- Ryan Hockensmith
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I have a theory: The UFC has never had a more unbeatable group of champions. Is that theory true? The numbers bear it out. The five belt-holders have won 26 straight UFC fights at their respective weight classes. I excluded B.J. Penn's most recent loss because it came at 170 pounds, not 155.
But at their weights, Penn, Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and Brock Lesnar have zero losses in the past year.
Lesnar's really the only guy who's debatable at this point, and we'll soon have the answer to how unbeatable he is when he fights Frank Mir on July 11. Mir, of course, beat Lesnar on Feb. 2, 2008, the last loss by any of the current champs.
So…who's the most unbeatable of the five champs? I rank them below. Now, keep in mind the criteria. I am only talking about these guys within their weight classes. So whether you think Forrest Griffin or anybody else at 205 can or will beat Anderson Silva, it doesn't matter. Also, I ranked them from 1-5, with five being the most likely to fall.
(5) Lesnar: I personally think nobody fighting can beat him. But Mir did -- and not so long ago. With those two gloving up again in July, Lesnar has to be the guy most in danger of losing. But I don't see that happening.
(4) Penn: As if his next opponent, Kenny Florian, isn't dangerous enough, the 155-pound division is stacked with quality opponents for Penn. Frank Edgar looked very, very good the other night, for one. On raw ability alone, though, Penn is the best of the bunch.
(3) Machida: If I had any guts, I'd put him at No. 1. Because, honestly, how do you beat this guy? About the only formula to handle Machida is to take him down and ground-and-pound him -- imagine a Randy Couture-in-his-prime kind of fighter. But nobody has come close to being able to do that, and I don't see anybody out there who will be able to. One lingering question with him: How is his chin? If a power puncher endures some punishment and waits to unleash that one monster strike, will Machida be able to handle that? The problem with that theory, of course, is that we may never know. Because it certainly doesn't look like anybody can get anywhere near the guy.
(2) Georges St. Pierre: The only danger with GSP is that he's not focused. That hasn't been a problem recently, but he has lost twice in his career. So it's not impossible. But good luck finding a guy who could take him out right now. His next opponent, Thiago Alves, is far and away the best bet. But I don't see that happening.
(1) Anderson Silva: I am basing this just on his 185-pound career -- who at middleweight can beat him right now? It's not difficult to figure out the next challenge for Silva at 185. The winner of Nate Marquardt versus Demian Maia should be in line for a title shot. Marquardt has looked very good lately, and Maia is on an amazing run in the UFC. He has five straight wins all by submission, and four of those stoppages won Submission of the Night honors. I like Maia over Marquardt, and then he has a legit shot at Silva if they end up fighting.
13hEric D. Williams