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

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 News: Huge Announcement to Be Made Next Thursday

Dana White says:

You have no idea some of the stuff that we have planned. I’m going to make an announcement next week that is going to blow people’s minds. That deal is done, but my employees don’t even know yet. I’m renting out a place next Thursday and I’m going to tell them. Then we’ll make the announcement later that day. It’s an indicator of where this business is going over the next five years.

I have a feeling that the news to be revealed Thursday is linked to Liddell’s fight in Atlanta in September.  It is obviously on a big scale since the announcement will be made to all the UFC employees. I have a feeling that it is an announcement of a network deal.  The assumption has to be that it will either be Fox or ESPN.  I also have another prediction and is that the main event will be Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva II.  I say that because Dana White was critical of the CBS main event of Kimbo Slive vs. James Thompson and a Wanderlei vs. Chuck II fight would draw a HUGE crowd.  It is especailly marketable since their awesome fight in December and then following Wanderlei’s win at UFC 84.  Can you imagine the ratings that a UFC on Fox would get headlined by Chuck Liddell.  I would also expect if that was the case for several other big fights that night including a possibility of Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra as well as Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson.  One could also envision a Sokoudjou vs. Shogun match.  Can you imagine a card with those four fights and how the ratings would explode through the roof?!?

Matt Hughes Interview

Great Matt Hughes Interview where he talks about the Thiago Alves fight, Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra.

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more about “Rated Exclusive: Matt Hughes Intervie…“, posted with vodpod

 

Upcoming UFC Fights

I love to play the guessing game with what fights will be booked.  This summer has some good fights planned.  UFC 85 was pulled out of near failure by Matt Hughes and Thiago Alves.  UFC 86 will feature Jackson vs. Griffin for the title.  UFC 87 will have Lesnar vs. Coleman.  It was just announced that UFC 88 will take place September 6.  I thought that Lesnar vs. Coleman was going to be the main event of UFC 87, but UFC.com says otherwise.  There is apparently another bout to be announced.  That means between UFC 87 and UFC 88 there are two main event fights to be announced.  Here are the possibilities…

  • Georges St. Pierre vs. Jon Fitch – This fight is going to happen for sure it is just a question of when.  My bet is that this will be on one of the cards main event or co-main event.  I see this at UFC 88 the main event.
  • Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami –  This fight is also likely to happen.  I would predict this one to be a UFC 87 bout  because it doesn’t stand alone as a main event well because Yushin Okami is not that marketable, but you add it as a co-main event with Lesnar vs. Coleman and it has more draw.
  • Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson  –  This could be a UFC 88 bout, but not as the main event.  I look for this fight to happen.  It just makes sense. 
  • Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra – My guess is that this will be on the October card, along with the return of Chuck Liddell.  Matt Hughes says that win or lose he is fighting Serra next. 
  • Chuck Liddell vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua – This fight seems like it could happen we just don’t know when these guys will recover.  Shogun mentioned maybe fighting in September, but I think that is a bit early.  I’d lean towards October or November for this fight.  The winner would be in title talk along with the winner of Jardine/Silva. 

Don’t be shocked if after UFC 84 of 85 one of the guys on that card will fight there.  There are some great fighters on the next two cards who could be featured on a main card by August or September.  I imagine outcomes of these fights may play a role. 

Title Shots Is What I Want

The UFC is busy cutting their rosters because they have too many people under contract.  I can understand that.  However, what I cannot understand is why the belt are not being defended.  I don’t want to see a guy only defend their belt once a year.  I think title shots being delayed by the cotnender and champ coaching TUF has limited the fights. 

The Heavyweights…                                                                                                                                   Right now, Nogueira has the interim title, and won’t defend it until December.  That means there will be no heavyweight title fights until the end of the year.  I would imagine someone will be in line waiting for the next fight…probably the winner of the Vera vs. Werdum fight.  But that isn;t fair to them.  They will have to sit on the sidelines for 8-10 months until March or so of 2009 to get a shot.  That is crap. 

The Light Heavyweights…                                                                                                                  Rampage is one of the most marketable UFC fighters.  He is a good fighter and it is those things combined which got him the gig as a coach on TUF 7.  However, his last fight and title defense was his win over Dan Henderson in December.  He is slated to fight Forrest Griffin in July.  That is ten months between fights.  That is crap.  He better fight one more time this year.  I want the champs to defend their belts and I want contenders to have their shot.

Middleweights…                                                                                                                                    Anderson Silva is the man.  He is the best pound for pound fighter in the world.  He is a beast who has stomped his competiton and tore throught he UFC middleweight divison.  His last fight was his win over Dan Henderson in March.  The UFC has not announced his next fight, but you figure that since the main event cards are set up through August, the best case scenario is that he fights in September probably against Yushin Okami. I’m guessing October or November though, as I suspect the UFC is trying to find someone else besides Okami, but it is going to have to be Okami.  Anderson would then be done for the year.  That isn’t quite as bad as some other divisons, but isn;t what I’d like to see.

Welterweights…                                                                                                                                        Georges St. Pierre just fought, and we have no idea when his next fight is although it will be Jon Fitch.  Again it will be sometimes in the latter part of the year.  That would make two title defenses in 2008 and would not include his December fight with Hughes.  I want to see the best in the UFC fight more, they used to fight every other card.

Lightweights…                                                                                                                                              B.J. Penn has said he would like to fight a few times a year at best, but he has done fairly well as of late.  He beat Joe Stevenson and will fight Sherk on the 24th.  In August Huerta and Florian will fight to determine who gets the next title shot.  I would suspect that the Penn/Sherk winner would fight the Florian/Huerta winner in December or maybe January.  I still want to see more. 

My Solutions…                                                                                                                                                         

1. Have a rankings system.  An objective ranking system not just for MMA, but for the UFC would make clear who the number one cotnender.  A lot of time is taken waiting to see who will get the next shot and sometimes two guys fight for the next title shot.  Those fights to get the title shot could be spaced out not as far from the last title defense so both guys can be ready sooner and one guy isn’t sitting around waiting for a guy to be fresh.                 

2. Change the Ultimate Fighter format.  Right now each season of TUF is being coached by a title holder and the supposed number one contender.  Those guys will coach opposite each other and then fight for the title following the show.  The problem with that is you sit those guys on the sidelines for a while.  For example right now Frank Mir and Minatauro Nogueira know they are coaching TUF 8.  The season will start taping this summer and will begin to air in September.  The show will air through December while everyone waits.  Both fought early this year and neither fought again so as not to mess up the TUF coaching drama of going for the title.  Rather than having a title shot in the drama of TUF, why not have two great fighters with nothing to do with the title.  They could have used Florian and Huerta and built the drama of the winner getting a title shot.  They could have done Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin.  I’d love to see some of those guys on TUF or a guy like Wanderlei Silva. 

Dana needs to take my adivce on this one.  The fans want to see more than anything the title holders defending their belts and they ought to fight 3 times a year.