Was Anderson Right? Trio of UFC 155 Middleweight “Contenders” cast doubt on entire division

Posted: January 2, 2013 in Commentary/Opinion, UFC Events
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MMA: UFC 155-Boetsch vs PhilippouUFC 155 had a trio of what were believed to be some important middleweight fights on the main card. While the importance of those fights was unquestioned going into the night, the results kind of messed things up for a few guys believed to be on the verge on contending.

Tim Boetsch. Boetsch was on the shortlist of possible contenders for Anderson Silva. That list included guys not at UFC 155 like Weidman, Bisping, etc. Unfortunately for Boetsch, his opponent Costa Philippou was nowhere near that list. And now The Barbarian has a really bad loss on his record that might shove him so far back on the list that he may never return. That’s why fighting a guy ranked substantially lower than you can be a real problem.

Alan Belcher. Okami had his chance at Silva and lost. He had gone 1-1 since that fight and quite frankly was starting to be disregarded by most as a steppingstone in the weight class. Belcher has 2 big wins since returning from injury and started staking his claim for a title shot. Not so fast. Belcher was derailed just as Boetsch was—and in boring fashion. Belcher drops off the list of contenders too.

Chris Leben. Need a wildcard? Leben is always tough and ready to fight—and he’s seems to be a favorite of Dana White despite his “issues.” Although he isn’t typically regarded as a top 5 fighter, he’s always in the title mix because of his willingness to take a fight on very short notice. Losing a terrible fight to Strikeforce convert Derek Brunson just put Leben in the category of Dan Hardy.

What does all this mean? Well, it might mean a lot of things. For one, maybe Anderson Silva is correct when he says there aren’t any real fighters in the MW division for him to face. I’ve seen both Boetsch and Belcher quite high in the rankings—in fact Boetsch was as high as #4 in one. If they can’t beat non-top 10 fighters, they certainly aren’t prepared for what The Spider has in store for them.

Secondly, as hard as it is to admit, maybe Michael Bisping is right too. He says he’s the only guy worthy of fighting Silva. With a fight against Vitor Belfort coming soon, I can’t disagree with him. If he beats Belfort, he’s in.

Third, the UFC might be right. I always wondered why (aside from money) the UFC would sabotage the middleweight division in a way, by constantly letting rumors circulate about the champion fighting outside his weight class. I though it made the rest of the guy look weak. But watching UFC 155, looking weak isn’t the fault of the UFC.

In my opinion, outside the upcoming Belfort/Bisping fight, the only remaining contender is Chris Weidman. Weidman doesn’t have a fight lined up yet, because of injury, but whoever he faces will go a long way in telling us if he—or ANYBODY—is ready to fight Silva. A lackluster performance by Weidman will make we wonder even more WHO IN THE HELL Silva plans on fighting to fulfill his new 10 fight contract. Gimmick fights, anyone?

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