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The Aftermath: UFC 109

The constantly revolving doors of the UFC talent pool is a necessary evil. It seems like every time a UFC takes place a handful of fighters are handed their walking papers from the promotion, and that’s exactly why I’m going to kick this edition of “The Aftermath” off with a list of….

Those that appear to run the highest risk of being released from the organization following UFC 109:

Frank Trigg – It’s not that losing back to back fights to welterweights like Josh Koscheck and former champion Matt Serra is an unforgivable offense as far as his future with the UFC was concerned, but it’s the fashion of the way Trigg has gone out in the previously mentioned bouts. It hasn’t been pretty.

Phillipe Nover – It was a victory for Nover to come back and complete this bout in the UFC following the syncopal spell that forced his last minute removal from an anticipated UFC Fight Night 19 showdown with Sam Stout, but three consecutive defeats in the Octagon at the hands of guys like Efrain Escudero, Kyle Bradley and Rob Emerson make it hard for the UFC to justify Nover’s place with the promotion.

Justin Buchholz – Much like Nover, the fact that we are even discussing a possible vacation from the UFC for Justin is an absolute testament to the promotion’s increasingly stacked and talent filled 155 pound weight class. However, with that being said, back-to-back… to back defeats at the hands of Terry Etim, Jeremy Stephens and Mac Danzig are going to make the case for Buchholz to stay in the UFC a hard one to make.

Raw Talent. “Mr. Wonderful” making it look easy. Finally, Phil Davis has arrived. I’ve been telling anyone that would listen for the last year about this ridiculously talented former NCAA Champion wrestler out of Penn State that was poised to have a tremendous impact on the future of the UFC’s light heavyweight division, and Davis’ performance at UFC 109 solidified my belief that the undefeated twenty-five year old has all of the tools necessary to go as far as he chooses to in the sport in due time. Davis is one of the few wrestlers with the unique ability to convert a series of takedowns combined with technical top control throughout the course of a bout into of the most fascinating aspects of the game to watch. Top notch wrestling at it’s finest combined with what appears to be an unlimited level of raw fighting talent for the still developing Davis have officially merged to put the ENTIRE light heavyweight division on notice.

Smile Now, Cry Later. Mike Swick looked way too happy going into the beating he caught from Paulo Thiago, even going as far as to exclaim that he was “back” during his trip to the Octagon. It was almost as if Swick was trying to convince himself that he was “back”. It appeared obvious that “Quick” meant to stay as relaxed and upbeat as possible going into his match-up with the dangerous Brazilian, and it also appeared obvious that Thiago meant to stay clear headed and…. well , a little bit pissed to be honest. Kind of the way Swick normally has looked prior to running through his opponents in the past.

Unnecessary Weight Loss. I have felt, and still absolutely feel that Mike Swick should move back up to what appears to be a healthier and more natural 185 pound weight class. It seems like the former light heavyweight from The Ultimate Fighter loses quite a bit from his level of explosiveness and power from the drop. So much attention is centered around cutting down to the lowest weight possible in this sport but one could look directly at a fighter such as Fedor Emelianenko to understand that every athlete should approach their specific situation on an individual level.

The Real Deal. Paulo Thiago just keeps getting better and better. Of course there’s that nasty decision loss at the hands of the constant grinder Jon Fitch on his resume, but Thiago has shown the type of promise in his first four bouts in the UFC with victories over the likes of Josh Koscheck, Jacob Volkmann, and now Mike Swick, that future champions are made of.

Back To The Drawing Board. So now that Chael Sonnen has pulled the rabbit out of his hat in the form of a three round pummeling of “The Great” , where does this loss leave Nate Marquardt? I still feel like Marquardt is without a doubt one of the most dangerous middleweights in the world, but the defeat suffered at the hands of Chael Sonnen during UFC 109 highlighted two previously unnoticed chinks in the Greg Jackson trained fighter’s armor. The first being his inability to deal with the type of top level wrestling that an opponent such as Sonnen will offer up. The second being any type of answer off his back in the form of a submission. Sonnen was staying extremely busy on top, but he was enabled to stay busy through a lack of a serious submission threat from the opponent beneath him. A loss in this fashion is exactly the type of loss can make a fighter reconsider some of the training methods that had gotten him there; Much like Yushin Okami before him.

Unlikely Challenger. Could Chael Sonnen be the guy to beat Anderson Silva? I’m just saying… it’s definitely a question that deserves to be asked at this point. I would have slapped myself right in the face if I had caught myself even considering the possibility at any point before last night, but now… well I’m not going to slap myself; I’ll put it that way. I have no doubt that Chael possesses the type of wrestling pedigree that it would take to deposit “The Spider” directly on his bottom, but how long can he keep him there without being submitted. If it was a three round fight I could actually see a situation where Sonnen could manage to come out with a victory, but a potential bout with Anderson would most likely be of the five round variety. Based on what I saw at the end of the bout between Sonnen and Marquardt last night I would have to believe that Silva would catch him in the fourth or fifth rounds if he doesn’t catch him in the first three; But who knows, crazier things have happened.

Not main event worthy? Is anyone complaining about having Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman as a main event now? I think as fans of the sport that sometimes we can get a little too caught up in the lack of a major championship match-up in every UFC that we can lose track of the big picture. The bottom line is that Randy Couture earned his position as a headlining draw a long time ago for exactly the same reasons that he showcased at UFC 109. The saying goes that you’re only as good as your last performance and unfortunately it is an expression widely embraced by a huge majority of the casual fans today. Couture vs. Vera was not an exciting fight; I’m not going to argue that for one moment; But go ahead and tell me the last time “Captain America” took part in anything less than a memorable battle…… go ahead, I’ll give you time to search it. The fact of the matter is that you would have to go all the way back to 2001 to fight a bout that could even be argued as being lackluster on the part of Couture. Couture delivered on Saturday night just as he has throughout his decorated career, and just as he will when he faces off with the winner of Machida vs. Rua II.

Randy Couture earned it. Saturday night’s performance absolutely justified Randy Couture as the next challenger to the light heavyweight title following the inevitable 205 pound championship rematch between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Sure, “The Natural” looked as good as he could have in dismantling Coleman in Las Vegas, and I completely understand that beating “The Hammer” doesn’t exactly justify an immediate title shot, but this is a business. A business that’s in the business of making money, and Randy Couture looking to become a UFC champion for the sixth time at what will be forty-seven years of age is an extremely good look for the promotion in the sense that dollars always seem to make sense.

18 COMMENTS
  • LiverPunch says:

    Are you drunk?
    “Saturday night’s performance absolutely justified Randy Couture as the next challenger to the light heavyweight title”
    So he will leap frog Rampage, Thiago, Evans, Cain, Jones, Griffin and Ortiz because he beat the worst Mark Coleman I’ve ever seen. Honestly? are you serious?.
    Also why does everyone think that Sonnens win is so amazing? He has recently beaten A former world no. 1, another top 10 guy in Okami and was a top 10 guy himself. On the other hand I’m pretty sure Marquardt has only ever beaten one guy who was ranked top 10 at the time he fought them and that was when Maia rushed in and got caught with the very first punch Marquardt threw if I recall. On paper this is not an upset at all, just peoples perception. Neg away but please if you can put some sort of argument together. I can’t stand it when people just neg becase they don’t like hearing something rather than having an argument.

  • nate says:

    why hasnt anyone mentioned colemans outburst on tito after the match? im curious to know what tito had said to mark to make him grab the mic & tell him to eff off. lol. can you imagine if chael sonnen won the belt AND won a seat in the senate? haha more signs of the apocalypse.

  • Kuch says:

    Tito yelled that his wife had a bigger penis than Coleman.

    Probably accurate…but not the nicest thing to scream about the women you have to sleep next to.

    Apparently Mark didn’t agree.

  • dpk says:

    I really don’t think Randy deserves a title shot right now. I’d like to see him fight Thiago Silva next, or either Rampage or Rashad after their fight. But business is business, so he will probably jump some guys and get a shot.

    I think you can also add Hague, and maybe even Gracie to the guys who will be leaving UFC after this card.

    I am also big on Phil Davis, if he is handled right and continues to progress then I could see him easily being a top 10 HW in about 18 months, and a serious Champion or contender for along time.

    Paulo Thiago is impressive. Most of the top guys at WW already have fights coming up, but I think fights with either Serra or Kim could be interesting in the near future. Of course a rematch with Kos or a fight with Alves could also be in the works.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    Swick moving back to 185 might not be a bad idea, it seems as though lately the trend of moving as far down in weight is going away. Some top fighters like Deigo, Nate Diaz are moving up to a more natural weight.
    Paulo is a very good fighter in the WW division, very solid hands, great grappling and a very tough guy, hopefully the ufc can give him some credit because he took out two of three top 5 WW fighters very decisively.
    I really though Sonnen would win in that fashon as his wrestling alone is very hard to beat, but it also makes Mia’s win over him even more impressive and his recent win over Miller a very good comeback. I would like to see the rematch between Nate and Maia.

  • Rich S. says:

    1. I’d say Trigg’s already out the door, Buchholz stands a good chance of getting kicked but I’m not sure, and I doubt Nover will get fired.. Idk, I just think Dana really likes that guy.. If anything he’ll tell him to get some more wins under his belt in smaller promotions, but guarantee him his spot back.. Or, maybe Nover will find a spot in the WEC.. Also, I think Rolles stands a good chance of getting the boot.. I guess I’m the only one that found his performance ridiculous, maybe I should rewatch the fight to be sure..

    2. Mr. Wonderful has some awesome matchups waiting for him in this division, I just hope he works his standup because this is a heavily standup-oriented division and the last one in the world you want to be in without some nice striking..

    3. On one hand, I think moving back up to 185 would be great for Swick, now that he has grown tremendously as a fighter, and added countless more skills to his repertoire.. On the other hand, I still think he’s a force at WW, he’s just made some silly mistakes that cost him the fight.. Still, I’d like to see him move back up and get some of that power back..

    4. I think it’s a bit too soon to say Nate Marquardt doesn’t have an answer for strong wrestlers.. Don’t forget who we’re talking about here.. BJJ Black Belt, World Champion, one of the most mature, experienced fighters in the division, and EASILY on of the BEST this division has ever seen.. Am I seriously the only one that thinks it’s fishy that Nate the Great got laid on for 3 rounds and didn’t even attempt a standup or a single submission? (not counting the mid-takedown guillotines) I guess I’ll have to get over my crazy thoughts that he was sick, and focus on what’s next for him.. I’m going to compare Nate to GSP.. He lost to Anderson, and came back better than ever with huge wins over top competition, and most importantly, he showed vast improvement in certain skills.. I think he’ll do the same here and be the most dangerous man this division has seen since Silva.. And, just because I can’t think of any MW’s that aren’t tied up right now, I suggest his first fight back should against Dan Miller..

    5. As far as Chael being a contender to the title, sure, why not.. As far as I’m concerned, the less dangerous you think someone is in a title fight, the more dangerous they actually are.. I don’t think Chael would take Anderson down and dominate him.. Hell, even if he did he wouldn’t be able to do it through the championship rounds.. I have a hard time seeing him even get close to Anderson though..

    6. Randy in no way, shape, or form deserves a title fight after last night’s SPARRING SESSION..
    WITH THAT SAID, I think he’ll get one.. The LHW division is so bogged down right now.. you have Shogun fighting Machida AGAIN, then Rashad and Rampage working out the #1 contendership, Randy’s just floating around waiting for an opponent that he can beat that is significant.. Honestly, I’ll be furious if Randy gets a shot after a two win streak over Vera and Coleman, two people who WEREN’T in the title picture.. But, even if he gets the shot, do you think he can actually beat Machida? That’s just if Machida wins, which I happen to think he will.. Shogun’s an even worse matchup for Randy because there’s more power in his strikes and he’s faster paced..

  • Rich S. says:

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, Paulo Thiago is definitely becoming a favorite fighter of mine..

  • submit662266 says:

    I think Trigg will also be shown the door. His better days are behind him.

    It is a shame to see a guy like Nate lose his title shot. He has deserved it for so long. Big respect for taking on dangerous guys. He won’t duck anyone, even if it may hurt him.

    It seems that cutting to 170 may be too much for Swick. He seems like he has lost some of his hand speed. . . I haven’t seen one of those incredible flurries when he throws 8-9 punches in 1 second recently. I think the idea of jumping back up is a good one.

    I was scratching my head reading Cory’s take on Randy getting on title shot. I think Couture will get the next shot at the belt v. Machida (I think Machida will take the re-match. Can’t wait to see it). Randy certainly has not EARNED that shot, though. Rashad has earned it (beat a top contender), Shogun has earned it (technically beat the champ), but Randy??? It is a miracle that he didn’t lose to Vera. Vera is mediocre. Vera is probably not even a top 20 lhw. Coleman certainly isn’t top 20. Why would beating these 2 guys “earn” a fighter a shot at the belt? If Stephan Bonnar had beat Coleman a couple months ago, and also had beaten Vera, he would still have a LONG way to go in order to get a title shot.

    Couture will get the title shot ONLY because he is Randy Couture, and 1.2 million or so people like myself will watch him fight just about anybody. His title shot will be all about the business: it is silly and naive to say he earned it.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    like everyone else, i dont think Randy deserves the title shot based on the last two performances, but i think he will get it. and i’ll be watching it cheering him on.
    However i really think he has incredible problems taking a punch these days. Coleman had him staggering back a couple times without really catching him cleanly, and he was dropped in his three previous fights before it. I think if he were to face a clinical striker like Lyoto or Shogun, it wouldnt last long.
    Personally i would rather see him fighting in the co-main events against other legends (tito/chuck etc) than against a young dangerous fighter who could really hurt him and even finish his career.

  • RU486 says:

    I don’t think Randy deserves an immediate title shot because that division has been held up for a year now with the Machida / Shogun debacle. The winner of Rampage / Rashad definitely deserve the next shot, and then Randy.

    If you look at Randy’s last 6 fights, you’ll understand why he does deserve a shot.

    (w) Tim Sylvia *HW Championship
    (w) Gabrield Gonzaga *defend HW Championship
    (l) Brock Lesnar *got caught, and looked better than anyone else with Lesnar
    (l) Big Nog *very close decision loss.
    (w) Brandon Vera
    (w) Mark Coleman

    As stated, Randy hasn’t had an easy fight since 2000 or so. His record looks mediocre at 18-10, but if you consider the caliber and relevance of every fight he’s been in, it doesn’t look bad. Randy is also a 3 time LHW Champ, has found a way to stay competitive and relevant by evolving his game in a sport so rapidly changing that it leaves top competitors behind at a stunning rate. Randy comes from the 2nd generation UFC fighter group, and where fighters from the 3rd and 4th generation are now finding themselves obsolete, Randy keeps adapting with the game. Ultimately, that’s what’s so impressive with him.

    He has definitely earned a shot at LHW. Fights against Jardine, Thiago Silva, and Luiz Cane would be pointless, as Randy would steam roll over them and hold them against the cage for 15 minutes. He’s not getting any younger, and may not have but 2 – 3 fights left in him. If he could get his way to the Championship, he would pose a lot of problems for Machida, Shogun, Rampage, or Rashad, with Rashad likely having the best chance at not falling victim to Couture’s game. Retiring on top would be the proper way for Randy to go out. He knows this, and that’s what he’s working towards.

  • Kuch says:

    I don’t think Randy should get a title shot right now, but I don’t have any issue with him being considered a contender. He’s still someone with the potential to beat a lot of people.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I think anybody who uses Mr. Wonderfuls nick name and lives up to it is going to go far in the ufc.

  • Lethal Liquid says:

    Randy doesn’t deserve a title shot. If he can take out a Top 5 opponent then that conversation. Because I don’t want to see him get decimated by ShoGun or Machida. Chael Sonnen is Dan Henderson without the powerful right hand. Anderson would focus on that like a laser. He would carve Chael up on the feet and if it did go to the ground he would submit him. Mike Swick is a gatekeeper like it or not. His head movement needs serious work if he is going to make that next step.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    My guess for Swick is a newcomer in the ufc for his next match(like they tried with Kos vs Paulo) Likely he will get someone he is sure to get a win from. What I would like to see would be a rematch vs Leben though.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    does Randy deserve a title shot??? na. but i would pay to watch it

  • Trigg and Buchholz are gone. Buchholz is a tough kid with some potential, though, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back after stringing some wins together or as a late replacement. Nover is harder to peg. White seems to be in love with him but like you said, Cory, his paycheck is getting harder and harder to justify with each loss.

    Phil Davis looked great and reminds me of Jon Jones in not so much style but in potential. Hopefully he progresses better and gets more favorable match-ups than Rosholt, a fighter with similar amateur wrestling credentials, although Davis does seem to be more naturally gifted than the recently cut MW.

    Swick, unfortunately, seems to be an ideal candidate for the non-existant 177 pound division. He hasn’t looked great at WW and started off looking downright awful but he lacks the muscle that being a contender in the MW division requires. Swick is going to have to fight a lot smarter in the future and gameplanning his opponents to effectively attack their respective weaknesses.

    I would love to see Marquardt/Okami after Okami fights Linhares. Another brutish wrestler will show us if Marquardt can come back as strong as he did following his loss to Silva. Sonnen, on the other hand, will not have the luxury of being in an inactive guard when it comes to the current MW champ’s guard. Silva’s victory over Henderson shows that “The Spider” has the tools to deal with a great wrestler’s takedowns and come away with the win.

    I agreed with most of the article save for the last two points. One minute into Couture/Coleman, it seemed obvious that it was going to be a short night for “The Hammer.” He had no head movement, was flat-footed, and didn’t seem interested in even thinking of shooting for a takedown. I was expecting a grueling clinch war and a ground battle between two wrestlers. Instead, I got a wrestler never known for his boxing take a pounding by someone who realized very quickly that he could tee off at will and with little repercussion. If Randy gets a title shot, it will be based on name only which is how he got his last one, to be honest. Performance wise, I would love to see Randy take on Thiago Silva or at least Rich Franklin en route to a LHW title shot.

  • dpk says:

    I wonder if Dan Henderson was watching the fight going, that was all I had to do to get my title shot? Damn.

  • Rece Rock says:

    I still can’t believe Chael Sonnen beat The Great… I def. was wrong in that fight prediction.

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