While injuries have plagued the UFC this year thereby cancelling some hotly anticipated battles, there are plenty of major league throw downs yet to come. Let’s take a look at some grudge matches and title defenses coming to an arena near you.
year I wrote a few articles for SBR regarding the current champs as well as the matches we’d love to see. Let’s revisit and see what’s changed
and what has stayed the same over the past several months in the UFC.
Bantamweight: Dominick Cruz – Cruz has put a lock on the lightest
division in the UFC by dispatching Urijah Faber in UFC 132 and in his last defense
scored a 5 round decision over Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
Cruz is the best of the Bantamweight class, but this division is stacked with legitimate
opponents for Cruz, but the guy I’d like to see the champ fight is Renan
Barao. This 24 year old lost the very
first fight of his career but has not tasted defeat since. He is 26-1 and recently walked through veteran
tough guy Brad Pickett by submitting him in the 1st round.
Featherweight: Jose Aldo – After an absolute war with Mark
Hominick in April, Aldo finally got healthy and defended his crown against the
game Kenny Florian. Ken-Flo dropped all
the way down to the feathers to take a last shot at claiming a UFC title. He was outgunned and outclassed by Aldo who
won a unanimous decision and now looks toward a January showdown with Chad
Lightweight: Frankie Edgar –
If you doubt Frankie Edgar, just put up the same opponent and he’ll knock
him down all over again for you. He
defeated BJ Penn twice in a row and most recently did the same to Gray Maynard. In both cases, he won the second time in much
more convincing fashion as he went from a split decision over Maynard to a TKO
when the two last fought in October. The
problem for everyone in the
lightweight division just happens to be The
Welterweight: George St. Pierre – GSP scored a unanimous decision over Jake
Shields earlier in 2011 but hasn’t done much since. He was supposed to have defended his title
against Nick Diaz (who was subsequently replaced by Carlos Condit) but suffered
a knee injury and had to withdraw. It
looks like Diaz will be his next opponent and it rumor has it that the big
fight will go down at UFC 143.
Middleweight: Anderson Silva – Arguably the greatest MMA fighter in
history, Anderson Silva defended twice in 2011 with a stunning 1st
round knockout of Vitor Belfort and then a dominating performance over Yushin
Okami that culminated in a 2nd round TKO. But the fight everyone wants to see is a
rematch with Chael Sonnen who was only minutes away from defeating Silva until
the champion miraculously snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a tapout
of the challenger late in the 5th round. According to sources, the rematch will happen
in early 2012.
Light Heavyweight: Jon Jones – Personally, Jones is my favorite
fighter in MMA and I don’t see anyone challenging his throne from within the
division. In my estimation the real
super fight is not GSP vs. Silva but rather Silva vs. Jones at a
catchweight. I would pay for that any
day of the week and twice on Sunday. However, Jones will have to get through Lyoto Machida at UFC 140 before
anything and then Dana White will chart his path for next year. Of course, the grudge match everyone wants to
see is a good old fashioned throw down against his former mentor and bromance
partner Sugar Rashad Evans. Dana White,
make it happen!
At the time of writing, UFC betting shops have listed Jones at the -490 favorite in his UFC 140 bout against Machida. Needless to say, I will be adding him to my UFC picks for this event.
Heavyweight: Junior dos Santos –
Welcome Junior dos Santos to the most elite club
in mixed martial arts, champion of the world. He floored Cain Velasquez
in stunning fashion Saturday night in the
UFC’s debut on the FOX network. “Cigano”
made it look easy and 2012 should be a big year for the new champion to
establish himself among the greats of the sport.