Breaking Down the UFC Welterweight Division

The Champion: Georges St. Pierre

The Top Contender:  B.J. Penn & Thiago Alves

The Next Tier:

·         Jon Fitch

·         Josh Koscheck

·         Diego Sanchez

·         Karo Parisyan

·         Martin Kampmann

·         Mike Swick

·         Matt Hughes

·         Matt Serra

 

On the Rise: 

·         Yoshiyuki Yoshida

·         Dong Hyun Kim

·         Dan Hardy

·         Dustin Hazelett

 

Other Notables:

·         Marcus Davis

·         Chris Lytle

·         Yoshiyuki Yoshida

·         Chris Wilson

·         Dustin Hazelett

·         Ryo Chonan

·         Dong Hyun Kim

·         Akihiro Gono

·         Luigi Fiorvanti

·         Dan Hardy

·         Jonathan Goulet

·         Tamdan McCrory

·         Kevin Burns

·         Anthony Johnson

·         Rory Markham

·         Paul Taylor

·         Roan Carneiro

·         Brad Blackburn

·         Pete Sell

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Josh Koscheck vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Mike Swick vs. Jonathan Goulet at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Luigi Fiorvanti vs. Brodie Farber at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Ben Saunders vs. Brandon Wolff at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Steven Bruno vs. Johnny Rees at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns at TUF 8 Finale on December 13

·         Brad Blackburn vs. Ryo Chonan at UFC 92 on December 27

·         Marcus Davis vs. Chris Lytle at UFC 93 on January 17

·         B.J. Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94 on January 31 (For Title)

·         Jon Fitch vs. Akihiro Gono at UFC 94 on January 31

·         Karo Parisyan vs. Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 94 on January 31

·         Matt Arroyo vs. Dan Cramer at UFC 94 on January 31

·         Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra April 2009

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Dustin Hazelett vs. Chris Wilson

·         Martin Kampmann vs. Pete Sell

·         Thiago Alves vs. Georges St. Pierre/B.J. Penn

 

Other Thoughts:

·         When people talk about staked divisions they think of the UFC welterweight division.  The best welterweights are here.  There may be a handful of decent welterweights outside the UFC including Jake Shields, WEC’s Carlos Condit, Hayato Sakurai, Jay Hieron and Nick Thompson.

·         Jake Shields will likely land in the UFC.  That is what he wants and where he wants to be.  There are a lot of potential match ups here for him.

·         Thiago Alves will get a title shot in 2009 against the winner of Penn vs. St. Pierre.

·         Martin Kampmann signed a new contract and should fight at 170

·         B.J. Penn very well could become a fixture at 170 as he could vacate his lightweight title win or lose against St. Pierre.

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MMABlog’s Welterweight MMA Rankings

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Georges St. Pierre

UFC

Penn (LW #1) 1/31

2

Jon Fitch

UFC

 

3

Jake Shields

EliteXC?

 

4

Josh Koscheck

UFC

Alves (#5), 9/25

5

Thiago Alves

UFC

Koscheck (#4), 9/25

6

Carlos Condit

WEC

 

7

Diego Sanchez

UFC

 

8

Karo Parisyan

UFC

1/31

9

Matt Hughes

UFC

Serra (#10) 4/?

10

Matt Serra

UFC

Hughes (#9), 4/?

11

Mike Swick

UFC

Goulet (NR) 12/10

12

Marcus Davis

UFC

 

13

Hayato Sakurai

 

 

14

Nick Thompson

EliteXC?

 

15

Brock Larson

WEC

 

16

Chris Lytle

UFC

 

17

Jay Hieron

Affliction

 

18

Dustin Hazelett

UFC

McCrory (NR) 11/15

19

Chris Wilson

UFC

 

20

Yoshiyuki Yoshida

UFC

Koscheck (#4) 12/10

21

Dan Hardy

UFC

 

22

Ryo Chonan

UFC

Blackburn (NR), 12/27

23

Akihiro Gono

UFC

 

24

Dong Hyun Kim

UFC

 

25

Luigi Fiorvanti

UFC

Farber (NR), 12/10

Mid Year MMA Awards

Best Knockout

Honorable Mention: Luis Arthur Cane KO Jason Lambert, Shane Carwin KO Christian Wellish, Murilio Rua TKO Tony Bonello, Matt Wiman KO Thiago Tavares

5. Anthony Johnson KO Tommy Speer

4. Wilson Gouveia KO Jason Lambert

3. Brian Stann KO Doug Marshall

2. James Irvin KO Houston Alexander

1. Wanderlei Silva KO Keith Jardine

Best Submission

Honorable Mention: Antonio Nogueira submits Tim Sylvia by Guillotine, Yoshiyuki Yoshida submits Jon Koppenhaver by Anaconda choke, Nate Diaz submits Kurt Pellegrino, Cole Miller Submits Jorge Gurgel by Triangle Choke

5. Demian Mia Submits Ed Herman by Triangle Choke

4. Frank Mir Submits Brock Lesnar by Kneebar

3. Rousimar Palhares Submits Ivan Salaverry by Armbar

2. Dustin Hazelett Submits Josh Burkman by Armbar

1. Shinya Aoki Submits Katsuhiko Nagata by Aokiplata

Best Fight

Honorable Mention: Shinya Aoki vs. Gesias Calvancante, Cung Le vs. Frank Shamrock

5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Tim Sylvia

4. Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver

3. Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith

2. Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin

1. Miguel Torres vs. Yoshiro Maeda

Best Fight Card

5. WEC 34: Faber vs. Pulver

4. UFC 80: Rapid Fire

3. UFC 81: Breaking Point

2. DREAM 4

1. UFC 84: Ill Will

Upset of The Year:

Honorable Mention: Jason Day over Alan Belcher,

5. Thiago Alves over Karo Parisyan

4. Kevin Burns over Roan Carneiro

3. Fabricio Werdum over Gabriel Gonzaga

2. Josh Thomson over Gilbert Melendez

1. Forrest Griffin over Quinton Jackson

Fighter Of The Year:

Honorable Mention: Anderson Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Michael Bisping, Georges St. Pierre, Diego Sanchez

5. Miguel Torres

4. Forrest Griffin

3. Thiago Alves

2. Shinya Aoki

1. B.J. Penn (2 Impressive wins over Sean Sherk and Joe Stevenson)

Best UFC Newcomer:

Honorable Mention: Shane Carwin, Brock Lesnar

5. Rousimar Palhares

4. Dong Hyun Kim

3. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

2. Goran Reljic

1. Cain Velasquez

Worst Calls By A Ref. or Judges

5. Forrest Griffin over Quinton Jackson –  Not just that Forrest got the win, but that it was unanimous.  Many, including me scored the fight either a draw or to Jackson

4. Brandon Vera vs. Fabricio Werdum- Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight in round 1 when Werdum was mounted on Vera throwing down punches.  There was just 10 seconds remaining and Vera seemed to be defending himself well. 

3. Nate Marquardt vs. Thales Leites — Leites got the win, but lost the fight.  He lost the fight due to two points taken away from Marquardt.  One point was justified, but the other was due to elbow to the back of the ehad that wasn’t to the back of the head.  I will confess, that another point could have fairly been deducted for an illegal slam, but I hated to see Marquardt get a loss on his record that I feel he won

2. Phantom split decisions — How was Evan Tanner vs. Kendall Grove a split deicsion?  How was Heath Herring vs Cheick Kongo a split decision?  The right person got the decision, but how was it split?

1. Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson – Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight in the 3rd round while Thompson was still standing and failed to stop it when Thompson was mounted on Kimbo raining down elbows

My UFC 85: Bedlam Predictions

Matt Hughes vs. Thaigo “The Pitbull” Alves

This may at first look like a less than spectacular main event, however, I think this could be a good fight.  The story behind this fight is that Matt Hughes is the most dominant welterweight ever, but many say he is on his way down.  Meanwhile, Thiago Alves is on his way up.  Alves is coming off of a knockout win over Karo “The Heat” Parisyan.  Most people consider Alves a top ten welterweight in the world, however he was out classed and out of his league against Jon Fitch.  There is no doubt that Thiago has excellent striking ability.  However, I expect Matt Hughes to take Alves down and ground and pound him.  I don’t expect Alves to be able to get up agaisnt the bigger Hughes.  The worry for me about picking Hughes is first of all he has been busy lately with book signing and opening a new gym.  That could distract him.  Secondly, he is 34 and Alves is 24.  Third, he wants Matt serra and could be looking straight past Alves to Serra.  A win here would make Matt Hughes clearly back in line for contention of the belt and if he beats Alves and Serra, he will get another title shot even if it is against Georges St. Pierre.  I believe Hughes’ experience will be a help and not a hindrance in this fight. Therefore, I pick Matt Hughes by unanimous decision following three round of slamming Alves and laying on him and elbowing him. 

Brandon “The Truth” Vera vs. Fabricio Werdum

This is a hard pick to make.  Brandon Vera was a rapidly rising star before all the disputes with his manager.  He was great in the octagon as well, however, he sropepd his last fight against Tim Sylvia.  Fabricio Werdum has tons of talent too.  He has beaten some good opponents.  He has beaten Gonzaga twice, Aleksander Emleianenko and Alistair Overeem.  Vera is a great Muay Thai fighter while Werdum is a great jiu jitsu guy.  This fight could go either way.  Werdum showed some great striking against Gonzaga.  The bottom line is that the winner of this fight will most likely get the winner of the Mir vs. Nogueira fight late in the year.  For the sake of making a pick, I will pick Brandon Vera to win by TKO in round 2. 

Michael “The Count” Bisping vs. Jason “Dooms” Day

Bisping looked great at 185 in his last fight.  He could content at 185.  This fight will tell a lot about him as a middleweight.  He destroyed Charles McCarthy.  I believe Jason Day is a step up from McCarthy in talent.  Jason Day is a little bit of a late replacement of the incarcerated Chris Leben.  jason Day destroyed a serious contender in Alan Belcher and prior to that beat David Loiseau.  That shows what Day is capable of doing in the octagon.  I think this will be an exciting fight, and honestly Jason Day could take this fight, but I am going to pick Michael Bisping. He will have the home crowd, he will be ready to go.  A win here means Bisping may next get a guy like Leben, Cote or Almeida next.  I pick Michael Bisping by TKO in round 2.

Mike “Quick” Swick vs. Marcus Davis

When Mike Swick dropped to welterweight I thought he could be a serious contender.  I still think he can be, in fact I have him as my 10th ranked UFC welterweight.  However, he didn’t look good at all against Jos Burkman, in fact he very well lost that fight. Marcus Davis on the other hand has looked dominant.  Mike swick will be a real test for the “Irish Hand Grenade” who is coming off of 11 straight wins.  Whoever wins this fight will be in the title mix.  All I have to judge by is Swick’s one performance at welterweight, so I will pick Marcus Davis to win this one in exciting fashion in round 1.

Nate Marquardt vs. Thales Leites

What a ground game this fight could display.  Thales Leites is really good, but Nate Marquardt is underrated.  He realyl did well against Anderson Silva initially.  Marquardt is a contender in this divison.  I think that Marquardt will win this fight by submission in round 3. 

Martin Kampmann vs. Jorge Rivera

Martin Kampmann showed a lot of promise before his injury.  Rivera has been an on and off again fighter who you never know how he will perform.  We will see how Martin does in his return.  Will he have ring rust or will he be hungry for a win?  I think that training with Xtreme Couture is a huge advantage to him and that Kampmann will prove to be too much for Rivera.  I believe Kampmann will win by first round submission.  (Watch for this fight to creep onto the pay per view showing).

Jason Lambert vs. Luis Arthur Cane

Lambert is coming off that disappointing KO from Wilson Gouveia.  Can is coming off of that DQ in UFC 79.  Both guys are quality fighters, but there isn’t much room for failure in the light heavyweight divison.  The loser could essentially be removed from any possibility of contention.  The winner will take a step up.  I believe that Luis Arthur Cane will prove to be the better striker in this one and will KO Lambert in round 2.

Matt “Handsome” Wiman vs. Thiago Tavares

Matt Wiman has done great since coming off of The Ultimate Fighter.  Wiman very well could be one of the underrated lightweights.  Tavares is a good fighter as well and he is favored to win this fight.  Coincidently, both fighters have recently fought Michihiro Omigawa and both won by unanimous decision.  The cool pick will be Tavares, therefore I will pick Matt Wiman to win this fight by unanimous decision.  Whoever wins here moves into the top 20 of a stacked divison.

Eddie Sanchez vs. Antoni Hardonk

Eddie Sanchez is a late replacement for the injured Neil Wain.  I don’t know how that will affect Sanchez. Hardonk has struggled in the UFC, going 2-2 and losing to Frank Mir and Justin McCully.  Sanchez is 3-1 in the UFC.  I expect Sanchez to move to 4-1 in the UFC.  I don’t expect this fight to last long, maybe into round 2.  Therefore I pick Sanchez to win by TKO in round 2.

Roan Carneiro vs. Kevin Burns

Carneiro is beatable, but I don’t know anything about Kevin Burns.  I have to pick Carneiro by unanimous decision.

Jess Liaudin vs. Paul Taylor

Taylor has already beaten Liaudin once in his career,  Taylor is exciting and if he comes out swinging I expect him to win.  I think Taylor win will by first round KO.

 Upset Watch: Fabricio Werdum over Brandon Vera and Jason Day over Michael Bisping

 

New Talent in the UFC

One of the things that most excited me about UFC 84 was the display of new talent.  What a job by Dana White and the UFC finding new talent.  UFC 84 was a great display of hopefuls. I am stoked about it. Not only did 5 newcomers win their fights, but 2 guys who hadn’t won yet in the UFC won (Wanderlei and Sokoudjou). These newcomers won me over and I became fans of theirs.  The UFC has some top level new talent.  I liked rooting for these new guys and like seeing new talent coming in.  While we can be critical of the UFC losing some talent (Couture, Arlovski, Sylvia, and Ortiz), there are some new guys to replace them.  Let’s face it while the UFC has lost 4 or 5 stars in the past year, they have gained some future ones.  The guys they lost were past their prime anways.  Whata  job replacing lost talent.  The UFC needs to market these guys.  Put them on Spike’s UFC unleashed and put them on a fight night for people to see.  They all got good exposure at UFC 84 except Dong Hyun-Kim.  Let me say a word about the new guys in the UFC.

Shane Carwin: Out of the newcomers on the UFC 84 card Carwin was the most hyped.  I now know why.  He very well could hold a belt in the UFC one day.  I guess his back health is the one worry.  He is said to have great ground and pound and weaker striking.  He had one of the sickest KO’s I have seen with the mouthpiece flying out.  Shane Carwin is going to be super talented.  Can’t wait for his next fight.  Perhaps against the loser of the Vera vs. Werdum fight or a guy like Justin McCully or Collin Robinson.  Wuth an all around game like he has, the wrestling background, the athletic ability and the KO power he could be a glimmer of hope in a weak, weak divison.  The UFC has three bright stars up and coming in the heavyweight divison (Carwin, Lesnar and Velasquez) and somehow they have to delay them fighting each other and fighting top 3 talent as was learned in the Lesnar vs. Mir experiement. 

Yoshiyuki Yoshida: He very well could have killed Jon Koppenhaver in that fight.  That judo throw and the gator roll anaconda choke was awesome.  Usually your Japanese fighters have proven to be less than exciting and have not faired well in the UFC with the exception of Okami.  Yoshida will do fine and he is exciting.  I want to see him against slighly better competition because Koppenhaver was no match for him. Yoshida looked far superior in every way.  I wish he’s learn a little English though.  The post fight interview with Rogan was slightly awkward and a little English could help his marketability.  Perhpas he could fight a Burkman, Hazelett or maybe the Chonan vs. Carneiro winner is a good idea.  Yoshida will do fine in the UFC, great addidition and he and Kim could make UFC big bucks in the Asian market a la Bisping in England.

Dong Hyun-Kim:  Okay, so I watch Kim fight Jason Tan and all I can say is wow!  He is exciting, strong, and has vicious elbows.  He will be a serious force in the UFC.  He very well could be pitted against a guy like Karo next and I would consider picking Kim to win.  The UFC needs to decide if they think Kim can be something great in the welterweight divison, if they think he can they need to give him two more fights that he can win handily.  The flip side of that is beating a top 10 guy gives you instant credibility.  I know Jason Tan isn’t top level UFC talent, but man Kim looked amazing.  Why aren’t more people talking about that fight?  In my opinion, Kim could very well be the best of the newcomer bunch.  UFC 84 showcased some serious new talent and I am excited about Kim.  I liked him and am disappointed he wasn’t on the televised card.  I still hurt from watching his elbows.

Goran Reljic: Is the guy going to be mini-Cro Cop?  His kicks made me cringe.  Of course my knock on him would be all he showed was striking with the left side, but ouch those kids were hard.  Did you see how red Gouveia’s shoulder was?  I had Wilson Gouveia as ranked 12th in a stacked, stacked divison.  Reljic beat a top tier guy.  I don’t know how he would do against a guy like Thiago Silva or Machida, but he can strike with anyone.  He can take a hit too!!  Relijic has serious promise is this divison and does remind me of a slightly smaller and younger Cro Cop.  The Croatian can improve.  If I was him I would get with some different trainer for a bit to diversify.  I would think Xtreme Couture would be a great idea for him.  However, he is a contender right now!  My question will be how can he handle a aggresive striker or a wrestler like Matt Hammil?  Time will tell.  His future is bright.  I think a Sokoudjou match would be interesting, but I reckon he won’t get that highly ranked of a guy next.  Perhaps the Cane vs. Lambert winner. 

Rousimar Palhares: I know Ivan Salaverry isn’t what he once was, but that arm bar may well have been the best submission I have seen in a while.  He controlled Salaverry from start to finish.   He may be one of the best jiu jitsu guys in the UFC.  I wonder how he would do against another jiu jitsu guy like Demian Maia?  My question will be striking for Palhares.  I wondered why he didn’t soften Ivan up with strikes to the face while he was trying to sink in that choke.  He seemed pretty one-dimensional.  That dimension is top level and then some though.  He was a bright spot on the great card.  Can’t wait to see him in action again.

Antonio Mendes: He is the lone newcomer that lost at UFC 84.  Let me say just two things though.  First, he lost to in my opinion the most underrated light heavyweight and a guy that may well hold the title one day.  Second, he did very, very well.  He rocked Thiago.  His striking looks great.  I hope the UFC saw that and gives him another chance against a slighly less talented guy.  Give Mendes a chance to win against some poor sacrifical lamb in the light heavyweight divison.

Other New Talent:

Cain Velasquez: Many people say the UFC Hevayweight divison has collapsed.  I have said that.  The UFC has lost its champ in Couture and two of it’s top 5 talents in Tim Sylvia and probably Andrei Arlovski.  Mir isn’t what he used to be.  Cro Cop just didn’t work out well.  However, Carwin, Velasquez and Lesnar I believe are a step up in the long run.  Couture was great and I am a fan, but he in 44.  Sylvia is past his prime and Arlovski hadn’t shown consistency.  Cain Velasquez is going to be a star in this divison and it is prime for the taking.

Brock Lesnar: Lesnar is the one of those three new guys in the heavyweight divison to lose, but he lost to Mir and in that loss he showed he can fight.  He is the one of the three guys also that can draw a crowd more than anyone.  He could be UFC’s next biggest star.  We will see how he does against Herring. 

Chris Wilson: Wilson looked good in his loss to Fitch and I believe can do very well in the UFC.  I think he can be a top level guy.  Time will tell with Wilson.

Tournaments in the UFC

What if UFC had a 16 man tournament.  In other words a little bigegr version of what DREAM is doing with lightweights and middleweights.  A tournament would doa  lot of good things.  It would give an underdog the chance to win and fight the top dog.  You would have to have some type of ranking to do it and seed the guys like with the NCAA basketball tournament.  It would ease match making.  It would give exciting fights and intriguing possibilites.  Can you imagine all the possible scenarios of what could happen and who could fight one another?  I bet guys would fight passionatley.  There would be upsets.  So…I played around and came up with this…I took my 16 top guys in each class and made a bracket.  The fight one winner will fight the fight 2 winner and so on…

Lightweight:

Round One Match ups:

B.J. Penn vs. Rich Clementi

Clay Guida vs. Gray Maynard

Marcus Aurelio vs. Frank Edgar

Kenny Florian vs. Manny Gamburyan

Sean Sherk vs. Spencer Fisher

Nate Diaz vs. Joe Stevenson

Joe Lauzon vs. Tyson Griffin

Roger Huerta vs. Mac Danzig

Welterweight:

Georges St. Pierre vs. Chris Lytle

Thiago Alves vs. Mike Swick

Karo Parisyan vs. Matt Serra

Josh Koscheck vs. Ryo Chonan

Jon Fitch vs. Roan Carneiro

Diego Sanchez vs. Luigi Fiorvanti

Marcus Davis vs. Akihiro Gono

Matt Hughes vs. Chris Wilson

Middleweight:

Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites

Martin Kampmann vs. Nate Quarry

Patrick Cote vs. Ricardo Almeida

Yushin Okami vs. Demian Maia

Rich Franklin vs. Evan Tanner

Nate Marquardt vs. Jason MacDonald

Chris Leben vs. Michael Bisping

Dan Henderson vs. Jorge Rivera

Light Heavyweight:

Quinton Jackson vs. Goran Reljic

Mauricio Shogun Rua vs. Matt Hammil

Wanderlei Silva vs. Sokoudjou

Chuck Liddell vs. Houston Alexander

Keith Jardine vs. Jame Irvin

Forrest Griffin vs. Wilson Gouveia

Thiago Silva vs. Rashad Evans

Lyoto Machida vs. Stephan Bonnar

Heavyweight:

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Dan Evenson

Cheick Kongo vs. Eddie Sanchez

Heath Herring vs. Cain Velasquez

Frank Mir vs. Christian Wellish

Fabricio Werdum vs. Antoni Hardonk

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shane Carwin

Brock Lesnar vs. Justin McCully

Brandon Vera vs. Neil Wain

 

This all could make some interesting match-ups.  What you would do would be take all five divisons and make 5 fight cards with 8 fights each.  You could split them up or have a “lightweight card”.  5 cards would finish round one.  Then you could have two 10 fight card and that would finish round two.  Then you could have another card that would do the semi-final match ups and another card for the championships.  Try making an un-televised undercard out of any of these fights.  That would be awesome.  Of course you could put more thought into match ups and potential second and third round “dream match up” in where you placed fighters, but it is a great idea.  The one flaw is that if the UFC had one card a month this tournament would take 9 months to finish and that would keep a lot of fighters from fighting in that time.  I guess you could break it up and have non-tournament fights mixed in there too.  Just food for thought…

UFC’s Best Divison

I went to HDnet’s fighter rankings and based this on which UFC weight divisons had the most top 20 fighters.  I know there are other ways to judge the best, but this is interesting…

1. Light Heavyweights –  They are stacked in the UFC.  This is where the light heavyweight competition lies.  They have the top 11 (Jackson, Henderson, Griffin, Liddell, Jardine, Machida, Wanderlei, Evans, Thiago Silva, and Sokodjou) guys in the world and 20 of the top 25 guys.  This is a great divison, full of star power.

2. Welterweights – They have 10 of the top 20 (St. Pierre, Fitch, Hughes, Serra, Koscheck, Sanchez, Alves, Parisyan, Davis and Gono), but 8 of the world’s top ten.  They have a near top ten monopoly only missing out on Shields and Condit.  I feel that there are other UFC guys to mention in top 20 talk (Chris Wilson and Chris Lytle), but the divison is strong and has the top tier welterweights in the world.

3. Lightweights – In most rankings the UFC gets cheated in the lightweight divison.  The system I used ranked 8 of their guys as top 20 in the world (Penn, Sherk, Huerta, Stevenson, Florian, Guida, Tyson Griffin, and Gray Maynard).  I know some of those other guys are good, but they are overrated.  Gomi can’t beat UFC guys.  Nick Diaz, B.J. Penn and Marcus Aurelo all beat him.  Aoki, Melendez, Calvancanti and bunch are unproven in my opinion against top guys.  Plus I feel some guys unfairly got left out of rankings.  Where is Marcu Aurelio?  FranK Edgar?  or Joe Lauzon?  or even Nate Diaz?  You mean to tell me Edgar is not a top 20?  This divison is stacked and has more contenders than any UFC divison.  DREAM does have some great lightweights.  I’d love to see a fight card of UFC’s top lightweights against DREAM’s top lightweights.  I think UFC would win easily.

4. Middleweights – They have 7 of the top 20 fighters in the world at this divison (Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin, Dan Hemderson, Marquardt, Okami, Bisping and Leites.  I put this above heavyweights first of all because I believe there are some guys that could be in the top 20 mix (Quarry, MacDonald, Leben, Cote, Kampmann and Almeida). It still is weak, not because it isn’t deep, but because they can’t find anyone to compete with Anderson Silva.  Anderson Silva is the second reason I put this divison above Heavyweights…enough said.

5. Heavyweights –  They also have 7 of the top 20 fighters in the world at Heavyweight  (Nogueira, Werdum, Gonzaga, Kongo, Vera, Mir and Herring).  Only 3 of those guys are top ten in the world.  All this assumed Arlovski signs with Affiction.  If that happens Affliction will have 6 of the top ten (Fedor, Sylvia, Barnett, Rothwell, Arlovski and Aleksander Emelianenko) plus Pedro Rizzo.  This is a weak divison for the UFC, but they do have some good prospects in Carwin, Lesnar and Velasquez.  This divison was once strong, but since has lost Couture, Cro Cop, Sylvia, Arlovski, and O’Brien.