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View Full Version : Future Shock: The Champions in 2010


VCURamFan
02-24-2009, 06:51 PM
LINK

http://sherdog.com/thumbnail_crop.php?image=http://www.cdn.sherdog.com/_images/headers/20090222100213_couturebig.JPG&width_size=570
Monday, February 23, 2009
by Jake Rossen (jrossen@sherdog.com)

16308
The great Royce Gracie (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Royce-Gracie-19) once said, “A belt only covers two inches of your ass. You have to cover the rest.”

What Royce meant, of course, is that you need to wear underwear. He was also probably referring to the fact that a belt -- either a cloth awarded by an instructor or a gold-plated eyesore from a promotion -- can’t do your fighting for you. Great champions have shown up only to turn in substandard performances; guys who got their brown belt from Sears have delivered some epic, ass-thrashing bouts.

That said, a championship belt is indisputable proof that you’ve achieved rare air in the combat sports -- especially if you had to dodge the murderer’s row in a promotion like the UFC, which is gleefully masochistic in its matchmaking.

Performances from contenders like Demian Maia (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Demian-Maia-14637) and Diego Sanchez (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Diego-Sanchez-4824) on Saturday’s UFC 95 freebie were indicative that 2009 is going to be a turbulent one for defending champions. Which titles will stay strapped in place and which will expose the rear cleavage of its former owners?

If I knew, I’d bet big and blog from Acapulco. Until then, be happy with irresponsible speculation. The guaranteed-not-to-be-accurate champions on Jan. 1, 2010:

UFC Lightweight Champion: Sean Sherk (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Sean-Sherk-277)

The 155-pound belt is B.J. Penn (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/B.J.-Penn-1307)’s for as long as he wants to hold on to it. Given his famously erratic motivations, that might only be for another couple of weeks.

Penn has shown little more than fleeting interest in being a lightweight shark. He fled from the UFC in 2004 to take open-weight fights in Hawaii and overseas. When he came back, he was obstinate in competing at 170 pounds. Only after losses to Georges St. Pierre (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Georges-St.-Pierre-3500) and Matt Hughes (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Matt-Hughes-232) did the promotion convince him to start skipping the bacon.

Literally the second after unifying the lightweight title against Sherk, Penn called out Georges St. Pierre (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Georges-St.-Pierre-3500).

Penn’s divisional ADD gives me little confidence that he’ll be able to focus on defending his lighter-weight belt. His attitude hints he considers the class to be beneath him -- that he’s so much better than everyone else, there’s no fear to get him out of bed in the morning.

Which is why a lackadaisical Penn will drop a decision to a busier, hungrier Kenny Florian (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Kenny-Florian-8021) in the summer -- who will, in turn, have no answers for the wet blanket that is Sean Sherk (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Sean-Sherk-277) in the fall.

Sherk regains his strap; Florian continues dropping other contenders; Penn begs to fight Lyoto Machida (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Lyoto-Machida-7513).

UFC Welterweight Champion: Georges St. Pierre (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Georges-St.-Pierre-3500)

Jon Fitch (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Jon-Fitch-4865) is a brick wall. If St. Pierre can toss him around like an empty beer can, he’s going to grind Thiago Alves (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Thiago-Alves-5998) down. Unless he doesn’t. But he probably will.

UFC Middleweight Champion: Anderson Silva (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Anderson-Silva-16067)

Demian Maia (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Demian-Maia-14637) might be the Fred Astaire of jiu-jitsu. It’s too bad Silva is the Gene Kelly of kicking everyone’s ass.

Maia’s technique -- which involves sucking opponents into his Phantom Zone of a guard and digesting limbs -- might give Silva some night sweats, but we’ve yet to see how effective it is against someone with a black belt in jiu-jitsu from the Nogueira brothers. My guess is, not as effective as Silva’s stand-up against someone who’s spent most of his training life off his feet.

Who’s left? Nate Marquardt (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Nate-Marquardt-1712)? He looked dangerously sharp in his stand-up Saturday, but that confidence is bound to leak out of his nose the moment Silva connects with a barrage of knees. (Marquardt’s destiny probably lies with Rich Franklin (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Rich-Franklin-392) in a battle of who would be champion of an alternate universe in which “The Spider” was never hatched.)

Unless Silva has a repeat of his abysmal Patrick Cote (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Patrick-Cote-6612) non-fight -- essentially sabotaging himself -- he has little to fear. The man who can take his title hasn’t shown himself yet.

UFC Heavyweight Champion: Randy Couture (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Randy-Couture-166)

Let’s all be spared the Metamucil-with-extra-protein jokes. There’s better logic at work here.

Frank Mir (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Frank-Mir-2329) will continue to be Brock Lesnar (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Brock-Lesnar-17522)’s Achilles heel: Both are quick starters, but Lesnar’s tendency to throw opponents to the mat is the worst possible strategy against Mir, who is most dangerous where Lesnar instinctually wants the fight. He’ll lose by submission. Again.

That leaves Couture to busy himself with either Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Antonio-Rodrigo-Nogueira-1440) or Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. While the latter bout fills me with utter dread -- I can see even a fading Croatian punting Couture’s head like a FILA demo -- it’s entirely likely that a battle of aging warriors will be won by the craftiest of the lot.

That leaves Mir and Couture for a Christmas engagement. Considering Couture probably wants no part of Mir on the mat in the first two or three rounds, it’ll be a kickboxing match, and that’s a game Couture has been playing longer. Having worn Mir down for 10 or 15 minutes, “The Natural” might start in with the ground throttling.

A record sixth UFC title would be an appropriate capper for both the year in MMA and Couture’s tenure as the elder statesman of the sport.

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion: Quinton Jackson (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Quinton-Jackson-348)

Any concerns that Jackson’s emotional breakdown and subsequent highway rampage after a title loss to Forrest Griffin (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Forrest-Griffin-3526) in the summer would influence his fighting were put to rest -- right along with Wanderlei Silva (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Wanderlei-Silva-209) -- in December.

If we accept that Jackson will not need to be straight-jacketed between rounds, and we also accept that he will handle the difficult-but-not-insurmountable Keith Jardine (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Keith-Jardine-2638) in March, then we’re left with a summer or fall pairing between Jackson and current champion Rashad Evans (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Rashad-Evans-10200).

Evans has arguably made the bigger strides in his conditioning: Having faded somewhat against Michael Bisping (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Michael-Bisping-10196), he looked fresh late against Forrest Griffin (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Forrest-Griffin-3526).

Jackson, though, usually shows up with a tuned engine and possesses both power and combinations in his mitts Evans has yet to deal with. (Versus Chuck Liddell (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Chuck-Liddell-192), the former champion loaded his right hand like he was posing for a still.)

Five-round war. Traded takedowns. Jackson lands the bigger shots and the decision. Meets Lyoto Machida (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Lyoto-Machida-7513) Super Bowl weekend in ’10.

And if his cornermen are smart, they’ll hide his car keys.

For comments, e-mail jrossen@sherdog.com


Interesting article. I don't agree with everything he says, but he has smoe valid points. Best quote:"Demian Maia (http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Demian-Maia-14637) might be the Fred Astaire of jiu-jitsu. It’s too bad Silva is the Gene Kelly of kicking everyone’s ass.":laugh:

Llamafighter
02-24-2009, 07:56 PM
I thought this was really interesting too. I'd love to see Randy hold the belt again, but not sure how likely that is. I love the end bit about Rampage. I thought it was funny.
Jackson lands the bigger shots and the decision. Meets Lyoto Machida Super Bowl weekend in ’10.

And if his cornermen are smart, they’ll hide his car keys.

Krupp
02-24-2009, 08:02 PM
I disagree with the HW title picture. I don't see randy getting that belt back. He'll retire within the top 5 of the division, I'm sure. He's not going to get past Brock, because Frank isn't going to get past Brock. That's just how things are going to be. Maybe he'd beat Cro Cop, but then again, Cro Cop's game's been of lately too...

I pretty much agree with all the others, save for a few minor tweaks.

Jason 16
02-24-2009, 08:14 PM
I agree with the bj part if he loses the title it most likely would be his own fault

rockdawg21
02-24-2009, 08:14 PM
I'm with that too. I really don't see Brock losing to Mir again. Mir's guard is legendary for a HW, but I think you'll see Brock fight a standup war the same way Mir defeated Nog. No doubt Brock wins the standup war.

Jason 16
02-24-2009, 08:16 PM
I disagree with the HW title picture. I don't see randy getting that belt back. He'll retire within the top 5 of the division, I'm sure. He's not going to get past Brock, because Frank isn't going to get past Brock. That's just how things are going to be. Maybe he'd beat Cro Cop, but then again, Cro Cop's game's been of lately too...

I pretty much agree with all the others, save for a few minor tweaks.

just how has CC been doing since well his balls got kneed into orbit

rockdawg21
02-24-2009, 08:18 PM
just how has CC been doing since well his balls got kneed into orbit
He's won 2 fights and had a no contest since leaving the UFC. But, to answer your question, he's 3-2 plus 1 no contest since his balls got kneed into orbit (I interpret he lost his balls with PRIDE).

Jason 16
02-24-2009, 08:25 PM
He's won 2 fights and had a no contest since leaving the UFC. But, to answer your question, he's 3-2 plus 1 no contest since his balls got kneed into orbit (I interpret he lost his balls with PRIDE).

Naw http://i34.tinypic.com/332mcy9.jpg It was Dream 6

rockdawg21
02-24-2009, 08:29 PM
Naw http://i34.tinypic.com/332mcy9.jpg It was Dream 6
:rotfl:

Jason 16
02-24-2009, 08:41 PM
that was one of about 12 knee and he only go one warning about it. that was the one no contest

rockdawg21
02-24-2009, 08:42 PM
that was one of about 12 knee and he only go one warning about it. that was the one no contest
I could certainly think of better ways to spend the day.

Krupp
02-24-2009, 08:44 PM
I don't know how cro cop would handle Randy...Apparently before that final knee came, Overeem was dominating him anyway. I don't know if that's the case or not, but I don't think Cro Cop's got his fire back yet. We'll have to wait and see. He's one of my bro's favorite fighters.

Hughes_GOAT
02-24-2009, 08:54 PM
Kongo crushed his sack a few times too.

Jonlion
02-24-2009, 09:05 PM
Very interesting points and all worked out in a way i'd agree with but then it follows the rule that it all works and MMA is always going throw the odd curve ball.

I truly think that the division that truly doesnt have the best man holding it is Jackson.
Forrest is a great fighter but not champion, and i think Rampage if he his on his game will make Rashad another brief champion. I really thought that Rampage had it all to mount his on dynasty of the LHW crown and against Forrest i thought he always looked more dangerous, was always better and had that KO power, he just got beat by an awesome gameplan that Forrest executed beautifully.

Can't fault Forrest but think Rampage will be at the top soon enough.

rockdawg21
02-24-2009, 09:07 PM
Kongo crushed his sack a few times too.
Gonzaga kicked his head into outer space.

Hughes_GOAT
02-24-2009, 09:12 PM
Gonzaga kicked his head into outer space.

ok

Hughes_GOAT
02-24-2009, 09:13 PM
Very interesting points and all worked out in a way i'd agree with but then it follows the rule that it all works and MMA is always going throw the odd curve ball.

I truly think that the division that truly doesnt have the best man holding it is Jackson.
Forrest is a great fighter but not champion, and i think Rampage if he his on his game will make Rashad another brief champion. I really thought that Rampage had it all to mount his on dynasty of the LHW crown and against Forrest i thought he always looked more dangerous, was always better and had that KO power, he just got beat by an awesome gameplan that Forrest executed beautifully.

Can't fault Forrest but think Rampage will be at the top soon enough.

don't forget Machida

que
02-25-2009, 02:41 AM
LW: Kenny Florian

WW: Thiago Alves

MW: Anderson Silva

LHW: Lyoto Machida

HW: Barack Lesnar

VCURamFan
02-25-2009, 02:59 AM
HW: Barack Lesnar :laugh:

Hughes_GOAT
02-25-2009, 03:27 AM
i noticed that too