So with this being my first post I think it's best to create a little controversy (hopefully). Everyone has their own opinion about who is the best in each division and these lists are by no means comprehensive nor exhaustive. I'm simply picking the 5 fighters in each of the 5 major divisions who would cause the most problems for anyone they match up against. Feel free to chime in with your own opinions about why my picks are awesome or who I missed.
1. Fedor - It was very tempting to put Minotauro at the top but with Fedor's complete game and unparalleled aggressiveness it's impossible to leapfrog anyone over him until there is another fight between the two. However, it will be interesting to see how he fights Sylvia considering Minotauro won a signature match against Sylvia so recently and it'll be Fedor's first real test in years.
2. Minotauro - UFC heavyweight champion and all around BJJ badass. Always gets rocked and usually still wins (unless he fights numero uno). How?? I will never know but he does and in this sport winning is everything. He is developing his standup but his grappling and submissions might be the best in the game and definitely the best of anyone over 200 lbs.
3. Randy Couture - Although his window is closing he could probably still beat up everyone outside of numbers 1 and 2. He claims he won't fight anyone but Fedor but a Couture vs. Nogueira fight would be a WAR. Hopefully he'll get back in the cage soon and show us youngsters he's still got it.
4. Fabricio Werdum - My first "dangerous" pick. Many would argue Sylvia or Arlovski ahead of him but both of those fighters haven't done much in the cage recently and are incredibly one dimensional. While their fights are often more exciting than a Werdum fight this Chute Boxe fighter has all the makings of a number 1 contender. And who wouldn't want to see Chute Boxe fight a (former) BTT'er?
5. Gabriel Gonzaga - He's young, he's hungry, and he's dangerous. He was over matched against my number 3 and needs to improve his game to keep up with fellow Brazilian Werdum but would give anyone else at 205+ major headaches. He has a much more complete game than Sylvia and Arlovski combined and he is younger. I see bright things in store for him as long as he can keep progressing at such a torrid pace.
1. Rampage - Without a doubt the best at 205 in the world. He finally has a stable and competent camp and you can see in every fight how he gets better and better. He will always be a wrestler/brawler but is so overpowering and tough that it's difficult for me to see anyone over matching him anytime soon. They'll have to outwork him and out think him and pray they don't get caught.
2. Keith Jardine - Grab your torches and pitchforks! This is sacrilege! Well maybe, but in my opinion it's also the truth. Jardine has beaten the current number 1 contender as well as the former champ and besides coming into the Houston Alexander fight unprepared and getting caught has been one of the fastest risers in MMA. Greg Jackson made him competent on the ground but he is down right scary on his feet. Not a knockout artist but can pick you apart like nobody's business.
3. Forrest Griffin - Gets more hype than deserved but you can't help but love him! Proved his worth in the cage against Shogun after some less than stellar performances and deserved a title shot. I still can't see how he'll beat Rampage and I think Jardine is a better fighter period, but if he can make Shogun tap there's little reason to believe he couldn't beat any of the other usual suspects like Liddell and Wanderlei who usually make these lists.
4. Lyoto Machida - His crazy style is a tough match up for anyone and although he looks somewhat small to be fighting at 205 he still manages to push around his opponents. Hopefully he will get his title shot soon (not before Jardine, assuming he beats Wanderlei) as long as he doesn't come into the Ortiz fight thinking it'll be a walk in the park.
5. Iceman - His win over Wanderlei and Shogun's disappearance after losing to Forrest and his rash of injuries means Liddell gets the nod here. He won't be fighting for a long time so he'll probably fall off this list as other fights occur but for now, he rounds out this motley crew.
* Note: Dan Henderson is not on this list as he has officially stated his intentions to stay at 185
1. Spider - Was there ever any doubt?? In my opinion the #1 fighter in the world. Period.
2. Rich Franklin - Great fighter and great guy. Looked good enough against Lutter. It's unfair that Anderson Silva is just that much better than everyone else.
3. Dan Henderson - His window is closing but he is still better than almost everyone in this weight class. I would love to see a Henderson vs. Franklin fight but I doubt Henderson would take such a tough fight after losing so convincingly to Silva.
4. Paulo Filho - Looked downright terrible against Chael Sonnen but he still won. Hopefully once he gets his head straight we'll see the fighter he was before all these problems arose. Potentially he could challenge Silva which is more appealing than the Okami fight everyone is saying has to happen (simply because Silva has no one else to fight).
5. Yushin Okami - This was a tough choice with Okami nearly edging Nate Marquardt. However, Marquardt was already dominated by Silva and Okami looks like the next logical opponent. He lost to Rich Franklin so I doubt he'll last long against Silva or against the other 2 guys on this list but a strong fighter at 185 none the less.
1. Georges St. Pierre - Proved that last April was a fluke much to my chagrin considering he beat Long Island's own Matt Serra. However he is my #2 overall fighter in the world and I would love to see a Silva vs. St. Pierre fight. Everyone seems to be pretty tight lipped about the possibility of this though.
2. Jon Fitch - He is an incredible wrestler and has a strong overall MMA game. He is officially the number 1 contender in the division now. I'm not sure if he can keep pace with Rush but it should be a good fight with both fighters looking to impose their will on the other.
3. Carlos Condit - I know you're all thinking "What about Hughes, Koscheck, and Parisyan?" well Hughes got dominated by GSP. Koscheck got dominated by GSP. Parisyan lost to Thiago Alves. Condit has been burning up the WEC and shows no signs of slowing. Could potentially challenge GSP if Condit keeps winning and GSP defends against Fitch. Can you tell I think the UFC is not using their daughter organization enough?
4. Josh Koscheck - Seems to be able to impose his will on anyone but GSP. Could possibly be the next Matt Hughes if he can improve his ground and pound and not worry about being a stand up fighter so much.
5. Thiago Alves - Just destroyed Parisyan and is the fastest riser at 170. It'll be interesting to see him fight top 5 competition but I think he'll give anyone a run for their money with his devastating standup and good ground game.
1. BJ Penn - One of the top 5 P4P fighters in the world and the match up with Sherk is sure to be a firestorm. Probably not a more well rounded fighter out there.
2. Takanori Gomi - Would like to see him fight more top level competition but was a Pride superstar with a well rounded game.
3. Mitsuhiro Ishida - Dominating wrestler and recently beat Gilbert Melendez. Needs to fight tougher competition to stay on the list but hard to put many ahead of him after a win over Melendez.
4. Gilbert Melendez - A dominating fighter who is well rounded. With his only blemish being against Ishida it's hard to not see him as one of the best up and comers in the sport.
5. Sean Sherk - The most dominating ground and pounder for sure at 155 and possibly P4P. Can impose his will on anyone. His steroids scandal aside, he is definitely a force to be reckoned with in any fight at 155. Penn will need all his flexibility and BJJ skills because he won't last long on his feet and won't outwrestle Sherk. Also, BJ better train his ass off otherwise Sherk will run it right out of the cage.
* Note: Would love to see if Faber could make the jump to lightweight considering no one is even testing him anymore at 145. If he beats Pulver the way I think he can I think it's time to make the jump.
That's it for now people. Keep it tuned and please get involved!
Soccer kicks and head stomps...