implications as the other light heavyweight fight, maybe even more so.  I think the winner will be in line to face the Griffin/Jackson winner or worst case scenario one fight away.  Machida is impressive.  Sokoudjou is dynamic.  I refuse to make a definite pick.  If it ends in round one Sokoudjou will be the winner, if not then I suspect Machida will be.  I have to say that Sokoujou is where I am leaning and he has definite star power in the UFC with some crazy kick boxing skills a la Cro Cop. 

Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlai Silva

Being billed as the most anticipated fight in MMA history.  3 years ago would have been a better fight.  Chuck is on his way down I think, don’t get me wrong he has knockout power and he has something to prove coming off of two losses, but Silva is coming off of two losses also.  A win for Chuck may get him another chance at Jardine, a loss throws him way down the mix for the title.  A win for Wanderlai may mean he is fighting the Sokodjou/Machida winner for the Griffin/Jackson winner.  I think Wanderlai is a harder worker and a better trained fighter, he is more well rounded.  Chuck can knock him out any time.  Wanderlai should have learned something about kicks from Keith Jardine.  I think we will see Wanderlai Silva hurting Chuck in round one.  Knockout of the night.  The one disadvanatge is PRIDE guys haven’t faired well yet in the octagon.  However, look for Chuck’s confused, just been KO’d face. 

Matt Hughes vs. Georges St. Pierre

Perhaps this is wishful thinking.  TUF made me a Hughes fan.  He has tons of character.  St. Pierre is tough.  I am picking Hughes against my better judgment. I want Hughes to win so he can hurt Serra and take his belt.  Cardio won’t be a probelm for either guy.  The lack of training may hurt St. Pierre.  Hughes seems awful occupied with other things also.  I think if Hughes can get the fight on the ground and work for another submission then he can win.  Hughes via submission in round 4.

WEC fighters

I have to believe that next to the UFC the WEC has the best fighters.  They have 10 guys that are great fighters.  I wonder how would the WEC stars stack up against UFC stars.  Let us look at the title holders and see where they would rank in their perspective divisions.

Light Heavyweight Champ Doug Marshall

I don’t think Marshall could contend in the UFC at the light heavyweight divison.  He is a good fighter and seems to have to problems holding his WEC belt, but he would maybe be a #15 rank at UFC.  He would be in the mix of that deep division, but he would start way back and have to prove himself.  I don’t see him being able to beat people like Jackson, Griffin, Shogun, Liddell, Silva, Machida, Alexander, Sokodjou.  He may be able to match well with a Jardine like guy.  He could have a good night against any of the above, but overall I would rank him as a Bisping level light heavyweight, which isn’t bad.

Middleweight Champ Paulo Filho

Some have argued for Paulo Filho to be the best Middleweight in the world even ahead fo Anderson Silva.  The two are great friends and I know they are hesitant to fight, but I would love to see them fight.  I believe Filho would get an immediate title shot in the UFC and win, loose or draw is a top two middleweight in the UFC, with Rich Franklin still a ways off.  I was disappointed with Filho’s last win.  He looked unimpressive, especailly standing.  I have no problem with that fight beign called. Sonnen’s arm was going to break otherwise.  Nevertheless, Filho pulled out a win.  He is the WEC fighter that could really contend in the UFC, and maybe the best guy in the world to challenge Anderson Silva for the title. 

Welterweight Champ Carlos Condit

“The Natural Born Killer”.  Condit is good.  How good?  I am not sure.  I do believe he would be okay in the UFC.  I don’t believe his time to shine would be instant.  He would right now rank at 7 or 8 in the UFC welterweight divison, which is deep.  He would be behind: Hughes, St. Pierre, Serra, Fitch, Parisyan, and Koscheck.  Perhaps him and Diego Sanchez would be a good match up.  I place him on Diego’s level, maybe with a slight edge going to Condit.  He will only improve.  I’d lvoe to see him in the UFC

Lightweight Champ Rob Mccullough

Least likely of all the champs to contend I think. The “razor” is good, and dominates WEC.  He woukd be a top ten, but barely.  I don’t see him being able to beat a Sherk, Penn or Stevenson.  Really I don;t see him beating  an Edgar, Lauzon, Thomas or Franca.  He is exciting to watch though and he can pack a punch. 

Featherweight Champ Urijah Faber

Faber is the star and face of the WEC.  The WEC needs Faber to do well.  The UFC has no 145 division.  I wonder if Faber could move up to 155.  If so I believe he would be a seriosu contender in the UFC.  I think he is that good.  He is the one guy the WEC can’t affor to lose.  The other option is for the UFC to make a 145 lb division.  Assume with me that you start it with some of the WEC stars and you alread have a strong 3-5 fighters.  Perhaps have Faber, Pulver, Swanson, Curran, Micah Miller, and Chase Beebee.  If I was Dana White I would be seeing green with that idea.  The UFC and WEC are not necesarily competitors as both are Zuffa owned, but Dana should see the Faber market and find a way to get him to the UFC.

Bantaweight Champ Chase Bebee

The same as above, his only hope for UFC would  be to add serious weight and go to 155 or to jump to 145 if the UFC started a featherweight division.  I believe Chase could do well.  Faber good?  Maybe not, but he is a fighter and will not quit.  I like Chase, he will hold the bantaweight title for a while.

 Yes, some of the WEC fighters can content in the UFC, but I think the UFC is still superior.  I believe Jen Pulver is case in point.  I thought Cub Swanson was going to make quick work of Pulver, but it happened the other way around.  Perhaps Swanson got caught and Pulver got lucky, or perhaps that shows what an average UFC fighter can do in another place. 

Since I am full of suggestions to Dana White, I think it would be cool to have one whole UFC fight card called “UFC vs. WEC”  Put the champs against the champs.  Offer big contracts to WEC fighters who can take the belt.  I would go nuts over such a card.  In addition you could try Faber against one of the UFC’s best lightweights…vision the card with me for a second…

Rampage Jackson vs Doug “Rhino” Marshall

Anderson Silva vs Paulo Filho

Hughes/St. Pierre vs Carlos Condit

Penn/Stevenson vs Rob McCullough

Sherk, Penn or Stevenson vs Urijah Faber

Dana, if you need to hire a guy full of idea that will make your wallet fat, just drop me a line.