Hello Sherdog, I hope your evening is going well. I am making this thread because of a discussion between a friend of mine that led to a long and drawn-out conversation. But the speculation that took place was so thought-provoking as to cause me to want to hear some opinions from a place such as a public forum, to determine not only what the general consensus to this question is, but also to hear exactly what people think about this question that I have asked. In order to ask the question that provoked our argument, I feel I must first provide some context. In recent years there have been weight divisions that have been utterly dominated by a particular champion. Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, and Jose Aldo have all been stacking up title defenses like they're going out of style. You could even include Mighty Mouse, who has five title defenses to his name. Now we are in a scenario where two of those names have lost their belts. But examining this scenario provokes two interesting observations. While Chris Weidman seems poised to pick up where Anderson left off, being the man to beat (watch Vitor make that comment irrelevant) we have had two new champions in two welterweight title tilts. Which led me to an interesting thought. While often times the champions in certain divisions have had long and dominant reigns, almost no contender has managed to stay unbeaten outside of title fights (with the possible exception of team Alpha Male). Here is where the speculation begins: It is undeniable that the title reigns we have been able to bear witness to are nothing short of extraordinary...isn't it? Is it possible that in a world where none of these fighters existed, no Jones, no Silva, no Aldo, that the #2 guy would step into his role and put together a reign just as impressive? Or are all of the fighters in the divisions so far removed from the champions that the feats they have accomplished are unrepeatable? Without Anderson, would Rich Franklin be undefeated or would we have a string of champions, the belt changing hands every other title defense? Now of course there is not a definitive answer, and we cannot claim to know what would exist in this crazy alternate reality I am proposing.... But then the question I have is more an examination of the accomplishments of these most celebrated of champions. Is the undefeatable #1 guy a phenomena that requires a #1 guy, or will there always be a vacuum that eliminates all but the strongest contender, who will build an impressive reign by default? If you want to know my opinion, I do feel that the dominance of these men is a phenomenon based on their talent. I do not feel that Jon Fitch could have done what GSP did, or any other welterweight for that matter. Rich Franklin is not Anderson Silva But then isn't that where the beauty of MMA is? I may be proven wrong immediately. So then my question is to you, assuming that you want to provide an answer (I will gladly take speculation): In a world without champions, no Aldo, GSP, Jones, or Anderson- Would the divisions have someone step in as the new #1, or would it be a case like the Lightweight Division, no champion being able to put together more than three defenses? And if you feel that a new #1 would be there, does that make the title reigns distinct, or is the long title reign simply a result of the best fighter being chosen by natural selection, something that will always occur until a new #1 appears?