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Old 11-29-2010, 04:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Top 5 Prospects - Heavyweights Edition

5.

Age: 27
Birthplace: Aurora, Colorado, USA
Height: 6'4"
Camp: Jackson's Submission Fighting
Style: Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Background: Pro Football, Golden Gloves Boxing Champion, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Purple Belt.

Brendan Schaub is an exceptional athlete that has bolted up the prospect rankings by doing what exceptional, dedicated athletes do, showing improvement each and every time out, including a dominating recent performance over Gabriel Gonzaga. Stemming from his time in the Ultimate Fighter, Schaub has shown a marked improvement in his takedown defense and boxing technique, and has the speed and power to truly make him a dangerous fighter on the feet. On the ground, he is a purple belt with the capability to use his hips to escape back to his feet, or even reverse position.

Working with the now infamous Greg Jackson, Schaub has shown that he will continue to make strides in his takedown defense, and harness his abilities as a heavy handed striker both on the feet and in ground and pound situations. As long as Schaub continues his development in these areas, he is a top 7 talent in the HW division.

4.

Age: 24
Birthplace: El Paso, Texas, USA
Height: 6'1"
Camp: American Top Team
Style: Wrestling
Background: NCAA Division 1 Collegiate Wrestling All American - Iowa State , Collegiate Football

If there is one word to describe Tony "Hulk" Johnson Jr, it is "freak". This giant of a man, while only standing at 6'1, cuts to 265lbs and has measureables that would make Brock Lesnar blush. Despite being around 250lbs, during his football days in high school he was once clocked at 4.5 in the 40 yard dash. Truly an elite wrestler, this is only complimented by his immense strength, agility and speed.

While Johnson's slams and ground and pound are already at a high level, he certainly needs to develop into a more well-rounded mixed martial artist. At 24, he has plenty of time to do so, but he needs to improve his BJJ awareness and polish his striking. While having good hands, Johnson's biggest folly is that his BJJ game seems almost non-existent. He quite often leaves himself in dangerous spots against competent grapplers, and doesn't show any ability on the bottom, a fact highlighted by his quick submission loss to world class wrestler Daniel Cormier.

That said, even the Cormier loss was a bit of a fluke, as Johnson drove Cormier half way across the cage only for him to bounce of the cage and land on top. Still, the loss could've been prevented if Johnson's submission defense was more developed.

Training at ATT, one can expect these weaknesses to be panned out, and a guy as athletic and willing as Johnson has the ability to become a top 3-5 fighter in the HW division in the future.

3. [/quote]

Age: 31
Birthplace: Lafayette, Lousiana, USA
Height: 5'11
Camp: American Kickboxing Academy
Style: Wrestling
Background: NCAA Division 1 Collegiate Wrestling Runner Up - Oklahoma State, Olympic Freestyle Wrestler


Daniel Cormier is a wrestling convert who, despite only being pro for two years, has racked off a 6-0 record against pretty good competition. Despite being a busy fighter, taking fights often, he shows marked improvement in these short spaces. At 31, Cormier is at or near his physical prime, so his efforts in getting as much experience as possible is a smart move for his career. Cormier's wrestling and takedown ability is world class, however it is his aptitude for striking that makes him such an intriguing prospect, stopping 5 of his 6 opponents with punches.

Cormier's notable fight at this stage of his career was against Tony Johnson Jr, a fellow prospect. Not only was he able to take the much larger Johnson down, but he displayed his development in the submission game, and quickly transitioned to the back where he locked on a fight ending choke.

Cormier is a top prospect that shows no real weaknesses thus far in his game, and many are expecting him to reach the elite level in the Strikeforce Heavyweight division. However, there are some concerns that he is undersized, at only 5'11 240lbs, but Cormier has proven that size is only a number at this point in his career. His finishing ability and world class talent can lead him to possibly a shot at Strikeforce gold in the next few years.

2:

Age: 28
Birthplace: Croatia
Height: 6'4
Camp: Strong Style Fight Team
Style: Boxing, Wrestling
Background: NCAA Division 1 Collegiate Wrestling - Cleveland State, Amateur Boxing

Stipe Miocic is a prospect with frightening potential. A devastating puncher with size, and a collegiate wrestling background, he draws comparisons to a prime Chuck Liddell. Showing both the ability to use his "wrestling in reverse" and secure a takedown and rain down brutal ground and pound, Miocic has well-rounded talent and the physical attributes to become a dominant HW.

Miocic's biggest asset is his concussive punching power that has lead every victims to fall via knockout. Ohio MMA enthusiasts chant about his decorated amateur record, fighting many tough fighters early in his career. Miocic is known to have some defensive flaws, but his desire to learn the nuances of boxing, and his titanium chin leave the prospect of trading with him highly undesirable.

Miocic could very well be the next big thing at HW, forcing his opponents to play his game, a game that will often favor him considering his power and durability. It is still early in his career, but the athletic Croatian could be a dominant, top 3 HW if and when he reaches his prime.

1.

Age: 26
Birthplace: Appleton, Wisconsin, USA
Height: 6'5"
Camp: Minnesota Martial Arts Academy
Style: Wrestling
Background: NCAA Division 1 Collegiate Wrestling Champion - Minnesota

Polarizing or not, Cole Konrad is clearly the frontrunner for the next big thing at HW. If you walked into a room full of MMA media and pundits, and brashly declared that Konrad was the best wrestler in the HW division, you would not get many arguments. Sure, his body looks more like a lovable dad on a daytime sitcom show, and he's not making any highlight reels anytime soon, but his wrestling is brutally effective, and so far outright unstoppable.

Konrad, who trains with Brock Lesnar and many other top wrestlers, even while gassed, shows the ability to hit takedowns and trips that many other guys simply can't do, evidenced in a fight with Demian Grabowsky. On top, his base is incredibly and his top control is smothering. He methodically grinds downs down with shots to the body and gives them no room to even think about a sweep or escape.

While Konrad may have beaten Cain Velasquez in a wrestling match in college in a grueling match, he is clearly far behind in striking and the submission game. However, even Konrad only develops to have passable skills in these aspects of MMA, his top control and dominant wrestling could lead him to a title shot in the grand stage when it is all said and done.


Sleepers


Age: 24
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria
Height: 5'11"
Camp: SK Absolute Bulgaria
Style: Sambo
Background: 2008 World Sambo Champion

Famed in internet communities for the man to beat Fedor in Sambo. Ivanov has immediately taken to MMA and fought MMA legend Fujita in only his 3rd fight, in what turned out to be a grueling bout in which Ivanov broke both hands, but rocked the iron-chinned Fujita and busted him up enough to win a decision. Now Ivanov it showing his commmitment to the sport, and is rumoured to be moving to Las Vegas to train in America, which will certainly improve his apparently weak takedown defense and guard game.

There are certainly many positives about Blagoi though, although his striking is fairly rudimentary and a bit wild, the fearless aggression he shows is complimented, like the man he beat in Sambo, by tremendous hand speed and power.
This, complimented with his Sambo throws and dangerous top game with aggressive, heavy handed ground and pound leave him with the potential to be one of MMA's most exciting offensive fighters at HW.

As with most sleepers, he could be a long shot, but Blagoi could develop into a top international talent and land in the UFC or Strikeforce at the 15-20 range of HWs.



Age: 23
Birthplace: Ibaraki, Osaka, Japan
Height: 5'11"
Weightclass: Heavyweight
Camp: Xtreme Couture/Blackhouse
Style: Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Background: 2008 Judo Olympic Gold Medalist, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt

Satoshi Ishii may have entered the sport as one of the most highly touted prospects to never step in a ring or cage. He also suffered from the Japanese curse, fighting a veteran in his first fight that he simply wasn't ready for and dropping a decision.

Fortunately, Ishii has fully dedicated himself to his development, taking on easier fights while he improves, and training literally all over the world in an effort to improve his overall game. With the pure ability and resources of Ishii, he certainly has a good deal of potential. Combine his world class clinch game and takedowns with a more than competent developing BJJ game, and you'll have one of the most dangerous grapplers forecasted in the future of HWs.

Although he remains slightly undersized, the principles of Judo and BJJ should allow him to compete at that level, and he could enter the UFC as a borderline top 10 fighter when he finally reaches his prime, and become a real Japanese icon in the meantime.




Age: 23
Birthplace: Sandpoint, Idaho USA
Height: 6'2"
Camp: Team Takedown
Style: Wrestling
Background: NCAA Division 1 Collegiate Wrestling All-American - Oklahoma State

Jared Rosholt, brother of former UFC Middleweight, Jake Rosholt is an unknown commodity in Mixed Martial Arts. Set to make his debut in 2011, he enters the sport with a storied wrestling background, included a collegiate career of over 100 wins as a Heavyweight at Oklahoma State.

Jared, physically is an imposing Heavyweight, standing at 6'2 and the full 265lbs, Jared can surely impose his will physically on the legion of MMA HWs around the world. Unlike fellow folkstyle wrestling greats like Cole Konrad, Jared appears to have a much more solid physique and his promoter raves about his strength and feats in bench press.
His speed is also much the rave, supposedly running around a 4.7 40 yard dash, impressive for a 270-280lb man.

In the talent-stricken 265lb division, Jared's athleticism and world class wrestling ability should alone take him places. Despite this, he is utterly unproven in competition, and there are too many questions to make even a semi-legitimate projection of his career. Despite this, given his youth, and his single skill set putting him already way ahead of the curve, he should be a top 30 HW at the very least.


Comments, questions, suggestions?

Last edited by Roflcopter : 02-19-2011 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 11-29-2010, 06:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not really sure how you're qualifying prospects. Cole Konrad is the Bellator Heavyweight Champion. I'm not sure it's fair to call someone a "prospect" when they hold a title in one of the bigger organizations.

Duffee should probably be dropped from the list. Unless he shows some serious improvement in the next few fights, he's not likely to be a serious force in title contention. He's a young guy, and an amazing athlete, but his stock has slid a lot recently. I'm not sure I'd put him on this list ahead of Ishii or Ivanov. Both of them seem more strongly guaranteed as commodities than Duffee.

As for including Tony Johnson, if you're qualifying guys as sleepers only as long as they're under the age of 30, that's fine.

But I think Dan Cormier is far more interesting long term. Cormier is a former Olympian in wrestling and has shown that he can effectively throw punches and utilize submissions, and is working with a serious MMA camp. I'm not saying that Johnson is interesting, but if we want to talk about potential, it seems to me that Cormier is far more deserving than Johnson.

I'm not sure someone with 21 fights should really be called a prospect. Dave Herman has been around a long time. I think you're qualifying your list based on age, as opposed to experience, which is fine. But it is a little weird to include someone with so many fights, who has taken on so many experienced fighters.

It's an interesting group of guys, and I'm happy to talk about all of them. They're all worth talking about. I'm just not sure I really understand or agree with your use of the word "prospect" to describe them.
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Roger Gracie

if he ever gets serious. i dont know about heavy weight but he is 6'4'' and one imagines he could fill out. theres a lot to like about him and his attitude and he seems in some ways the most ungracie gracie. he also is based in england where im from and i dont know what to say. i got a lot of interest in his career. obviously bjj is not enough, but the guy is a legend in bjj and if he had the tools to at least mix it or get good takedowns, theres a world of potential there.

bjj record 64 wins 6 losses. has beat werdum, maia et al.

and as far as i know he has NEVER been submitted in competition.

He has won the BJJ World Jiu-Jitsu Championship (the Mundials) a record 10 times, including 7 times in his own weight class and the first person to win 3 times at open weight In 2010. In addition to his accolades competing with the gi, In 2005 Roger competed in the prestigious ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship and won all 8 of his matches both at weight and absolute. In the 2009 Mundials he submitted all of his opponents in his weight class and the absolute (open weight) with a choke from the mount (considered one of the most fundamental and basic moves in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.) Roger has not been submitted in competition since he was a blue belt.

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Old 11-29-2010, 07:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Roger Gracie

if he ever gets serious. i dont know about heavy weight but he is 6'4'' and one imagines he could fill out. theres a lot to like about him and his attitude and he seems in some ways the most ungracie gracie. he also is based in england where im from and i dont know what to say. i got a lot of interest in his career. obviously bjj is not enough, but the guy is a legend in bjj and if he had the tools to at least mix it or get good takedowns, theres a world of potential there.

bjj record 64 wins 6 losses. has beat werdum, maia et al.

He has won the BJJ World Jiu-Jitsu Championship (the Mundials) a record 10 times, including 7 times in his own weight class and the first person to win 3 times at open weight In 2010. In addition to his accolades competing with the gi, In 2005 Roger competed in the prestigious ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship and won all 8 of his matches both at weight and absolute. In the 2009 Mundials he submitted all of his opponents in his weight class and the absolute (open weight) with a choke from the mount (considered one of the most fundamental and basic moves in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.) Roger has not been submitted in competition since he was a blue belt.
He's pretty old to be filling out. He's in his physical prime at nearly 30 years old, its not like hes some Jon Jones type kid where he'll be growing as he matures.

Hes not on this list because hes fighting at LHW.


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I'm not really sure how you're qualifying prospects. Cole Konrad is the Bellator Heavyweight Champion. I'm not sure it's fair to call someone a "prospect" when they hold a title in one of the bigger organizations.

Duffee should probably be dropped from the list. Unless he shows some serious improvement in the next few fights, he's not likely to be a serious force in title contention. He's a young guy, and an amazing athlete, but his stock has slid a lot recently. I'm not sure I'd put him on this list ahead of Ishii or Ivanov. Both of them seem more strongly guaranteed as commodities than Duffee.

As for including Tony Johnson, if you're qualifying guys as sleepers only as long as they're under the age of 30, that's fine.




But I think Dan Cormier is far more interesting long term. Cormier is a former Olympian in wrestling and has shown that he can effectively throw punches and utilize submissions, and is working with a serious MMA camp. I'm not saying that Johnson is interesting, but if we want to talk about potential, it seems to me that Cormier is far more deserving than Johnson.

I'm not sure someone with 21 fights should really be called a prospect. Dave Herman has been around a long time. I think you're qualifying your list based on age, as opposed to experience, which is fine. But it is a little weird to include someone with so many fights, who has taken on so many experienced fighters.

It's an interesting group of guys, and I'm happy to talk about all of them. They're all worth talking about. I'm just not sure I really understand or agree with your use of the word "prospect" to describe them.
Insignificant IMO, I don't consider Bellator anymore than just a big tournament of prospects and some veterans who usually aren't good enough or were kicked out of the big time(with exception, Mr Alvarez). 8-0 with a world to go in development is why I gave him the prospect label.


Maybe, but as of now, Duffee appears to be much more refined than either. Ivanov and Ishii appear probably years away from reaching their potential while Duffee is a UFC caliber guy still. I don't think he's a title contender, but my expectations in the write up described that.

Johnson wasn't on the sleepers list, but yeah, most are 30 and under. Not necessarily 30, but pretty close. Cormier is really old in terms of the long term, if he's considered a prospect, he's very short term in that regard. Much like Shane Carwin was before he was signed. He's not getting much better, and his physical prime is already now. Furthermore, I don't really like his size, but I do think as a short term prospect he could be fighting for the SF belt soon.
Johnson himself actually had Olympic invites, but his college and Olympic career basically went to hell when his girlfriend got pregnant. I think his wrestling is on that level. In fact, he would've had Cormier down had he not ricocheted off the cage and landed on top of him after Johnson's power double.

Herman is experienced of course, but so is Renan Barao. He's essentially a freelance fighter that has never really settled down and made a career of his immense talent. If he was consistently fighting in major organizations and fighting ranked guys, of course I wouldn't be calling him a prospect. But that label is something that will likely follow him until he inks with a major company and gets serious with his training.

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Old 11-29-2010, 07:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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He's pretty old to be filling out. He's in his physical prime at nearly 30 years old, its not like hes some Jon Jones type kid where he'll be growing as he matures.

Hes not on this list because hes fighting at LHW.
not to hijack, but do you rate him? or do you think its hype to think he can do well in MMA?
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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not to hijack, but do you rate him? or do you think its hype to think he can do well in MMA?
I rate him at LHW.

In between a long term and a short term prospect.

He's pretty hit and miss though because apparently all he does is train gi-grappling for some reason.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Pretty good list, but Daniel Cormier is one of my favorite up and coming HWs. I think he's missing here.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Insignificant IMO, I don't consider Bellator anymore than just a big tournament of prospects and some veterans who usually aren't good enough or were kicked out of the big time(with exception, Mr Alvarez). 8-0 with a world to go in development is why I gave him the prospect label.
Yeah, that's a totally reasonable view of Bellator. I just think it sells the organization short. They do have a fair number of serious veterans around.

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Maybe, but as of now, Duffee appears to be much more refined than either. Ivanov and Ishii appear probably years away from reaching their potential while Duffee is a UFC caliber guy still. I don't think he's a title contender, but my expectations in the write up described that.
I have a hard time seeing anyone as a UFC level fighter when they lack serious cardio, as we saw from Duffy. Both Ivanov and Ishii are serious athletes, and Duffy definitely has the power, I'm just not sure he'll ever have the cardio. It's hard to get that into guys who are thick.

Quote:
Johnson wasn't on the sleepers list, but yeah, most are 30 and under. Not necessarily 30, but pretty close. Cormier is really old in terms of the long term, if he's considered a prospect, he's very short term in that regard. Much like Shane Carwin was before he was signed. He's not getting much better, and his physical prime is already now. Furthermore, I don't really like his size, but I do think as a short term prospect he could be fighting for the SF belt soon.
Johnson himself actually had Olympic invites, but his college and Olympic career basically went to hell when his girlfriend got pregnant. I think his wrestling is on that level. In fact, he would've had Cormier down had he not ricocheted off the cage and landed on top of him after Johnson's power double.
I'm not convinced that was a fluke. I think that's a product of superior wrestling on the part of Cormier, which is to be expected. But I'd have to rewatch the fight.

Still, the fact that Cormier has a submission game and Johnson, apparently, doesn't, makes Cormier much more interesting.

Johnson's backstory is interesting, and I'm not that familiar with him. He's definitely a good prospect from the KOTC fights I've seen, but I'm not in the least convinced that he belongs in the top two.


Quote:
Herman is experienced of course, but so is Renan Barao. He's essentially a freelance fighter that has never really settled down and made a career of his immense talent. If he was consistently fighting in major organizations and fighting ranked guys, of course I wouldn't be calling him a prospect. But that label is something that will likely follow him until he inks with a major company and gets serious with his training.
Renan is definitely not a prospect. I have a hard time calling anyone a journeyman when they have more than fifteen fights or so, and both Pee Wee and Barao have fought enough quality guys that it seems like they should be referred to in a different way.

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not to hijack, but do you rate [Roger Gracie]? or do you think its hype to think he can do well in MMA?
I think it's unlikely that he'll ever take MMA seriously. He prefers jiu-jitsu and has said so a number of times. He's a jiu-jitsu guy.

I think he can be a serious force in MMA if he continues to improve his standup, but he'll never be a world champion and I doubt he'll ever be top ten. He doesn't compete often enough, and he's more committed to grappling.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah, that's a totally reasonable view of Bellator. I just think it sells the organization short. They do have a fair number of serious veterans around.



I have a hard time seeing anyone as a UFC level fighter when they lack serious cardio, as we saw from Duffy. Both Ivanov and Ishii are serious athletes, and Duffy definitely has the power, I'm just not sure he'll ever have the cardio. It's hard to get that into guys who are thick.



I'm not convinced that was a fluke. I think that's a product of superior wrestling on the part of Cormier, which is to be expected. But I'd have to rewatch the fight.

Still, the fact that Cormier has a submission game and Johnson, apparently, doesn't, makes Cormier much more interesting.

Johnson's backstory is interesting, and I'm not that familiar with him. He's definitely a good prospect from the KOTC fights I've seen, but I'm not in the least convinced that he belongs in the top two.




Renan is definitely not a prospect. I have a hard time calling anyone a journeyman when they have more than fifteen fights or so, and both Pee Wee and Barao have fought enough quality guys that it seems like they should be referred to in a different way.



I think it's unlikely that he'll ever take MMA seriously. He prefers jiu-jitsu and has said so a number of times. He's a jiu-jitsu guy.

I think he can be a serious force in MMA if he continues to improve his standup, but he'll never be a world champion and I doubt he'll ever be top ten. He doesn't compete often enough, and he's more committed to grappling.
Don't think you can sell an organization like Bellator that short. Its really not a big deal and to compound things, is likely to go out of business soon.

Cardio? It's not terrible. Better than say, Shane Carwin's, or Ben Rothwell, Cheick Kongo, etc. He didn't pace himself though and was going for a knockout because of stupid coaching.


I'm not really sold on the quantity of fights. If it had been 10 fights or so in Strikeforce, DREAM, Sengoku or the UFC then yeah, probably not a prospect. But bouncing around the local circuit, fighting 8 or so times a year isn't going to drop the prospect label IMO. Neither have fought world beaters, and both are very young.

I usually don't drop a guy from a prospect list until he cracks the top 10, or gets so many fights in a major organization that its not appropriate.

I do think that Herman and Barao are about a year or two from shedding the label though. Barao because he will maybe(likely) be entering the top 10 at 135 and Herman because I think 30 fights makes it lose its relevance.

I'd agree about Roger though, wouldn't be surprised if he quit if he gets KO'd by Mike Kyle. I think he only does MMA to make a quick buck really.
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Don't think you can sell an organization like Bellator that short. Its really not a big deal and to compound things, is likely to go out of business soon.
That's a fair point. Though I'm not sure how soon they're going to go out of business. The timetables vary.

Quote:
Cardio? It's not terrible. Better than say, Shane Carwin's, or Ben Rothwell, Cheick Kongo, etc. He didn't pace himself though and was going for a knockout because of stupid coaching.
Ben Rothwell may be a fair comparison. But he's definitely not better in terms of cardio than Carwin or Kongo. Carwin definitely gassed in the Lesnar fight, but he threw a ton of punches in that first round. Duffy's gas was incredibly disappointing from those who thought he had some serious athletic ability.

He is a prospect, but he definitely needs to have some of that cardio inculcated soon, because it's rough to learn late in a career.


Quote:
I'm not really sold on the quantity of fights. If it had been 10 fights or so in Strikeforce, DREAM, Sengoku or the UFC then yeah, probably not a prospect. But bouncing around the local circuit, fighting 8 or so times a year isn't going to drop the prospect label IMO. Neither have fought world beaters, and both are very young.
How about Jose Landi-Jons prior to his fight in Pride? Circa 2001, he'd been fighting for five years, had 24 professional fights and had taken some serious names. He was far from a prospect.

The size of the show isn't relevant to me. It's about the difference between rookie and veteran status. A prospect, as I use the term, is necessarily a rookie. Veterans (fighters with substantial numbers of fights) don't get the lable.


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I usually don't drop a guy from a prospect list until he cracks the top 10, or gets so many fights in a major organization that its not appropriate.
Again, that seems like a really lose definition of the term to me. There are plenty of fighters that don't seem to qualify, to me, that can be made to fit that definition of prospect. But it does clarify the difference in the way we're using the term.

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I do think that Herman and Barao are about a year or two from shedding the label though. Barao because he will maybe(likely) be entering the top 10 at 135 and Herman because I think 30 fights makes it lose its relevance.
30 fights is a ton of bouts. That would locate Jorge Patino's transition around his fight with Gustavo Machado, rather than about eight years earlier, where most commentators find it, in his first appearances outside of Brazil.

That puts Minowa's loss of prospect status around his first appearance in the UFC, which seems way too late for me.


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I'd agree about Roger though, wouldn't be surprised if he quit if he gets KO'd by Mike Kyle. I think he only does MMA to make a quick buck really.
I'm not sure that the motives are financial, though it wouldn't surprise me. I think he's doing fine from the money he's making off of his gym and affiliates. Realistically, though, I think you're right: if he gets KO'd by Mike Kyle, that'll be the last time he appears in the cage.
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