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No Room at the Top – The UFC’s 170 Pound Problem

| June 6, 2012 | Reply

If everything had gone to plan, the UFC would have GSP on the mend, Carlos Condit and Jake Ellenberger meeting for the interim title and a pecking order of two or three fighters behind them.  However, some well-placed knees by Martin Kampmann changed all of that.  Now the UFC has an interesting issue, too many qualified contenders.  Not the worst problem to have, unless you’re a fighter on the list waiting your turn.

The top of the UFC’s crowded Welterweight division got a little more congested last weekend, when Martin Kampmann upset Jake Ellenberger to throw his hat in the ring as a top contender.  He ate some punches early, but survived, landed a right hand and then two perfect knees to end the fight in the second round.  It was a huge win for Kampmann, but it does create a logjam atop the division.  Here’s a short list of welterweights who all can claim number one contender status.

Martin Kampmann

Martin has been on a roll, winning three consecutive fights against huge names.  He’s defeated Thiago Alves, Rick Story and Jake Ellenberger now in succession and he wants a shot at Carlos Condit’s interim title belt.  He holds a split decision victory over Condit, when the two met back in 2009.  A rematch would be exciting, and it’s hard to argue against Kampmann deserving it.

Johny Hendricks

Not to be forgotten is the super talented wrestler from Oklahoma State, Johny Hendricks.  He’s been tearing through competition in the UFC, going 8-1 since making the leap from WEC.  He’s beaten top-level talent like, Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, Mike Pierce and Charlie Brenneman with his lone loss coming against Rick Story.  He’s won four consecutive fights against the top guys in the division and he deserves a title shot.

Jake Ellenberger

Listen, Jake did just lose to Kampmann, but he nearly finished him in the first round, and the loss doesn’t take away what he’s accomplished.  He’d won six in a row before that loss, and winning six in a row in the UFC doesn’t just happen.  He was on a fast track to a title shot, and had he won the fight against Kampmann, he would be at the top of this list.

strikeforce shamrock vs diaz 00008 300x199 No Room at the Top – The UFC’s 170 Pound ProblemNick Diaz

Nick is currently serving a suspension for a failed drug test, but that suspension will end in February and at that point, he’ll be back in the mix.  He lost a hotly contested decision to Carlos Condit and as soon as he returns, a match with Georges St Pierre will be the biggest PPV draw for the UFC.  It’s a fight that will happen; it’s just a matter of when, so for that reason, the salty Stockton mean-mugger is on the list.

Honrable Mention – Always a win away from the discussion

Rory MacDonald

The precocious Canadian decided it would be a good idea to call out a sleeping giant, in the form of Hall of Famer BJ Penn.  Penn who had decided it was cool to lay low on the big island and not fight, turned down a callout from Josh Koscheck, but I guess decided he didn’t like MacDonald calling him out.  Truth be told, Rory has not faced anyone the caliber of Penn, and calling him out, might come back to haunt him  The old adage is be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.  A win over Penn however would vault MacDonald into the mix.

Josh Koscheck

Yes, Josh just lost a tough decision to Johny Hendricks, but he’s always a win or two from getting involved in the title picture.  He called out BJ Penn, but Penn passed.  Something tells me that Koscheck might be looking to move north into the Middleweight division to try his hand there.  However if he stays at 170, he can get back in the mix with a win or two.

Siyar Bahadurzada

You might not think he belongs in the mix, but he definitely does.  He’s on a seven fight win streak, and made short work of Paulo Thiago in his UFC debut, knocking him unconscious is just 42 seconds.   Since moving to Welterweight from Middleweight, he’s been unbeatable and has finished all four of his opponents.  He brings Golden Glory striking credentials and that should make the Welterweight division very nervous.  He was scheduled to face Thiago Alves, but an injury to Alves scrapped that.  Instead Siyar will fight Chris Clements.  If he wins that fight and then beats a big name in the division, he’s right in the mix in the UFC.


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Tags: Carlos Condit, Georges St Piere, Jake Ellenberger, Johny Hendricks, Josh Koscheck, Martin Kampmann, MMA, Nick Diaz, Rory MacDonald, Siyar Bahadurzada, UFC

Category: Exclusive, Featured, MMA, Opinion, UFC

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