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By: Jason Amadi, MMATorch Columnist
Jacob writes: All I hear is people saying that we've never see someone like Jon Jones. But I find myself thinking about Anderson Silva. He's beaten ever one he's faced with ease, just like Jon Jones. What are your thoughts?
A: Jon Jones is without question the best light heavyweight in the world, his 2011 campaign is without question the greatest year a mixed martial artist has ever seen and he has a real shot at surpassing Chuck Liddell and establishing himself as the greatest light heavyweight that we've ever seen. Having said all of that, Jon Jones still gets a bit overrated.
When I say Jon Jones is overrated, I don't mean that he isn't an impressive fighter; it's just that because MMA is a sport where a lot of fighters sort of have their own style and their own tools, there seems to be this intrinsic desire to want to make every dominant fighter seem unlike anything we've never seen.
It is true that Jon Jones is flashy and complete in a way that we haven't really seen before, but he is no more dominant than Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre are, or as dominant as Fedor Emelianenko, Chuck Liddell or Frank Shamrock were in the past. Jones seems on track to one day join that class of fighters in terms of long-term domination of his weight class, but other than his insane skill set, he is no different than any of them.
Joel writes: Do you think there is any way that Phil Davis will be able to beat Rashad Evans in their upcoming fight?
A: Yes, absolutely. Phil Davis has better credentials and is a better wrestler than Rashad Evans. Because Evans has always been tagged with the "boxer-wrestler" label, people assume that he's fantastic at both. Evans is certainly a quality wrestler, but he doesn't get takedowns with the ease that people seem to think that he can. Evans routinely shoots, gets stuffed, bulls guys into the cage, tries to suck their hips out and spends majority of the rounds having guys get up from underneath him and repeating this entire process.
The fact is, we've seen Evans' wrestling challenged by guys like Michael Bisping and Tito Ortiz (both times they fought) and Phil Davis is markedly superior to both of those guys in that area. Rashad Evans may have superior striking on his side, but he needs to keep his back off the cage and the canvas in order to make use of it, and keeping Phil Davis off of you for five rounds is a difficult proposition to say the absolute least.
I still favor Rashad Evans to win because of his experience, Davis' knee injury and subsequent layoff, but in no way is this fight a slam dunk for the former Michigan State Spartan.
Mitchell writes: Who do you think would be the best opponent for Joseph Benavidez to fight next and why? He did great against Eddie Wineland but hasn't really gotten any recent exposure outside of Facebook. Is there any chance he'll get another shot at the bantamweight belt? Or will he just be the first flyweight champ?
A: It was announced after UFC 140 that the flyweight division was set to debut in the UFC on an FX card this March. There's going to be a four man tournament with Demetrious Johnson taking on Ian McCall on one side of the bracket and Joseph Benavidez taking on Yasuhiro Urushitani on the other.
As far as his future at bantamweight goes, Benavidez, like three of the four men involved in this flyweight tournament, has suffered a loss to UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz. In fact, because Benavidez was bested twice by "The Dominator," and is diametrically opposed to squaring off against his Team Alpha Male cohort Urijah Faber, the UFC was forced to keep eyes off of him for a bit and bury him on Facebook.
Considering that he likely wasn't getting a Bantamweight Title opportunity any time soon, the UFC bringing in his natural weight class was the best thing possible for the career of Joseph Benavidez. However, as far as him becoming the first Flyweight Champion goes, the outcome of this tournament is far from certain.
The problem with forecasting flyweight supremacy for guys like Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson is that we haven't really seen them face elite fighters outside of 135 lbs. It's easy to assume that they'll succeed at flyweight because they handled elite fighters at a bantamweight, but a lot of the advantages they had at the heavier weight are now gone. The speed of Johnson and Benavidez was outstanding at 135, but not so much for 125. Another thing to consider is that they won't be able to scramble out from under larger fighters as easily.
Miguel Torres had "Mighty Mouse" in a lot of bad positions, but was unable to capitalize because of the short limbs and tiny neck of his opponent. Likewise, Dominick Cruz had virtually no chance of holding down Joseph Benavidez in their two meetings; part of that is because Benavidez is amazing at scrambling back to his feet, but it's also because of how compact he was for the weight class.
Even taking down a shorter fighter has its difficulties. Cruz was able to hit his signature knee tap takedown on Benavidez at will in their first fight, but against Johnson, Cruz had to get his takedowns out of the clinch. Because Benavidez and Johnson were two of the smaller fighters at bantamweight, their hips are also much lower than any of their opponents, which made it easier for them to defend takedowns. Against a grappler of commensurate size and technique like "Uncle Creepy," Johnson and Benavidez would have to be prepared for a different style of attack than what their bantamweight opponents would throw at them.
You can follow me on Twitter @JasonAmadi and direct your "Ask the Torch" questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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