Ever wanted to see the best in the world in a specific weight class go against each other regardless of organizational affiliation? Of course, we all do. Sadly (barring divine intervention) it will never happen. So I thought let's have a fantasy tournament.
Here's how it would work. We select the top 8 fighters from all over the world and seed them 1 - 8. There will be a full week (until the end of next Saturday) for people to post their fighters and what seeds they should be. I will then go through people's posts and decide what the seedings should be based on how many people got votes for what place (8pts. for 1st, 7 for 2nd, 6 for 3rd, etc...). I will also give the official MMAWeekly rankings a look and consider them as if they were posted by a member of this forum. Once the fighters and rankings are determined we will have the first round (1 vs 8, 2 vs 7, etc...). The rule set in the match to consider would be the rule set of the organization the higher seeded fighter is currently fighting for (i.e. If a 2 seed form the UFC fought a 7 seed from K1 HEROs, the UFC rules and octagon would be used). Again I would give it a full week for people to post who they think would win each match, then the winners would be determined by number of votes. Then the winners would face off in the semi-final. A week of voting, and then the championship. A week of voting and we have a champion.
The brackets would be:
a) 1 vs 8
b) 4 vs 5
c) 3 vs 6
d) 2 vs 7
e) winner a vs winner b
f) winner c vs winner d
g) winner e vs winner f
So let's start at Lighweight (160 lbs. or less).
Here are my proposed participants, their seeds, and reasons for their inclusion/seeding:
1) "The fireball Kid" Takanori Gomi
- This is the no-brainer on the list. Most people have Gomi as the best lightweight in the world. He is well rounded with good wrestling skills, great striking, fast hands, and bombs in his hands. If he has a weakness it's off his back He has fought and beaten the best in the world.
2) Sean "The Muscle Shark" Sherk
- He gets the #2 seed because he is a champion in one of the 2 biggest and most well know MMA organizations in the world. Also I think Sherk doesn't get enought credit. He is a tough guy, extremely big and strong for a LW, and is an excellent wrestler.
3) "The Prodigy" BJ Penn
- I'm putting BJ here because he will be fighting next time (to the best of my knowledge) at 155 and I believe that's where he belongs (despite the fact that he would do really well at 170, heck even 185). As a LW BJ is no longer giving up size to most fighters like he did at 170 and he is freakishly talented. If BJ comes in well conditioned he can beat anybody
4) Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto
- Although actually a featherweight, Kid has fought many times at LW and there aren't enough quality fighters at 145 IMHO to make a featherweight tournament. Despite his lack of size, Kid is a force to be reckoned with. He is lightning quick and just plain vicious. He can explode at any moment.
5) Hayato "Mach" Sakurai
- He's fought everybody and has a wealth of experience. Well-rounded, smart, athletic. A perennial top 10 guy.
6) Gilbert Melendez
- An extremely exciting but ofter reckless fighter. Despite the recklessness he is still undefeated and his victory over Kawajiri was impressive, especially because he got rocked big time early on and managed to survive and come back.
7) Shinya Aoki
- I'm not convinced about his stand-up (frankly we don't get to see it too much), but on the ground the man is nothing short of phenomenal. He is quick and skilled enough that he usually gets the fight to the ground pretty fast anyway. Once on the ground if you're Aoki's opponent, I don't care who you are, you better get the **** out of there quick. If not you're getting submitted, end of story.
8) Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro
- His only loss is to Kawajiri whom he also has a victory over. Wins over Ishida and Hansen. Awesome submissions. The only thing keeping Vitor from being higher up on this list is fighting in a small organization.
Here are the MMA Weekly rankings
So what do you think? Would it work? Post your thoughts and if you think it would work and want to participate post your top 8 LW fighters and get involved. If this takes off maybe I'll sticky it and we can hold tournaments for other weight classes later on!