Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The ever quotable Shonie "Mr. International" Carter needs to give the ever quotable Quinton "Rampage" Jackson lessons on how to be "incognegro."
What does this mean to MMA, or at least to the UFC?
Jackson's arrest removes a lot of debate as to who Forrest Griffin will defend his light heavyweight belt against. Everyone had been speculating that Griffin would defend his belt in December against either Chuck Liddell, assuming Liddell beats Rashad "Boring Decision Victory" Evans or Jackson.
I don't think Jackson will be fighting again this year. Even though, he was co-operative when he surrendered to the police, he still led the police on a high speed chase (Question: Doesn't leading the police on a chase make you not co-operative?). I think that will have him tied up, at least, in a courtroom for a few months. And, oh yeah, there's the fascinating detail that Jackson was "medically unfit" to be booked (
The smart money is that now Liddell gets the title shot. Unless, he loses to the "I won't pay to watch" Evans. If Liddell does lose to Evans, picking someone for Griffin to defend the title against becomes much more interesting.
Lead candidates:
Lyoto Machida -
Pros: Considered one of the best light heavies in the world. Has a fantastic record.
Cons: To mainstream fans he's the guy who beat Tito Ortiz in a boring fight. Doesn't finish fights. Bottom line: If he'd finished Tito Ortiz, he'd probably be the guy to get the title shot. But, I doubt the UFC wants to put 2 guys with trouble finishing in a main event. Especially, when one of them has no star/drawing power.
Wanderlei Silva -
Pros: A finisher. The UFC's best known light heavy weight that isn't named Griffin, Jackson, or Liddell. One of the best in the world.
Cons: Apparently, Wanderlei doesn't want to fight again before the end of the year.
Bottom line: December's the end of the year, and it'd be a title shot. Wanderlei has to be considered the favorite, if Liddell loses or gets injured and can't fight until next year.
Dark horses:
Thiago Silva - This guy is quickly moving up the light heavyweight ranks, and he finishes fights. But, he has even less name recognition than Machida and hasn't beaten the same level of opponents as Machida.
Anderson Silva, assuming he beats Irvin - He's the most entertaining fighter to watch. He's agruably a bigger name than Wanderlei, and "2 champions fighting each other" should be an easy PPV to sell. But, Silva plans on leaving the light heavyweight division to teammate Machida ( As much as, I'd love to see this fight Silva has less of a chance than everyone on this list, except for possibly Thiago.
Update: Machida & Thiago Silva are pretty much out of the running now that they're signed to face each other at UFC 89 in October. Turning down the Vera fight might turn into a title opportunity for Wanderlei.

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