Dillashaw is on a four-fight run with three finishes in the bunch and shows improvement in every effort. His October 9 outing against Raphael Assuncao is tailor made to determine a title-contender depending on how close linear champ Dominick Cruz is to returning to the ring and facing the winner of the UFC 165 showdown between Renan Barao-Eddie Wineland. Both are ranked in the Top 10 and neither has had a shot at gold thus far, making a fresh match-up with whomever holds the title in early 2014.
Lineker doesn’t get a lot of press but he should. The heavy-handed flyweight has picked up wins in sixteen of his last seventeen fights including success in three straight scraps. Furthermore, he’s scored back-to-back knockouts and is poised to find success again when he fights Phil Harris at UFC Fight Night 30. Though Lineker has struggled with his weight at times, he isn’t likely to blow it by coming in heavy for a title-fight, and with the 125-pound pool being fairly shallow he very well could be dealing with such a scenario assuming he emerges triumphant on October 26.
Browne announced his presence as a legitimate threat in the division’s best by knocking out Alistair Overeem with a front kick to the face and hellish hammerfists a little less than a month ago. The performance served as his second straight starching since suffering the lone loss of his career (a defeat influenced by a freak injury to his leg no less). Aiding in his quest to earn a crack at the strap, Browne has also emerged as a fighter to watch after scoring stoppages in all but two of his wins including extremely memorable finishes of Stefan Struve and Gabriel Gonzaga.
With a nickname like “The Carny” it might seem as though Lentz was looking for attention on a regular basis through silly antics. However, he actually lets his work inside the Octagon do the promotional work for him, putting in some solid showings at 155 pounds before moving to featherweight. He’s gone 3-0 since slimming down and has a winnable fight in front of him at at UFC Fight Night 31 where he’ll battle Dennis Bermudez. If he secures a victory in a subsequent win, don’t be surprised when Lentz’s name is called on for a go at the gold.
With Mousasi’s newfound dedication to fighting at 185 pounds – his ideal weight – “The Dreamcatcher” can fast-track himself to a title-shot by beating two Top 10 foes. He already attempted to get a bout with Vitor Belfort and was rebuffed, but fortunately Mousasi has a little time for the division to sort itself out while healing from a knee injury and should see options like Mark Munoz, Costa Philippou, Michael Bisping, or Luke Rockhold turn up before 2013 closes.
There aren’t a lot of wide open races in the
UFC when it comes to scoring a crack at one of the divisional championships. For the most part, each weight-class has an established challenger lurking in the shadows waiting for a title-fight to unfold before being booked in an official effort against the victor. However, there are also a few fighters on the fringes of contendership who could easily slip into a shot at the strap with a triumph of two. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)