TSN.ca's MMA staff takes a look at some of the hottest issues in the world of mixed martial arts.
1) Will Dan Henderson defeat Jon Jones and become the new light heavyweight champion at UFC 151?
James Lynch, TSN.ca - Clearly you can never count Dan Henderson out of a fight, as on many occasions, he has proven his critics wrong (knocking out Fedor Emelianenko for example) and hasn't been knocked out through 37 fights. What the 41-year old has is a puncher's chance, and while Jones hasn't been knocked out before, everyone knows it's possible. With that all said, I don't see Henderson having his hand raised against the champion. Aside from the fact the Jackson/Winklejohn student is much faster than Henderson, he holds a significant reach advantage and has an unorthodox style that will be challenging for the Team Quest pupil.
Justin Boone, TSN.ca - It would be a great story to see Henderson with his hand raised and Dana White putting the light heavyweight belt around his waist. The 41-year-old defeating the unstoppable young champion would be a Hollywood screenplay waiting to happen. Unfortunately for Henderson it would be a work of fiction. Time and time again we see the established veterans at the end of their career getting one more shot at a title and it almost always ends badly. Henderson has the heart and power to pull out a win against most fighters, but Jones is not most fighters.
2) With his split decision loss to Benson Henderson at UFC 150 and recently stated plans on competing at lightweight, is Frankie Edgar making the right move?
Boone - Edgar deserved to recapture his crown at UFC 150, but with that fight in the books as a loss, it's time for Edgar to make the move down to featherweight. it's not that Edgar can't compete at lightweight, but he had his chances against Henderson and he wasn't able to convince the judges he was worthy of leaving the octagon with the title. If he stays at lightweight (which he plans to do), Edgar would need to spend the next year or two trying to rebuild his resume in the division. However, if he decides that a drop in weight is the way to go, he would likely only need one good showing to earn a date with featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Edgar needs to make the smart career choice and take the path of least resistance, which is a a very open featherweight division.
Lynch - Many fans and pundits are quick to say the former champion should drop down to featherweight. I am not one of them. Sure, at the moment, the 145-pound weight class is lacking its share of contenders, as Aldo has dismantled a litter of top contenders (Chad Mendes, Mark Hominick and Kenny Florian to name a few). I'm one of the many people that believe Edgar was robbed of a decision at UFC 150 and in my eyes he is still at the top of the 155-pound division. Clearly, there is logjam right now in the lightweight class with Nate Diaz next in line next for the title and fighters like Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis and Joe Lauzon staking a claim as worthy challengers. Nevertheless, I still believe the Renzo Gracie fighter could defeat many of the top lightweight fighters, and after a string of wins there would be intrigue for the fan favourite earning a title shot in the future.
3) Is Forrest Griffin the right opponent at UFC 155, for Chael Sonnen's move back to the light heavyweight division?
Lynch - I understand what the UFC is trying to do pitting two personalities against each other in the hopes of making an intriguing matchup, but I don't like this fight at all. There is a chance Griffin could win this fight, being that he is one of the larger 205-pound fighters, and would spoil any sort of title run for the Team Quest product. If the opposite happens, I'd have a hard time buying that the Oregon native deserves anything close to a title shot with a win over a gatekeeper like Griffin. Sure these two fighters fought back in an IFC match in 2003 and UFC will probably play up the “rematch angle” but I'd rather see Sonnen fight someone like Thiago Silva, who not only is Brazilian (imagine the jokes on Sonnen's end), but also a contender in the division.
Boone - Sure Griffin and Sonnen might seem like an odd matchup based on where the two fighters are in their respective careers, but it's a fight between two names that can help add some selling power to a pay-per-view. With all the injuries the UFC has dealt with this year, finding two fighters that can capture an audience while putting on a good show is a win for the UFC. Sonnen and Griffin are guaranteed to deliver in the octagon and the bout should serve to help Sonnen get a much-needed win at light heavyweight. After two losses to Anderson Silva, the second being a very lopsided affair, Sonnen needs a victory to help restore some credibility to his trash talk. Sonnen needs to build himself back up and a bout with Griffin is the perfect recipe for that.