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.

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

Future UFC Hall of Famers

So, which UFC fighters are future hall of famers?  Currently, there are 5 hall of famers which include: Randy Couture, Dan Severn, Mark Coleman, Royce Gracie, and Ken Shamrock.  So as you pan through current UFC fighters which guys are hall of fame calibur.  Let me tell you…

1. Chuck Liddell – Despite his recent struggles in the octagon, Liddell is the face of the UFC.  Not only that he has faired well in his career.  He was a very feared fighter and a dominant champion.  He boasts some big wins over the likes of Tito Ortiz, Babalu, Wanderlei Silva, and Randy Couture.  This is a no-brainer.  This is what baseball fans would call a first ballot hall of famer.

2. Matt Hughes-  Hughes is called the most dominant welterweight champion of all time.  He was dominant, and he may not be totally done yet.  He has coaches TUF two times.  He has been a force in the divison for years and held the belt it seems like forever.  Another first ballot guy. 

3. Tito Ortiz –  Let me begin by saying I despise Tito Ortiz.  I do not like him Sam I am.  However, no one can deny his dominance for a time.  I think he is done now, but he defended his belt a record number of times.  I don’t know if he will ever make it to the UFC Hall of Fame, but he should based on his in the octagon performance and popularity.  He lifted the sport when it was struggling.  He should be in, but like Pete Rose there are all sorts of other factors.

4. Rich Franklin –  The second best middleweight in the world.  People forget how good he is because of his losses to Anderson Silva.  He has been dominant otherwise.  He has a phenomenal record, he has been champ, he is incredibly popular, and he keeps getting better.  I love Rich Franklin and think he is surely hall of fame worthy no doubt.

5. B.J. Penn –  B.J. is really a prodigy.  He has been welterweight and lightweight champion.  He may be both at the same time come January.  He has cleaned out the lightweights and has fought the best welterweights.  He is one of the most popular fighters in the world and he is growing in talent and popularity.  He may not be a hall of famer today, but one more big win and he is a lock. 

6.  Anderson Silva – He may be the most dominant fighter ever.  He is the pound for pound best in the world.  He has changed the sport.  He is all around talented.  He can beat anyone and the scray thing is I don’t know if he will ever lose.  He is in.

7.  Georges St. Pierre–  He is not in yet, but he will be.  He has some work to do.  He has to keep the belt for a while to be hall of fame in my book.  He has hall of fame talent though.  He has the popualrity.   I have no doubts that by the time all is said and done St. Pierre will be a UFC Hall of famer.

8. Forrest Griffin – Overrated? I think so.  Popular? Undeniable.  Hard working? No one works harder.  The reason I would give Forrest the nod is what he did in the Ultimate Fighter.  He is one of the most popular UFC fighters, but mainly because he is considered the savior of the UFC.  Dana White has said that the Griffin-Bonnar fight saved the UFC.  Now he is a champ and is getting quite the resume with wins over Shogun and Rampage.  He is still growing too as a fighter.  He will be a hall of famer.

9. Evan Tanner– With his recent death I began to think about his hall of fame potential.  His popularity was huge.  However, Tanner had a lot of baggage outside the octagon which may have caused him to not reach his full potential in the octagon.  I think he could be a hall of famer.  In his prime he was beating a lot of guys.  He is a former champ, which is a must.  He very well could be a hall of famer if people can look past his struggles.

10. Tim Sylvia – I know, I know another guy I don’t like.  Tim is very polarizing.  He doesn’t have the popularity for some reason, but he was good in the UFC.  He beat tons of guys.  He held the title a couple times.  He could be, but may not be because he is not in the best standing in the UFC now that he left for Affliction. 

Other Candidates: Andrei Arlovski, Quinton Jackson, Frank Mir

Note: Many of the current UFC guys who were stars in PRIDE were left out such as Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, Shogun Rua, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Who did I leave out?  Weigh in below in the comments section.

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

Matt Serra Calls Out Matt Hughes

“Hopefully by the end of the year,” commented Serra. “Hopefully by late fall. Like I said, I haven’t been able to do too much of anything since my fight so I’m getting back in shape now. I want two-and-a-half to three months to train for that guy. I’m not losing to him. I don’t give a rat’s {expletive} , no way. Kill me first.”

The fight was going to happen following The Ultimate Fighter 6 where both Hughes and Serra served as coaches.  The tension heated up on the show and the fight was hyped.  However, Serra was forced to withdraw from the fight due to a back injury and Hughes stepped up and fought St. Pierre and lost.  Hughes and Serra still wan to fight each other.  Even after being beat up by Thiago Alves, Matt Hughes assured fans he has one more fight left in the tank at least and that was going to be Matt Serra.  In response to that Matt Serra said”

“I heard that… ‘my wife wants that fight, my kids want that fight,’ dude, wow, relax over there at the Hughes’ household,”  “My wife heard that. She watched the fight. She’s like, ‘What do you expect? That’s somebody who’s married to Matt Hughes.’ Don’t put my name in your mouth. “You know what’s funny about that though? I mean first of all, why don’t you go put a steak on your eye before you start calling people out dude? Relax. You get your {expletive} kicked and all of a sudden, well Matt Serra better come up with a game plan. Hey dude, go tend to your eye.”I think he had that speech set up for if he won and then he kind of just ran with it,”

The fight seems likely to happen and much will depend on Hughes’ knee and Serra’s elbow and back.  We should get word soon as to when the fight will take place as we wait on more word on Hughes’ knee situation.  The bottom line is that Hughes and Serra do not like each other.

“We don’t like each other. We don’t like each other at all,” I can’t wait for the camp for it. I can’t wait for that fight. That’s something I’m going to put my heart and soul into” Serra said.

This will be a bigger test for Serra than for Hughes.  Hughes has already proven himself through his career, but many feel Serra is overrated and got lucky against St. Pierre.  Many think Serra is not even a top 10-15 welterweight.  Serra would disagree, but the Hughes fight will reveal a lot.  I make no bones about it I will heavily pull for Matt Hughes on this one and hope he shuts Serra up.

UFC To Have A New Reality Show?

I saw on MMAPayout that the Wrestling Observer Newsletter is reporting that the UFC is going to begin some type of new reality show. 

UFC is going to do a new reality show. I don’t know the details of the show itself, but my impression is it involves Matt Hughes in a big way.

One may wonder, is this the big news that is being announced to the UFC employees today and to the rest of the world on Wednesday?  I guess the answer to that may depend on the scale of the reality show.  I don’t know what the reality show would be.  The Ultimate Fighter format works great as a reality show and showcases young MMA hopefuls trying to get into the big leagues of mixed martial arts.  Here are my thoughts on what it could be….

1. Some type of look into the life of a fighter.  This would make some sense that the first season feature Matt Hughes as he is at a crossroads of his career.  It could showcase the fighter’s life as he prepares for a fight and maybe they could show Matt Hughes as he prepares to fight Matt Serra. 

2. Some type of look into the UFC office.  Perhaps a show like the Apprentice with people comepting for a chance to become a UFC employee…in the office.

3. Some other type of fighter reality.  Perhaps they are taking a no name guy with no MMA experience and trying to train him quickly into a MMA fighter.  Perhaps they are taking a boxer, maybe a big name boxer and training him for MMA, could this be the Mayweather link? 

I really do not know what rout they could be headed with this if it is true.  It could be linked with the network deal that has been rumored.

TUF 7 Episode 11

This week saw the first of the semi-final fights between Jesse Taylor and Tim Credeur.  This week spent a lot of time showing scenes from the Ultimate Fighter house.  Also, this week featured the coaches challenge.  The challenge this year was a game of horse, but spelling “The Ultimate Fighter”.  When the coaches talked about their basketball skills Ramapage reveals he stinks at basketball and Forrest reveals he played a little high school ball.  I thought Rampage was just exaggerating, but…he wasn’t.  Forrest killed him in the challenge and even ended it with a dunk.  Who said white men can’t jump? 

    As I said there was a lot of scenes from the house including a scene of everyone getting wasted.  Jesse Taylor drank way too much and proceeded to pee on himself a second time.  This is my blog so I will state my opinion here (you can comment and argue with if you want).  I think it is a shame that these guys portrat themselves like they do.  You can think what you want about drinking, but I think that not only should TUF be looking for new talent, but also should strive to display to the viewers what mixed martial arts is all about.  Every season has shown the same thing: drunkeness, drunkeness and more drunkeness.  Frankly, it ticks me off a bit.  People like Jesse Taylor should have been sober and preparing for a fight.  They should have more respect for property.  That $20,000+ of damage that they senselessly caused could have gone to pay fighters, or better yet could have gone to some people in need around the world.  What a waste.  I just think that many times what we see on TUF is not indiciative of how an MMA fighter should act.  Mixed martial arts has enough critics and enough people against it.  Mixed martial arts has enough stigma to it, and the fighters already are stereo-typed by many as brutes and violent people.  I think the UFC and other MMA organizations need to do better emphasising character of fighers.  I am all for second chances and realize people mess up sometimes.  I also understand not everyone has the same ideas and standards that I have, however there needs to be some punishment for people who act out outside of the octagon.  If I was in charge of UFC rosters thugs like Rob Emerson and Jon Koppenhaver wouldn’t fight in my organization, not because they cannot hack it in the octagon, but because they are poor representatives of the sport.  For me, the one problem I have with watching MMA is the constant foul language from fighters and the emphasis on the party life.  Go ahead disagree with me if you want, this is just my opinion.  I love MMA and think that MMA fighters need more guys who are a postive example, a good role model, and someone that parents can feel confident letting their children look up to.  MMA needs more Matt Hamills, Matt Hughes, Georges St. Pierres, Anderson Silvas, Randy Coutures, Kenny Florians and Wanderlei Silvas and less Matt Serras and Tito Ortizs.  One thing I really love about many of the true mixed martial artists, especially your Brazilian and Japanese fighters is their love for fighting, their respect for their opponent, and their incredible sportsmanship (even in defeat).  To them they are not just fighting it is a sport to them.  Okay, enough of my soapbox. 

    The fight was Jesse Taylor vs. Tim Credeur.  I picked Tim to win this fight and picked him to be in the finals from the start.  Round 1, Jesse took Tim down and laid on him while landing some hard shots.  I gave the round 10-8 to Jesse Taylor.  Round 2, was much of the same except Tim did a little better, trying for several submissions and staying in his butterfly guard.  I gave that round 10-9 to Jesse.  Round 3 was much of the same with Jesse winning it 10-9.  I scored the fight 30-26 and two of the judges agreed.  Jesse moves on to the finals. 

    Next week will show the fight between C.B. and Amir as well as a shocking moment, where it looks like someone kicks out a limo window and then is kicked out of the finale and out of the UFC.  I don’t know who it would be, perhaps Jesse Taylor.