Don’t drink and: drive, dial, text, facebook, or photoshop. -Anonymous
Let’s face it, Nation. The lightweight field in the UFC is a hopeless clusterfoxtrot. Half of the names in the top ten last summer are either not at 155 anymore, or suddenly non-factors. Six months ago, the WEC-UFC roster merger was supposed to clear up, once and for all, who the best fighters were.
The UFC title fight between Gray Maynard and champ Frankie Edgar was supposed to coincide nicely with the WEC’s own lightweight title fight at the December 16th event, the last by the promotion. Anthony “Showtime Kick” Pettis defeated champion Ben Henderson by a close (but stupifyingly impressive) decision, something you would assume gives Henderson some legitimate claim to a title shot, or at least a number to get in line.
So now Showtime is bumped back. And so is Bendo. Kenny Florian, the fighter’s union VP in charge of Runner-Upism and Bridesmaidery, is a smart guy, so he announces he’s going to featherweight. (That’s forty pounds lighter than he was when he was second place to Diego Sanchez on the first season of TUF, for those who lost track at home.)
Sean Sherk has been out rehabbing injuries so long that we’ll just pretend he’s walking the earth, being a hero and solving crimes. And BJ Penn has long since announced his intention to carefully diet his way to welterweight, so he can enjoy his adult years without working so hard, brah.
Maynard and Edgar need to beat each other up again, except they can’t because they both have broken or torn something, and while no, it’s totally not serious, they both need to rehab. (And hey, good for them. Come in healthy and fight like that again, fellas. Just — one of you please win next time?)
So WEC-champ-but-not-really Pettis takes a fight with Clay Guida, and Ben Henderson draws a tough matchup with Jim Miller. Pettis feels like if he can’t beat Guida, he doesn’t deserve the shot, and everyone nods and goes along. Guida doesn’t like the presumption, so The Carpenter Dude goes out there and grinds out a win and spoils everything.
So…Guida is the new WEC lightweight champ, right? Which is cool and all, except it’s pretty fresh in everyone’s mind how Guida got handled by Kenny Florian, the guy that just up and bounced from the division altogether.
On top of that, Dana White is saying that Jim Miller is next in line for a shot at the UFC 155 strap, and not the sorta-WEC-champion. Of course, that shot is itself contingent on Miller winning over Ben Henderson, a guy that has to be in the top 10 fighters that WILL! NOT! TAP! (Note to self: not a bad idea…) So that couldn’t possibly go wrong.
So Miller and Henderson will play Combat Twister at UFC Live: Lytle vs Hardy on August 14, which will hopefully get us a contender. That’s not even taking into account who Guida will defend his WEC not-there belt against. Melvin Guillard could make a case for himself on July 2nd … or perhaps Jeremy Stephens will get a shot. Or Evan Dunham. Hell, Sherk could show back up.
Who knows? This division is nuts.
Fingers crossed, we’ll get a UFC championship fight sometime in September or October. After that, we’ll start sorting this mess out. We’re way past the point of suggesting that they have a battle royale. Give us six more months, and we’ll be ready to endorse steroids and one-night tournaments.
Not that we’re complaining, you understand. Just keep them fights coming, fellas.