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UFC Champions and Their Biggest Threats
Today’s UFC champions are dominating their competition left from right like true masters of the Octagon. There have never been as many dominant champions in the UFC like there are in today’s era, and whether that’s a good or a bad thing has yet to be determined.
It’s to the point where fans are questioning whether or not certain champions like Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre are human or actually members of the mutant society: The X-Men.
However, as unbeatable as these fighters may seem, there is always going to be someone out there that will step up to the plate and knock one right out of the park.
With that being said, let’s take a look at today’s UFC champions and the biggest threats to their respective titles.
Heavyweight (Current champion: Brock Lesnar)
Lesnar’s incredible wrestling ability and monstrous ground n’ pound make him a dangerous matchup for any heavyweight in the UFC. The guy has lunchboxes for fists, and while he technically isn’t much of a striker, he has the power to send you flying through the air with a single punch.
That being said Lesnar, is far from unbeatable, as he still has many holes in his game that can be exploited. The fighter that is likely to defeat Lesnar will be someone who will be able to weather his storm and match the former NCAA wrestling champion in size and strength.
Shane Carwin fits that description perfectly.
Carwin is a beast of a heavyweight, and if Lesnar has lunchboxes for fists, then Carwin has cinder blocks. Lesnar will have a tough time to taking Carwin to the ground, as Carwin comes from a legit wrestling background.
It also should be noted that we have yet to see Lesnar’s chin tested by a power puncher, and Carwin is one of the hardest hitters in MMA today. Look no further than his knockout victory over Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 96 as proof.
Light Heavyweight (Current Champion: Lyoto Machida)
Machida is like that one piece of the puzzle that nobody can seem to figure out. His ability to mix his shotokan karate background in with other aspects of MMA has enabled him to pick apart and frustrate every opponent he has ever faced.
He may seem unbeatable, but sooner or later, someone will figure out the piece to the Machida puzzle. It may take several years for that day to happen, but The Dragon will eventually be slayed.
Enter Jon “Bones” Jones—the guy who has all the potential in the world to slay The Dragon.
At the young age of 22, Jones is a talented up-and-comer who has established himself as one of the most athletically gifted fighters in the UFC.
On his feet, Jones will remind you of something you saw in a kung fu movie. He is a very unique striker who utilizes flashy techniques like spinning elbows and spinning back kicks.
However, his true talent lies in his Greco-Roman wrestling abilities.
Different from most Greco-Roman wrestlers turned MMA fighters, Jones utilizes a lot of throws and has a very active clinch game. He’s undefeated and has only had three UFC fights, but in those three fights, he has opened up a lot of eyes. People are calling him the future of the light heavyweight division, and it’s hard to argue against that.
However, Jones is still a bit green, and it will take a considerable amount of time before he is fully prepared for a title shot. In the meantime, Machida will dominate the 205-pound division, defeating everyone in his path until the day a newly evolved Jones steps up to take him on.
Middleweight (Current champion: Anderson Silva)
Silva has proven time and time again that he is on a much higher level than anyone else in the middleweight division right now. He has beaten and embarrassed some of the toughest guys in this weight class without even breaking a sweat.
There doesn’t even appear to be a fighter on the UFC’s roster right now who could pose a threat to Silva’s Middleweight title.
Dan Henderson is slated to get the next title shot, but it’s not likely he will be victorious. Silva has already beaten Henderson once and is likely to do it again in even more dominant fashion.
Demian Maia would be an interesting matchup due to his God-like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu abilities. If Maia were able to get Silva to the ground, he has a better chance than anyone else at making the middleweight champion say "uncle."
The problem is getting him there. Maia is a very talented fighter, but he’s way too one-dimensional, whereas Silva is a world class striker and an excellent Jiu-Jitsu black belt.
Maia would need to evolve his all-around game in order to defeat Silva, but as of right now, he is considered Silva’s biggest threat over anyone else in the division.
Let’s not forget Nate Marquardt, either. Sure, Silva may have dominated Marquardt once before, but since then the seven-time King of Pancrase has evolved into a much better fighter. You cannot even compare the Marquardt who fought Silva with the Marquardt of today.
Realistically, though, Silva will continue to rule over the middleweight division before either retiring or vacating the belt to focus on competing in the light-heavyweight division.
Welterweight (Current champion: Georges St. Pierre)
Just like Silva, St. Pierre has been tossing his competition around like rag dolls recently. Ever since his defeat at the hands of Matt Serra, St. Pierre has turned into a seemingly unbeatable android that has been destroying everyone in his path.
With every fight, GSP comes out a better version than in his last fight, so the chance of him being defeated anytime soon is very unlikely.
However, there is a diamond in the rough that has been climbing up the ranks recently, and that man’s name is Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.
Johnson is the only welterweight that matches St. Pierre when it comes to pure athleticism. He’s explosive both in the wrestling and striking departments, and although he's not exactly a worthy title contender now, he has loads of potential.
Johnson has plenty of time to learn new skills and improve as a fighter, so it’s very possible that we’ll be seeing him with Welterweight gold around his waist in the future.
Lightweight (Current Champion: B.J. Penn)
After the whole "Greasegate" incident, everyone has been quick to criticize Penn. After watching St. Pierre manhandle Penn like a five-year-old kid, people are quick to question the Lightweight champion’s heart and conditioning.
Well, there is a huge difference between Penn at 170 pounds and Penn at 155 pounds. At Welterweight, he’s just an average fighter with a ton of natural talent. But at lightweight, he’s the best in the world.
He’s going to be in shape and ready to go on Aug. 8, and Kenny Florian is going to be in for a rude awakening.
Florian is a great fighter, but there are bigger threats at lightweight for Penn than "Ken-Flo." Two fighters that come to mind are TUF season one winner Diego "The Nightmare" Sanchez and Gray "The Bully" Maynard.
Sanchez brings a super intense pace comparable to an energizer bunny on steroids. What’s even more amazing is his ability to keep that pace up throughout the duration of a fight.
His striking has evolved tremendously over the years to supplement his awesome ground game, which is constantly evolving as well. He isn’t called the Nightmare for nothing, and he would definitely pose a threat to The Prodigy.
Maynard would also pose a threat due to his insanely strong wrestling base, and the fact that he’s one of the bigger lightweights in the division. He’s a lot less one-dimensional than people give him credit for, as his boxing ability especially is highly underrated.
Re: UFC Champions and Their Biggest Threats
light heavyweight: Griffin
middleweight: no one really poses a threat to Silva. Silva's only true obstacle; motivation.
lightweight: clearly KenFlo
"It ain't about how hard you hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving foward, how much you can take and keep moving foward. That's how winning is done!"
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