Skill difference between No #1 & #2 in comparison to the rest of the division.

Discussion in 'UFC Discussion' started by benevolence**, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. benevolence**

    benevolence** Banned Banned

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    This question is spurred on following UFC 145's main event. The heavyweight bout is a useful example of the topic I'm discussing. Both JDS and Cain have been absolutely dominant to the rest of the fighters in the division. In the case of JDS, for example, when he fought the then No #1 contender in Frank Mir, he lit him up like a Christmas tree and the skill gap was... well let's just say that it was more than obvious. The same could also be said for Cain and his brutal exercise over Big Foot.

    So my question would be: do you agree that there is a massive skill differential that separates the top 2 or 3 in the HW division with the rest? What other divisions do you guys think this applies to? MW would be a prime example of what I'm talking about.

    Discuss.
     
  2. Frode Falch

    Frode Falch Gold Belt Professional Fighter

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    GSP is quite a few levels above the rest. Same with Anderson Silva and Jon Jones.
     
  3. benevolence**

    benevolence** Banned Banned

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    I agree, I guess that's why so much allure follows the notion of 'super fights'. I think Overeem will be a dominant force when he returns in a months time. I don't think it's a coincidence that the record for defending the HW belt is only twice.
     
  4. Frode Falch

    Frode Falch Gold Belt Professional Fighter

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    I can see Overeem beating JDS with better striking, more tools, and better defense.

    But i dont see Overeem ever beating Cain.
     
  5. Rollotomassi

    Rollotomassi Banned Banned

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    usually the top ten are all very close in skills and it comes down to who is more in shape/has better camp, better game plan etc. But at the moment, people like GSP and Jones, and Silva are a few notches above the rest of their divisions.
     
  6. spid3yo

    spid3yo Guest

    Heavyweight is the weakest division....so it makes sense the few that rise to the top will be significantly above the rest.
     
  7. IlFenomenoVero

    IlFenomenoVero Purple Belt

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    I thought it was obvious in every weight class, in MW is Silva vs the rest.
     
  8. EmeliankoFan1

    EmeliankoFan1 Red Belt

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    I dont think JDS and Cain and above the rest, I think Cormier, Werdum, Overeem are just as good and can beat them on any given day.

    I also think Cormier could beat JDS if he implements the same strategy that Cain did. I also see Overreem as a top division HW fighter who could beat both JDS and Cain as well.

    Those fighters are ahead of the division.
     
  9. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

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    I disagree. In most divisions you have a few guys, usually just 1-2, who are at a higher level than the rest. Cain and JDS, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, GSP, Aldo and Edgar, Cruz, LW is an aberration in that there are a number of really good guys who could all challenge for the title and give Benson legit fights. HWs will always have a punchers chance, I feel like LHW is somewhat like that as well, but in general there's a pretty big skill gap between the best guys and the top contenders. Even back in the day, there were Chuck and Tito and not a whole lot else (I guess you could count Randy, but he was mostly a HW), Matt Hughes and GSP/BJ, BJ at LW, and so forth. One or two guys tend to step up for months or years at a time. I don't know if that pattern will hold as MMA gets bigger and bigger, but it's been the norm for some time. Divisional parity like the LHWs had a few years back and the LWs have now is an unusual situation.
     
  10. Manila**

    Manila** Orange Belt

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    I don't think this is quite true with heavyweight.

    IMO: Cain, Junior, Cormier, Overeem and Werdum are a clear top 5 that could probably all beat each other on a given day. If they all fought in a roundrobin right now, no fighter would go 5-0.

    Jon Jones looks light years ahead of everyone else at 205, though I'm optimistic that Machida can give him an even better fight next time, but you'd have to say lhw has a very clear and undisputed top 1.

    185 looks the same with Anderson, though most people seem to think that Chris Weidman is a very legit and dangerous challenger because of his particular attributes - the problem there is that Weidman hasn't beaten any top 5 guys yet; for all we know he could become unstuck against a genuine top contender like Vitor Belfort. I'd like to see Weidman fight Belfort or Okami before saying 185 has a clear top 2, for now Silva is head and shoulders above the rest.

    Although GSP is the bona fide number 1, I think welterweight is one of the only divisions where there is no 2-3 fighter elite at the top, the division is just too deep and GSP has shown in recent fights with Shields and more especially Condit that he can't just blow guys out of the water anymore. Right underneath GSP you have a lot of excellent guys who could all beat each other IMO: Hendricks, Condit, Rory MacDonald, Nate Marquardt, Maia, Kim, Koscheck, Fitch, Erick Silva, Nick Diaz, Ellenberger, Story, Kampmann, Alves.

    Lightweight is more problematic. I personally view Benson Henderson as an unassailable number 1 like Jones or Anderson or GSP, but I know most people don't yet. Realistically, I think the only legit challenge for Benson is Anthony Pettis, but even then I'd strongly favour Ben. Although lightweight is also a deep division, I don't believe any of the top guys stand much of a chance against a guy who is going to become a very long-reigning and dominant champion.

    Featherweight now does fit your description very well. I believe Aldo and Edgar are light years ahead of the chasing pack. The next best guys in that division (Korean Zombie, Siver, Guida, Mendes, Koch) are quite a way behind them. Those two will fight more than once IMO.

    Bantamweight: Yes as well. Barao and Cruz way out in front. The best of the rest (Faber, Wineland, McDonald) aren't quite on the same level.

    Flyweight: No. Demetrious Johnson could be beaten on a given day by McCall, Dodson, Benavidez. All those guys are closely matched.



    So in my opinion,

    Heavyweight: elite group
    LHW: elite 1
    MW: elite 1
    WW: elite 1 with very good group immediately below
    LW: elite 1
    FW: elite 2
    BW: elite 2
    FW: elite group

    So for me, only featherweight and bantamweight fall into your category of having two fighters significantly better than everyone else - which is better than lhw, mw and lw which have one outstanding fighter and not much challenges for them. WW has an elite fighter but many dangerous challenges ahead.
     
  11. WrestlingIsReal

    WrestlingIsReal Purple Belt

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    Aldo is light years above the rest of the division.
     
  12. Dionysian

    Dionysian Silver Belt

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    Not bad. Disagree a little. I'd say:

    HW: elite group
    LHW: elite 1 but with group below (might change if Cormier can make it down though)
    MW: elite 2 (yeah yeah Sherdog bash me for saying Weidman is great go ahead)
    WW: elite 1 but with group below
    LW: I disagree... definitely group imo.
    FW: elite 2
    BW: elite 2
    FW: group
     
  13. Manila**

    Manila** Orange Belt

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    Yeah that's a good point mate, didn't even think of DC when I was doing mine. Good call.
     
  14. moreorless87

    moreorless87 Straba

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    Personally to me HW is looking like the talent pool is getting shallower not deeper compaired to 5-10 years ago were you had Fedor, Nog, Crocop, Barnett, Sergei, Aleks, Slyvia, Randy, AA, Ricco, Mir, Coleman, Hunt, Overeem, Gonzaga, Herring, Semmy, Rizzo etc.

    The guys at the top are still good but there seems to be becoming a clear gap between them and the rest, your Nelson, Struve, Browne level guys who can build a good record but really don't threaten the big names at all even in what might be considered bad stylistic matchups(Nelson vs Mir for example).

    Part of the problem for me is the way promoters build talent today, I think quality HW's are naturally rare in any sport but in the past I think that was helped by Japanese promoters being much more proactive in going out and signing them. Guys like Fedor and Crocop would probabley never have switched to MMA if they hadnt been offered good money from the start. Today in the UFC its more a question of building yourself up over 2-3 years before getting signed and I can see why fewer big name kickboxers, Judoka etc are taking that risk.

    You look at the mess kickboxing has been in over the last couple of years, if Pride was still around I think you'd have seen them sign up a load of big names there. As it is all we have is Sprong and Eweton fighting a bit of part time MMA and Sergei actually going the other way.
     
  15. Gotti McCarran

    Gotti McCarran Banned Banned

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    The top 2 guys at the moment have notoriously hard to deal with games. You got the agile, powerful striker with great reach and timing, who is hard to take down and you got the grinding wrestler with world-class top game that has a gas tank for 2 people.

    Styles make fights, but those two styles are both proven to be among the if not the most effective in MMA. If you can't exploit any weaknesses in either man's game as an opponent, does that really mean you are levels below as a fighter? I'm not so sure about that. They may well be right there with them in terms of overall skill, yet unable to win those specific style match-ups. I'd agree that the top 3 are different kinds of athletes though. They are as strong, but more powerful and a lot faster than the rest of the division as was Fedor.

    Fedor won 30 in a row, before he slowed down and got beaten. And then everyone said he was fighting sub-par competition all along and that he was never really that good. People are already saying dos Santos was way overrated and always had holes in his game. They were also saying the same about Cain, when dos Santos beat him down. You are also already saying that those 2-3 guys are levels above their competition, so essentially you are already starting to dismiss their respective accomplishments.

    I'd say they have the same overall skill level as the rest of the top 10, but they have one world-class skill, which they can exploit time and again through good game-planning as well as slightly better physical and mental preparation. All of that taken together enables them to exploit slight weaknesses in their opponents and at the end it looks as if the other guy had absolutely no chance at all, when in reality it was a tough fought victory that only became possible through maximizing little advantages to their fullest effect. It's unfair to the other guys to act as if they just aren't on the same level as fighters. They are. The top guys just have hard to deal with styles and exploit their advantages to their maximum ability and they come in prepared to do just that, with perfect game-plans and absolutely no doubt in their minds. I'd give them a slight physical advantage, sure, but they certainly aren't levels ahead.

    Let's say you have two football teams that are overall the same strength at all positions, but one team has a QB capable of firing hard passes up to 70 yds right on point and they have one receiver that is taller and has a lot more reach than the corner, he has great hands and is slightly faster and slightly more agile, then the corner is. The other QB also has good passing, but doesn't have quite that powerful of an arm and he doesn't have that one mismatch to exploit. The game may end up being a blow-out in terms of score like a 42-7, because they have to double and triple the go-to receiver, which opens up everything else on offense. And the offensive confidence carries over to the rest of the team, so that the defense does everything right. On a different day, the QB may be slightly less prepared or have a small nagging injury. He ends up throwing some interceptions off which the other team scores and then he gets frustrated and fumbles the ball once or twice and the other team actually wins 21-28. So the first team may only be slightly better, but they have something to exploit. It all hinges on whether they are prepared to do so or whether the other team can do something about it.

    Champions are usually those guys that can maximize their slight advantages consistently and both Cain and dos Santos have shown their ability to do this. They never doubt and they are always well prepared. They each have dominated the other guy once and have been outclasses the other time. Goes to show that whoever manages to come in prepared and with a game-plan to exploit the little weaknesses they can exploit and use their best assets to gain the greatest advantage will end up looking on another level. I reckon this happened with a lot of the other top 10 or even top 20 guys, who are all much closer together in terms of skill, then they are given credit. One punch can end anybody's night in this game. It's a game of inches and milliseconds. And that's also why Fedor was legit. He actually went to the strength of his opponent and turned it into a weakness, which finally cost him dearly against Werdum and to some extend also against BigFoot. He was mentally breaking people for the entire fight and he did that 30 times in a row.

    Now people say Fedor was never really good and was fighting sub-par competition. Of course none of the people saying this would last 10 seconds against any of the guys Fedor dominated. And you are already setting Cain and dos Santos up for this eventual sentencing by insinuating that they are leagues above their competition, when in reality it's just a thin margin. They should get big credit for being able to exploit this thin margin consistently, thereby making the other guys look a lot worse than they really are.
     
  16. Dart Feld

    Dart Feld Steel Belt

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    Styles make fights.
     

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