5. Kenny Florian
UFC Record: 12-5
Notable Wins: Diego Nunes, Clay Guida, Joe Stevenson
Notable Losses: Jose Aldo, Gray Maynard, BJ Penn
Florian was one of the inspirations to write this list; the other was a guy on Twitter named Brad Stevens who asked me and everyone else on the social networking site who the best fighter to never win UFC gold was the other night.
Florian is 0-5 in big fights, and unbeaten in the others in the UFC. He lost in the finale of TUF 1, is 0-3 in title fights, and dropped a title eliminator to Gray Maynard. He’s won every other fight, including collecting wins over some very good fighters.
There’s a lot of guys who never fought for a title once in their entire careers; Florian has done it three times. Unfortunately, he has never been able to get over that championship hump, and it will probably become his lasting legacy.
Benavidez is “15 and Dominick Cruz” in his career; his words, not mine. He’s the consensus #2 bantamweight in the world, but currently stuck in The Rich Franklin Zone, having lost twice to the reigning champion.
There is hope for Benavidez, however, as he could make the drop to flyweight if/when the UFC opens up the 125 pound weight class.
Henderson went 0-2 in back-to-back title fights to start his first extended stay in the UFC; he previously won a one-night middleweight tournament at UFC 17 by beating Allan Goes and Carlos Newton.
The fact that you can challenge for a belt in two different division is impressive enough, but when you’re beating everyone else but the defending champs, that’s even more impressive.
He’s back in the UFC now, and might make one final run at getting this “No UFC title” monkey off his back.
His place on this list could change next month when he meets Cain Velasquez for the UFC heavyweight title. Until then, he’s first runner-up on this list.
“Cigano” has been smashing quality competition since coming out of nowhere to upset Fabricio Werdum at UFC 90. Through seven fights and parts of 13 rounds, I don’t know if he’s really been tested yet, and that fact has nothing to do with the guys that he’s faced; dos Santos is just that good.
1. Jon Fitch
UFC Record: 13-1-1
Notable Wins: Thiago Alves (2), Paulo Thiago, Diego Sanchez
Notable Losses: Georges St-Pierre
You can dislike his style, but you can’t deny Fitch’s success; 13-1-1 is one hell of a record. If not for GSP, Fitch would be the very best welterweight in the world.
I don’t know if he can beat St-Pierre, but I’d like to see him get the chance to try again. He’s done more than anyone else who has gotten a shot in recently, and three years have passed since they fought the first time.
This is the welterweight fight that needs to happen; not a bout with Nick Diaz.