How dominant is the champ/how much longer can he remain dominant: Georges St. Pierre hasn’t lost a fight since Matt Serra’s fluke KO in 2007. Six years of not losing means you’re pretty dominant.
Are the fans sick of him yet: Paradoxically, GSP’s style is criticized as boring (more dramatic people might label it as sport-killing) yet he’s consistently been one of the UFC’s biggest draws. Regardless of what pundits and annoyed Internet commenters/forum posters say, the numbers show that fans are still paying to see GSP. They’re impressed by his performance (sorry, I’ll show myself out).
How many challengers in the division are/will soon be a legitimate threat to the champ and are those fighters popular enough to carry a weight class: Johny Hendricks, for starters. But if Hendricks loses, then it’s really just Rory Macdonald and maybe Carlos Condit, if he can dramatically improve his takedown defense.
The Score: 2.5/5 wolf tickets. Welterweight is another lacking weight class. If only 2-3 fighters out of the top TEN could realistically get the belt, then you’re gonna have a bad time.
How dominant is the champ/how much longer can he remain dominant: Benson Henderson has defended his title three times. Two of those wins have been by razor-thin split decision — thinner than Corey Hill’s shins. He’s winning, but he’s not dominant. He’s not wrecking guys left and right.
Are the fans sick of him yet: We’d say yes, but to be sick of someone you have to like them to begin with. Judging by the numbers, fans have never liked or even cared about Henderson. Controversial decision wins that haven’t been terribly exciting aren’t fixing this problem.
How many challengers in the division are/will soon be a legitimate threat to the champ and are those fighters popular enough to carry a weight class: Lots more than in the other weight classes. Bendo’s talents aren’t an order of magnitude higher than the other top fighters in the division. TJ Grant, Anthony Pettis, and even Josh Thomson and Gilbert Melendez (who “lost” to Henderson) have enough fighting acumen to take out the champ.
The Score: 3.5/5 toothpicks. While the belt isn’t switching hands every other PPV, lightweight is by far the most competitive of the “core” weight classes in the UFC.
How dominant is the champ/how much longer can he remain dominant: Thus far, the UFC has set the pins up, and Jose Aldo has knocked them down. He looked shaky against Mark Hominick but it was due to being sick as well as a bad weight cut.
Are the fans sick of him yet: There are no anti-Aldo grumblings because of his fan-friendly style. But Aldo, like many fighters of the lighter weight classes, hasn’t been much of a draw on PPV.
How many challengers in the division are/will soon be a legitimate threat to the champ and are those fighters popular enough to carry a weight class: None. Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar both failed with their wrestler-boxer styles. Chan Sung Jung is set to meet Aldo at UFC 163, but if the two former men couldn’t drag Aldo to the mat and keep him there, “The Korean Zombie” doesn’t have much of a chance — and he’s certainly not going to out-strike Aldo. The same could be said for other 145-pound top-fivers Cub Swanson and Ricardo Lamas.
The Score: 2/5 Mark Hominick hematomas. Featherweight is like middleweight or light heavyweight except the casual fans don’t care about it. Nice.