09 Oct Superman’s Kryptonite: Bad Matchups for Current UFC Champions
There is no such thing as ‘perfect’ and even though the word is pretty much thrown around more often than I would like, everybody is invincible– including UFC champions.
Of course, all of these current kingpins are so damn well-rounded that finding a weakness for them would be like finding a specific grain of sand in the Pacific Ocean. But theoretically, every fighter likes to fight one way and oftentimes avoid the other, and maybe– just maybe– we will find someone who could make them a little more uncomfortable.
Yes, styles do make fights. That’s why Anderson Silva isn’t your champion right now because of that wrestler guy from Long Island named Chris Weidman. You might have heard of him.
So yes, I made my point, here are fighters from each division who can give current UFC champions fits.
(C) Demetrius Johnson: John Dodson
This one is kinda tricky.
Demetrious Johnson has been doing some house cleaning so thorough he has beaten every single guy in the division out there. Joe Benavidez (twice), Ian McCall (twice), Bagautinov, Cariaso, you name it, he took ’em out. And that includes John Dodson.
While Benavidez (UD) and McCall (draw) made a heap of trouble for “Mighty Mouse”, the UFC’s inaugural flyweight champion came back and destroyed both in rematches.
Dodson, on the other hand, fought (and lost) to Johnson in a Fight of the Night performance at UFC on Fox 6, even knocking down the champ twice in spectacular fashion. Of course, more than sheer power and explosiveness will be needed to put away the Kentucky native, so the latter’s superior experience and championship poise prevailed in that fight.
But who doesn’t want an encore? I’m raising my hand right now, seriously!
(C) TJ Dillashaw: Dominick Cruz
This one is pretty easy and you hear it here first: Dominic Cruz will beat TJ Dillashaw senseless and claim what was rightfully his in the first place.
While Cruz might be the “unluckiest guy” on Earth losing his title via injuries, “The Dominator” looked untouchable in his first Octagon return in three years, blasting Japanese toughie Takeya Mizugaki in just over a minute. The frightening pace is there while the power is intact and that makes one wicked recipe for Dillashaw’s demise.
The chief is home my friends. The chief has returned home.
(C) Ronda Rousey: Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino
This is no way a knock on “Rowdy” because we might never see someone execute the most beautiful hip and body throws ever, but where Rousey is weakest that’s where Cyborg proves strongest.
The UFC’s Women’s bantamweight champion is far and away the best grappler in all of women’s MMA but there were times she failed to stay in the pocket with her striking, which opens up the possibility of being countered by stronger stand-up artists. And who among the female of the species is better (and tougher) than Cris Justino?
If ‘Cyborg’ can get Rousey’s hands off her and drag the champ to a bloody, dirty striking war with her, the Brazilian’s arm will undoubtedly be raised at the end of the fight with the gold around her waist.
(C) Jose Aldo: Conor McGregor
This ain’t no blasphemy folks, but I can never reiterate this too much, styles do make fights.
Jose Aldo could be the best Brazilian fighter not named Anderson Silva but his penchant for technical striking may be his demise fighting a herky-jerky, seemingly out-of-pace striker like Conor McGregor.
History suggests Aldo do very well against wrestlers and his previous wins over Chad Mendes, Ricardo Lamas, and Mike Brown proved the point. Statistically, Aldo is sixth-best (88.9%) in the promotion’s history when it comes to takedown defense so that part of the game is practically shut down when you fight the 28-year-old Manaus, Brazil native.
Which brings us to McGregor and his endless psyche game and trash talks and awkward style. Will it be enough to dethrone the only featherweight champ the UFC has ever known? Who knows, but in a stand-up war, my money is on “Notorious” or the next champ on this list….
(C) Anthony Pettis: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Probably the most dynamic striker in MMA, Anthony Pettis also has one of the most exciting, fan-friendly styles that often elicits oooohsss and aaaahhhssss from the crowd. He has flirted with moving down to 145 to get a crack at Aldo’s belt, but that dream match hasn’t materialized so far. As I’ve said, if not McGregor, ‘Showtime’ gets my vote of confidence.
But then again, before he sinks his teeth to another endeavor, why not do some house cleaning first?
Assuming he gets past Gilbert Melendez (which I think he will), the most difficult matchup for Pettis could be the multiple world Combat Sambo champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. A very, very accomplished grappler, “The Eagle” holds the record for most takedowns in a fight (21), doing it against a solid wrestler in Abel Trujillo and is unbeaten in 22 fights!
Remember how Clay Guida controlled and contained Pettis’ potent striking game? ‘Showtime’ may have gotten better with his ground skills but can he pull it together against a world-class, ‘top of the food chain’ type of contender like Nurmagomedov?
(C) Johny Hendricks: Rory McDonald
Rory MacDonald will be the world champion before we even realize it. The only matter for Ares is getting it all together, and at 25, he has all the time in the world to do that.
While Hendricks doesn’t have many weapons to lean on other than the dynamites he calls hands, MacDonald is virtually a young sage, with already 20 fights under his belt way before his 26th birthday. Not to mention he was groomed by Georges St. Pierre himself, MacDonald seems to adjust very quickly on the fly and knows how to neutralize brawlers with one-punch KO power (I see you, T-Wood!)
Count your days now, oh Johny. If Robbie Lawler can’t get you, Rory Mac will.
(C) Chris Weidman: Luke Rockhold
It’s pretty much a toss-up between ‘Jacare’ and Rockhold, but taking Weidman’s size and reach into consideration, the AKA standout gets the nod.
A pretty diverse striker who uses his range very well, Rockhold is also one of the division’s most decorated grapplers. Weidman likes to hold opponents down and execute some punishing ground and pound, but Rockhold’s active guard and cerebral approach to the game can play a big part if ever the match goes down to the mat.
In a psychological battle, the former Strikeforce Middleweight champion hardly gives an inch and that could be the determinant in a thin line between winning and losing.
(C) Jon Jones: Daniel Cormier
I know, I know.
Alexander Gustafsson is in everybody’s list as the only threat to Jon Jones‘ reign, but I beg to reconsider. While I may be going out of a limb and kind of contradicted myself, but look closely and you’ll see why.
While ‘Bones’ enjoys a full foot of reach advantage on DC, Cormier ain’t going to strike with him. The Louisiana native has experience fighting guys much larger than Jones and was the heavyweight champion of a major promotion, battling (and slamming) Josh Barnett in one fight and knocking the life out of ‘Bigfoot’ Silva in another. Those are two legit monsters and DC wheezed through them with amazing ease!
Jones’ elbows are machetes in their own right but if DC closes the gap and gets his hands anywhere near Jones’ body, he’s tossing him like a rag doll, control him like a dummy, and probably finish it right there.
And if you have the next champion on this list as a training buddy, I can’t see no reason why he can’t handle Jonny Bones.
(C) Cain Velasquez: Stipe Miocic
Just call Cain Velasquez‘ loss to Junior Dos Santos a very small blip on the radar. He’s going to be the champ until he retires and nobody will be surprised; I may not put a fighter opposite him in this list and nobody will clamor for my head. That’s how dominant a champion Velasquez is.
Stipe Miocic isn’t as flashy as say an Overeem or a ground wizard like Werdum, but his conditioning, speed, TD defense, and precision striking is all up there with anybody.
Will it be enough to rival Velasquez? That’s a question I’d like to be answered sooner rather than later.
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