UFC Total Rankings: October 2008

I typically publish these rankings after the major UFC event of each month, but the scheduling of major events on back-to-back weekends in October forced me to delay these longer than I’d like. As a result, there are three shows worth of changes included here: Fight Night 15, UFC 89 and UFC 90. The November rankings will be published after UFC 91 in just over two weeks.

Before we start, here’s a brief disclaimer:

I call these UFC Total Rankings because they are based on a bunch of factors: win-loss record, method of victory, competition the fighter is facing, and the push given to them by the UFC matchmakers. I try to picture each weight class in the same way that Joe Silva or Dana White would, which means I factor in marketability, current drawing power and other things that rankings typically don’t account for.

They are wholly my opinion and should be treated as such. Champions are given top billing because they are champions and regarded by the company and mainstream fans as the best in their division by the company, regardless of the skills or overall record. This means that if a fighter ranked #7 one month defeats the champ for the belt, he will automatically jump to the #1 ranking. If a weight class has an interim champion, that fighter will assume the second position, with everyone else following. 

A complete archive of my fighter rankings can be found here. These rankings are also published at Inside Fights and on my Houston Chronicle UFC blog.


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The Five EXC Fighters The UFC Should Sign

No matter how you slice it, the death of EliteXC is a horrible thing for the mixed martial arts industry. While I firmly believe the company deserved to go under for attempting to fix the Petruzelli/Slice fight, it should still be very clear to everyone that fighters are going to suffer as a result of it.

The UFC now has complete control over the salary structure of the entire industry; they can dictate what they’re going to pay and when they’re going to pay it, and contracted fighters don’t have much choice in the matter. They can either sign a deal on Zuffa’s terms, or they can go out and try to get as much money as possible from one of the smaller companies around the world.

There will be fewer jobs available, which means that people who aren’t in the UFC (and even non-stars who ARE in the UFC) will have a tough time making rent every month.

There are bright spots to Elite’s demise, though. 

First and foremost is the death of the notion that Kimbo Slice is an excellent mixed martial arts fighter. Seth Petruzelli likely ended this argument with his knockout win over Slice at the final EXC show, but the fact that nobody else in America will promote Slice as a legitimate mixed martial artist will be the final nail in that coffin. This is not to say that nobody will sign Slice, because someone assuredly will; I’m simply saying that nobody else will try to promote him the way that ProElite did.

Secondly, we now have a chance to see a few more “dream fights”. Any time a promotion folds, there’s an abundance of talent being released and signed by other companies, and this is no exception. As of this Friday, all talent under contract with EliteXC will be free agents, and they’ll be ripe for the picking.

I’ve talked to a few people associated with fighters from EliteXC, and I’ve got a pretty good grasp on who Zuffa is interested in and who they aren’t. All I can say at this point is that you’re going to see a lot of guys sign with Zuffa who you never thought you’d see in the UFC.

In the spirit of this new free agency season, I thought I would take a look at the top five soon-to-be-former EliteXC fighters who Zuffa should target. Inclusion on this list isn’t an indicator of a deal being done or even close to being done. These are simply the five fighters who I’d personally like to see in the UFC and who, if signed, could help expand Zuffa’s bottom line. Continue reading


UFC 89: Preview & Predictions

This is a long one (that’s what she said), so I’m hiding it behind the jump. Seriously, I wrote almost 3,000 words about a free show on Spike that has no championship matches and zero big fights, and there’s another show next weekend with bigger fights and championship matches that I’ll have to preview as well. Lovely.

Read on for the preview. Also, this is your chance to take part in the first ever official J. Botter Weblog Poll! Scroll to the end of the preview for your chance to pick the winner of the UFC 89 main event and semi-main event, and thanks to Automattic and the WordPress.com folks for finally making that feature available. Continue reading


UFC 91: Secret Injuries to Couture, Lesnar

I first reported this at The Bleacher Report, but I want to make a quick note of it anyway. Remember the rumor last week that said Brock Lesnar had injured his hamstring and would be pulling out of the Couture fight? The one that was quickly revealed to be a hoax?

It wasn’t a hoax. Lesnar did, in fact, suffer a hamstring injury, but he’s not pulling out of the fight. The other news I picked up today revealed that Randy Couture is also nursing a shoulder injury.