mma / Columns

411’s Fighter of the Month 10.08.12: September

October 8, 2012 | Posted by Larry Csonka

How It Works
Each staff member picks five fighters and ranks them. I’ll assign a point value to those rankings. Points are determined as:

1st – 5
2nd – 4
3rd – 3
4th – 2
5th – 1

The fighter with the most points is our Fighter of the Month and then new points are assigned that will go towards Fighter of the Year. Those points are:

1st – 15
2nd – 12
3rd – 9
4th – 6
5th – 3
6th – 1

The Voting
Larry Csonka
1) Demirious Johnson
Demirious Johnson defeated Joseph Benavidez to win the first ever UFC Flyweight Title. For Johnson, he goes down in history as the first ever champion of the division and realizes potential many thought he had. For Benavidez, he unfortunately continues the “always the bridesmaid and never the bride” status of team Alpha Male…

2) Jon Jones: While Jones got a ton of shit for the UFC 151situation, the fact is that he defeated Vitor Belfort and is still the reigning and defending UFC Light Heavyweight Champion of the world. Jones continues his amazing run as champion, and deserves love on the list, in my opinion.
3) Michael Bisping: Michael Bisping defeated Brian Stann at UFC 152, and looks to have finally earned that elusive title shot he has desired.
4) Stefan Struve: Defeated Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC on FUEL TV 5 in impressive fashion. If he ever learns to use his reach, he’ll be dangerous.
5) Cub Swanson: Cub Swanson gets the final slot for me. I have given this guy shit for years for collapsing under pressure, but with his most recent victory over Charles Oliveira at UFC 152, he has won three in a row and all three have been finishes by (T)KO. Much respect to Cub.

Jonathan Solomon
1) Stefan Struve:
I know Struve looked as good as he has inside the octagon in a long, long time. Stefan Struve took the undefeated Stipe Miocic apart like nobody even came close to doing in his career. It was a major improvement for Struve to control a fight against a guy many pegged as a future contender and finish him with strikes. All of a sudden, Struve should be in with the big dogs of the division and knocking on the door to title contention.

2) Matt Wiman: Finally, Handsome Wiman returned after injuries cost him plenty of time and he did so with a bang by submitting submission specialist Paul Sass in England. It goes to prove what we knew, that Wiman is a gutsy fighter capable of fighting up to his challengers, but he needs to be consistent. Hopefully, this win is just the start of a big run for Wiman.
3) Demetrious Johnson: Mighty Mouse became the first UFC flyweight champion by disposing of Joseph Benavidez over the course of their five round war. Johnson may not be finishing fights, but he’s an incredibly difficult match-up for most fighters because of his speed and durability. He may be holding on to the gold for a long time to come.
4) Brad Pickett: Fighting in his home country, Pickett rubber-stamped his spot as one of the more dynamic bantamweights in the world by knocking out Yves Jabouin.
5) Lyman Good: The former Bellator welterweight champion knocked off Jim Wallhead in the first round of the latest tournament and just may be the favorite to go all the way.

Jeffrey Harris
1) Stefan Struve:
Struve scored his fourth win in a row in the UFC and his ninth Octagon win overall against Stipe Miocic. Miocic was undefeated going into their fight and brought a strong boxing and wrestling pedigree to the table. Struve got lit up early on and Miocic was able to tag and hurt him, but Struve stood in the fire and doused out Miocic to get a second round knockout victory. It was a great performance and Struve always comes to fight and has some of the most exciting fights on the card constantly.

2) Brad Pickett: One Punch Pickett lived up to his name and got his first ever UFC victory via knockout over Yves Jabouin. Pickett had spent quite a bit of 2011 on the shelf and missed out on a top contender fight with Miguel Torres. Couple that with the loss to Renan Barao and he was set back a bit. But now Pickett is back on track with two straight wins and proves he’s an elite level bantamweight and arguably top five in the division with his only losses being to other top level bantamweights.
3) Matt Wiman: Wiman’s a battle-tested UFC lightweight that people have forgotten about sometimes. He’s got 9 UFC wins but before recently, his last one was a closely fought and a bit of a dull decision to Mac Danzig in a rematch. Wiman had injuries and was on the shelf for almost a year but he picked things up in dramatic fashion against Paul Sass who was sporting a nice undefeated streak and a 3-0 win streak in the Octagon. Sass was the submission artist going into their fight with about 12 submission victories. Few expected and probably none predicted for Wiman being the one to get Sass to tap out with an armbar hold. It was Wiman who was put on his back and ended up getting the submission win and puts him in a good position in the lightweight division at the moment when top guys have lost and Frankie Edgar and Clay Guida look to be moving on to the featherweight division.
4) Demetrious Johnson: Johnson became the one and only first ever UFC flyweight champion and goes in the history books as such. Johnson edged out Joseph Benavidez in a close battle, but his quickness, striking, and wrestling gave him the edge over the equally tough Benavidez. Both guys deserved to win and be champion, but Mighty Mouse with his excellent character demeanor is a more than deserving champion. Almost a year after his bid for the bantamweight title he was able to move down to another weight class and become a UFC champion. Hard work sometimes truly does pay off.
5) Jon Jones: Despite his past crimes and makes, Jones should be recognized for his win over former UFC champion Vitor Belfort at UFC 152. While Jones was already the favorite in the fight, he still nearly got caught in a vicious armbar from Belfort. Jones withstood the test and despite his arm clearly being hurt badly, he was able to get out of the hold. Jones continued to fight and work with the bad arm and was able to eventually submit Belfort himself in the first round. No one had ever pressured Jones and put him in such a hold before, so it just shows how even when pushed how far ahead of the pack Jones truly is. Chael Sonnen likely wouldn’t have been able to get out of that hold.

Alex Rella
1) Michael Bisping:
Michael Bisping continued his push for a title shot against Anderson Silva this month with a unanimous decision victory over Brian Stann at UFC 152. Bisping had won four in a row before his questionable loss to Chael Sonnen so this win was a great way to rebound and stay in the title picture. It seems to impressed Dana White as well as there was some talk this week about Bisping vs. Silva in England.

2) Stefan Struve: Struve won his fourth fight in a row as he continues to slowly rebuild himself and rise through the heavyweight division. Struve gave Miocic the first loss of his career as he finished him with strikes in the second round. Struve still needs to learn how to use reach better but this was probably his best performance in the UFC.
3) Demetrious Johnson: I’m still not completely sold on the flyweight division but a lot of credit has to be given to Mighty Mouse. He came into the fight the heavy underdog and upset Joe Benavidez to become the first UFC flyweight champion. That’s a huge milestone that will always be in the history books. Johnson will likely be the champion for a long time due to the combination of his skill and the shallow division.
4) Jon Jones: After all the UFC 151 nonsense Jones rebounded with his fourth title defense over another former champion. This fight ended up being a lot better than almost everyone predicted. Belfort did some serious damage with the armbar in the first round but Jones was able to come back and submit Belfort in the fourth round.
5) TJ Grant : Grant defeated Evan Dunham in a really brutal fight at UFC 152. Both men won Fight of Night honors. Dunham was favored coming into the bout but he was able to pick up his third win in a row since he dropped down to lightweight last year.

Wyatt Beougher
1) Jon Jones:
The guy has been vilified since turning down a fight with Chael Sonnen that was intended to save UFC 151, and yes, he’s acted like a douche in interviews and press conferences to bring that on himself, but when the time comes to step into the cage, Jones is essentially without peer. This fight with an overmatched Vitor Belfort looked awful for Jones in the first round, but he persevered through a very deep armbar and ended up putting Belfort away early in the fourth round. In the process, Jones answered a lot of questions about his toughness and how he’d react to adversity in a fight. The answer? With flying colors.

2) Demetrious Johnson: Johnson surprised the world, once again ignoring the fact that he was supposed to have no chance against Joseph Benavidez, and for his troubles this time, Johnson was rewarded with the UFC flyweight championship. No matter what happens in his upcoming title defense against freshly-minted contender John Dodson, “Mighty Mouse” will forever be the inaugural flyweight champ, and that’s good enough for second place this month.
3) Matt Wiman: Any time you can step into the Octagon and pick up a win by beating your opponent at the area of their game where they’re believed to be the strongest, it makes a statement, and that’s exactly what Wiman did against Paul Sass, picking up the armbar win over the “Scouse Submission Machine”.
4) Brad Pickett: “One Punch” lived up to his name, ending Yves Jabouin’s night with a nice uppercut that moves him one step closer towards a rematch with current interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao.
5) Stefan Struve: Struve beat Stipe Miocic, sure, but I’m of the mind that Miocic was actually a step down in competition for Struve, so the win really wasn’t all that impressive to me. In a week month, the win, combined with calling out Fabricio Werdum in the post-fight press conference, is enough for Struve to get fifth.

Stewart Lange
1) Demetrious Johnson:
While the fight itself wasn’t really anything to get too excited about, Demetrious Johnson becoming the first ever UFC flyweight champion over the king-in-waiting Joseph Benavidez is undoubtedly the big achievement of the month. He now awaits John Dodson who packs some major power which will test his chin, but until then, he can enjoy the achievement of being a “first ever champion.”

2) Stefan Struve: Struve looked absolutely phenomenal against Stipe Miocic and propelled himself up the Heavyweight ladder. While it may be a dead end for him up there, nobody increased their stock higher than Stefan Struve this month.
3) Jon Jones: While this was probably the least impressive of Jon Jones’ title defenses, it was still total dominance over a very dangerous former champion in Vitor Belfort. The Bones train rolls on with another victory with the belt.
4) Matt Wiman: The most impressive victory coming out of Nottingham after Struve was Matt Wiman. Wiman reminded us he’s actually a great, versatile fighter that could really begin to hit his stride.
5) Brad Pickett: Good old “One Punch.” He’s a good fun guy to watch and he looked fantastic on the UFC on Fuel card. Could he really be the fighter that us Brits are proud to cheer for? Hopefully. Good on you, Brad.

Honorable Mention: Michael Bisping – (8 points)

5th Place Brad Pickett – (9 points)

4th Place – Matt Wiman – (12 points)

3rd Place – Jon Jones – (15 points)

Is still the reigning and defending UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, but with the UFC 151 drama and new opponent likely cost him votes…

2nd Place – Stefan Struve – (21 points)

The heavyweight got a big victory at UFC on FUEL TV 5!

411’s Fighter of the Month for SEPTEMBER – Demitrious Johnson – (22 points)

Mighty Mouse has won UFC gold, becoming the first ever UFC Flyweight Champion!

2012 Year-End Standings
Here are the updated standings below…

A NEW RULE FOR 2012 is as follows: if a fighter ranked on the yearend list LOSES a fight they will lose 5 points. Also, after much discussion, if a fighter is suspended by an athletic commission, they lose any points accumulated.

Remember to come back net month for the next edition of 411’s Fighter of the Month!

Ronda Rousey – 30pts.

Ben Henderson – 27pts.

Jon Jones – 24pts.

Demitrious Johnson – 15pts.
Junior Dos Santos – 15pts.
Anderson Silva – 15pts.
Jose Aldo – 15pts.

Stefan Struve – 12pts.
Nate Diaz – 12pts.
Chris Weidman – 12pts.
Alexander Gustafsson – 12pts.
Carlos Condit – 12pts.
Pat Curran – 12 pts.

Daniel Cormier – 9pts.
Lyoto Machida – 9pts.
Renan Barao – 9pts.
Michael McDonald – 9pts.
Martin Kampmann – 9pts.

Rashad Evans – 7pts. (Deducted 5 points for loss to Jon Jones)

Matt Wiman – 6pts.
Cain Velazquez – 6pts.
Donald Cerrone – 6pts.
Nate Marquardt – 6pts.
Luke Rockhold – 6pts.
Anthony Pettis – 6pts.

Jake Ellenberger – 4pts. (Deducted 5 points for loss to Martin Kampmann)
Chael Sonnen – 4pts. (Deducted 5 points for loss to Anderson Silva)

Brad Pickett – 3pts.
Attila Vegh – 3pts.
The Korean Zombie – 3pts.
Ryan Jimmo – 3pts.
Rory MacDonald – 3pts.
Tim Boetsch – 3pts.

Michael Bisping – 1pt.
Alan Belcher – 1pt.
Joe Lauzon – 1pt.
Siyar Bahadurzada– 1pt.
Vitor Belfort – 1pt.
Mark Hunt – 1pts.
Kazou Misaki – 1pt.
Karl Amoussou – 1pt.
Eduardo Dantas – 1 pts. (Deducted 5 points for loss to Tyson Nam)
Joseph Benavidez – 1pts. (Deducted 5 points for loss to Demitrious Johnson)

Miesha Tate – (-2 pts.) (Deducted 5 points for loss to Ronda Rousey)
Jim Miller – (-2 pts.) (Deducted 5 points for loss to Nick Diaz)
Lloyd Woodward – (-2 pts.) (Deducted 5 points for loss to Rick Hawn)

  • Year-End Rankings Key:

    UFC Contracted Fighters are represented in BLUE.

    Strikeforce Contracted Fighters are represented in RED.

    Japanese Contracted Fighters are represented in MAROON.

    Bellator Contracted Fighters are represented in GOLD.

    Other Fighters are represented in BLACK.


    Year One (2009) Winner: Lyoto Machida

    Year Two (2010) Winner: Cain Velasquez

    Year Three (2011) Winner: Jon Jones

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