MMA Access: The Middleweight Situation in the UFC & Strikeforce
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 05:29
Written by PunchDrunkGamer
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 05:29
BEHIND THE SCENES MMA ARTICLES & INTERVIEWS
The Middleweight Situation in the UFC & Strikeforce
By Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester
This has been an interesting last couple of weeks for Zuffa’s Middleweight divisions in both the UFC and Strikeforce. The UFC Midldleweight Champion, Anderson Silva shut down the rivalry between him and Chael Sonnen at UFC 148. Once the almost sure to be number one contender Mark Munoz failed to capture the opportunity by suffering a loss to rising prospect and now top contender Chris Weidman. Strikeforce Champion Luke Rockhold defended his championship once again against tough former U.S. Special Forces soldier Tim Kennedy in the main event on Saturday night. As both the UFC and Strikeforce work to clear up their Welterweight divisions, now their Middleweight divisions find themselves in a Russian roulette of who are the legitimate contenders.
There is no denying that Chris Weidman is the next big thing in the UFC’s Middleweight division. After stifling the strong and burly Mark Munoz, who was likely the last and only legitimate middleweight contender, Chris Weidman finds himself in a situation that might be good and bad for his career. During his post-victory speech, Wieidman called out Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva who is fresh off his successful title defense against Sonnen. Is this young talent ready for such a big step in his career? He thinks so. But most believe putting Weidman in the Octagon with Silva at the moment would be like putting a kitten in a cage with three-month starved lions. He would be slaughtered.
With Chael Sonnen, the only man who seemed to be Silva’s Bane to his Batman, now 0-2 against the Middleweight champion, is there anything left for him to do in this crowded division? Recent talk is that he has considered moving up to Light-Heavyweight where he competed before earlier in his career. He has stated that he will continue to vie for a belt, and if he cannot achieve such a feat, then it is his time to retire. While he has had words with Light-Heavyweight Lyoto Machida, there are still several fights for him at Middleweight. Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva – two men who would surely love to punch him in the face. But with Anderson Silva still remaining Middleweight champion, would it just be a waste of his time? As the likelihood of him getting a third chance at Silva is approximately 3,720 to 1. Despite the reference, basically the odds aren’t in his favor.
There are other contenders in the Middleweight division in Alan Belcher, Michael Bisping, Hector Lombard, and Tim Boetsch. The latter two are in a bout that is July 21 at UFC 149. Michael Bisping versus Brian Stann has also just been recently announced. While the Bisping and Stann fight will surely promote someone closer to #1 Contender status, the winner isn’t likely to become the top contender in the division. Stann is the only one coming off a victory (defeated Alessio Sakara), while Bisping’s last fight was a loss against former #1 contender Chael Sonnen. The only fight that would give the UFC a true #1 Contender at the moment is likely the Hector Lombard versus Tim Boetsch fight. Yet, that would only depend on Lombard winning. The former Bellator champion’s debut in the UFC will take place this weekend. Most expect him to take the victory easily, but ask Joe Rogan about Tim Boestch comeback skills since he nearly lost his marbles while commenting on Boestch’s comeback victory over Yushin Okami at UFC 144 in February; i.e. never count out the Barbarian.
If Lombard were to lose, well that would make the situation at middleweight even worse. Would Weidman then become #1 Contender? Or would a Weidman versus Alan Belcher fight make sense? With Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold begging for a UFC and Strikeforce middleweight merge or to be invited to the UFC, there are a myriad of options. While that merger and invitation is highly unlikely at the moment, it just goes to show that the Middleweight division is very crowded at the moment with contender options. In any case, with Anderson Silva reigning over the middleweight division like a mythical deity, it is hard to say who even stands a chance against the champion and who will be the one to dethrone the pound-for-pound greatest.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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