Written by: Jeff O'Neill
Written by Jeff O
- After their rematch what happens in the Lightweight Division?
Let’s pretend we’re Joe Silva for a few minutes.
The UFC has a few weight classes that don’t seem to have a surplus of challengers. However the lightweight division is very different, the 155 pound weight class is ripe with talent.
You have the elite of the division: Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard and possibly Gilbert Melendez. Then you have the contenders: Jim Miller, Melvin Guillard, Clay Guida, and Dennis Siver. There are also a few guys who are on the verge of contention and a few guys who just fell out, these men include: Anthony Pettis, Ben Henderson, George Sotiropoulos and Evan Dunham.
So say you make a tournament with these guys, do you make an eight man tournament or a sixteen man?
Before we get started, Jim Miller is scheduled to fight Ben Henderson in August and Edgar-Maynard III should happen sometime this fall. But this is all hypothetical anyway so away we go.
If you make an eight man who gets left out? Obviously Edgar, Maynard, Melendez, Miller, Guillard, Siver and Guida all make it. That’s seven so you have one more spot to give. Maybe a qualifying bout between Henderson and Pettis. An eight man tournament would solve things within a year or so barring injuries but why not open it up more?
Obviously with a larger field it would take longer to solve things out however when all the dust settles you have the King of the lightweights. You take the nine men from above and add in Sotiropoulos, Dunham, Donald Cerrone, Sean Sherk, Matt Wiman, Jeremy Stephens and Joe Lauzon.
Now there could be some argument as to whether some of these guys deserve a spot but all of these guys have won a few fight of the night awards and are top 20 guys.
How do you split the guys up, do you let the lower ranked fighters fight each other to get to the top? Or throw them into the fire and make them fight a top three guy? Styles make fights so what we can do is pair guys who have similar styles together and create fireworks throughout.
So round one goes a little like this:
Edgar vs Ben Henderson: Both talented with a nice wrestling base, a fight between these two would certainly be entertaining. Henderson seems to get better every fight and Frankie Edgar is a four time fight of the night award winner and the current lightweight champ.
Dennis Siver vs Anthony Pettis: Showtime finally gets a fight where he can show off all of his mosh pit striking against someone almost as dangerous in Siver. Not too much ground action but this bout will set the record of most spinning attacks.
Evan Dunham vs George Sotiropoulos: Both men in need of a win after back to back losses this could be one of the only bouts that may not be entertaining. Both guys aren’t known for their striking and since both have stellar ground games the majority of the bout could happen on the feet.
Joe Lauzon vs Matt Wiman: A bit of a reunion for these two as both appeared on season five of The Ultimate Fighter. Win or lose Lauzon is always entertaining and he always seems to be on the edge of the top 10. Some would argue that Wiman didn’t lose to Siver at UFC 132 but he is a three time fight of the night winner and Lauzon himself has won seven fight night awards.
Melvin Guillard vs Gilbert Melendez: Melendez is somewhat of a mystery to casual fans, as he has never fought in the UFC, he hasn’t lost in over three years and he is still improving. Guillard may be the most entertaining fighter in the division, great wrestling and power that has recently left Evan Dunham and Shane Roller sprawled out on the canvas.
Clay Guida vs Jim Miller: Clay Guida is one fighter who has actually never been in a fight that is boring, you could have him fight a wall and it would still be more entertaining then most Jon Fitch fights. Miller has only lost to the top two lightweights in the world and seems to improve every fight.
Gray Maynard vs Sean Sherk: Sean Sherk may have what it takes to beat Maynard here, he could keep it standing where he would have a speed advantage and possibly better cardio. Maynard is called the ‘bully’ for a reason and could do what he has done to most of the division in this one.
Jeremy Stephens vs Donald Cerrone: Another great fight here, Stephens always comes out with bad intentions and he has left multiple fighters unconscious. Cerrone has quickly racked up a few wins in the UFC after coming over from the WEC and is another guy who goes out to hurt opponents.
After the first round you could mix and match to get matchups that could draw well. When all is said and done there will be more than one winner, the grand prix champion and we as fans win most of all.