Plotting the course for former UFC champs

chuck-liddell

In the UFC belts can change hands quickly.

Back when the Randy, Tito, Vitor, and Liddells were owning the light heavyweight scene the 205 title was passed around like candy. Before Jon Jones it wasn’t defended for very long before someone else had it. The heavyweight scene wasn’t any better to be honest and about the only certain was that Matt Hughes was going to be the UFC welterweight champ forever – and then came GSP. Hughes came back after losing the belt and went 0-2 in rematches with GSP, and then went 3-3. His last two losses were by brutal KO and just like Chuck Liddell in his twilight that’s what Matt will be remembered for. Sometimes they stay too long.

So what to do?

weidman-silva-168

Anderson Silva may have the best path and plan already. He faces Nick Diaz in what is being dubbed a “super fight” on January 31, 2015. Silva lost once by KO to now champ Chris Weidman and then that horrific accident where his leg snapped on Chris’s shin. Silva has nothing more to do except put on entertaining fights against moderately competitive opponents. No one wants to see Silva go the way of Chuck Liddell and watch him lose by knockouts thanks to a degrading chin. Once a fighter has been concussed it is easier to get concussed again and that KO by Weidman was nighty night for Silva. It’s part mental and part physical really. Once the lights go out the mind naturally fears being shut down again. However, Silva is smart and it looks like we will get a non-title run for the greatest of all time to finish his career by.

Is Jon "Bones" Jones really ready for the experience and technique of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua? We will find out on March 19 at UFC 128.

Shogun Rua is one of the greatest of all time no doubt. He has had mixed success in the UFC, but he captured the light heavyweight title and that is saying something with the sharks currently in that division. Rua is a dismal 6-7 in the UFC compared to his 16-2 before coming to the USA’s flagship organization. His losses are to Hendo (x2), MMA Viking Gustafsson, Chael P. Sonnen, Forrest Griffin, Lyoto Machida, and of course current champ and terminator Jon Jones. Those are the guys you want to lose to if you have to because every one of them has been a #1 contender or the champion. Think about that for a moment and you will see how incredible that feat really is. Rua doesn’t need to be thinking about the title and he definitely doesn’t need to be destroying the younger guys new to the UFC either.

Let Rua fight Franklin for Rich’s last fight or let him face Machida who is essentially done competing for any title again. A rubber match with the two of them would be entertaining. Lyoto Machida needs to do the same as Rua in my opinion. Legends fights or nothing.

vitor belfort

Vitor Belfort needs one last shot at the title and if he loses he should retire. A 2nd fight with a focused Rich Franklin would be a great show and with Belfort forced to go off TRT it might even be more competitive. Rich admitted to PMN a while back that he wasn’t even there for that fight mentally. He stepped up for Dana and took the fight, and he essentially knew he shouldn’t have. The rematch with Vitor would do the potential firework of a fight true justice. ¬†Belfort could also fight Dan Henderson for both of their last fights if Hendo stays around. That would be an epic rematch in and of itself. Vitor needs to think about his future carefully if he indeed has to come off of TRT. Without that extra assistance he may be in real trouble preparing for a bout. Two more and retire for Belfort if he fails in his fight with Chris Weidman on December 6 of this year.

UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson

Finally, Ben Henderson is struggling. He was seen as a blue collar workhorse champion at 155. He wasn’t the most athletic or talented but he has a gas tank that runs for days. He should take a step back and re-evaluate his career.

He is 3-2 in his last 5 and in serious danger of being the dreaded 3-3. When you hit 3-3 in the UFC you have two options; go on a tear and get a shot, or end up 3-5 and get cut. A good example of an exception to that rule is Chris Lytle who went 10-10 in the UFC, but his fights delivered some of the best action of all time plus – he never lost by KO/TKO. The cut from the Joe Riggs shows the loss as a TKO for their bout at UFC 55, but it was due to doctor stoppage, and in my book doesn’t count as a stoppage TKO – unless you’re Mark Coleman….

Mark celebrates a freak injury to his opponent like he was the first man who just KO’d Fedor.

So, Benson isn’t done yet we know that. He has a lot of fights left in him, but suffering a KO loss in his last fight is a slippery slope in a fighter’s career. He is now aware that he is mortal again. The Pettis ninja kick embarrassment in the WEC showed him that he was not invincible, and while it was a decision victory for Anthony it was the low point of Henderson’s life by his own admission. Bendo rebounded and went on a 7 fight tear including becoming the UFC 155 pound champion.. He even defended it three times before losing to Pettis again this time by submission. He then won two fights before getting knocked out by someone most thought he should have beaten in Rafael Dos Anjos.

Bendo needs to take a step back, start going by Ben not Benson, change his lame nickname from Smooth to Bendo, and then carefully plot a course back to the top. If he loses his next championship bout that could be it mentally for him

Do you agree with our opinions?

Leave a Comment