UFC 125 – What We Learned and What’s Next

Who's the best lightweight in the world? We still don't know.

It’s not incredible rare for some of the least hyped cards to be the most exciting. Of course, it doesn’t happen all the time.

At UFC 115 in June, not many people were excited about a Chuck Liddell-Rich Franklin main event, but that card provided three main card fights that ended within a minute of a round ending.

Conversely, UFC 119, with a less-than-thrilling Frank Mir-Mirko Cro Cop main event, was a snooze fest from the opening round to the final bell.

UFC 125 wasn’t quite in either of those categories. After all, it at least had a title fight on the card. But with the un-hype-able Gray Maynard taking on a less-than-marketable champion in Frankie Edgar, as well as a never-heard-of-him Brian Stann taking on the unlikeable Chris Leben in the co-main event, it’s safe to say this card wasn’t about to set pay per view records.

But UFC 125 exceeded expectations, providing exciting finishes, slugfests, grappling matches and a main event that exceeded everyone’s expectations, despite a result similar to kissing one’s own cousin.

Let’s take a look at what we learned about specific fighters on the card, and what should be next.

Frankie Edgar

What we learned – That his back-to-back victories over B.J. Penn were not a fluke. That he’s improved vastly since his first fight with Maynard. That he’s got an incredible amount of heart.

What’s next? – Maynard. There was talk about whether or not an immediate rematch should take place or Edgar should fight Anthony Pettis, who was promised the winner of this fight. The thing is, Pettis was promised the winner. There was no winner. It’s not fair to Maynard (or Edgar) for this incredible evolving rivalry to go without a clear winner.

Gray Maynard

What we learned – That his propensity for boring fights — while justifiably criticized at times — was not on display for at least one night. That he’s absolutely on the same level as the top lightweights in the world (yes, there was a question to that before the fight). That he has earned the right to get a shot at winning this fight (after all, he still hasn’t lost to Edgar). That his punches pack a lot of power.

What’s next? – See Edgar, Frankie.

Brian Stann

What we learned – That the big jump up in competition was justified. That he has a relentless pace. That he’s an incredibly accurate striker with some very powerful hands. That he can out-brawl a brawler.

What’s next? – Stann said he wanted Wanderlei Silva. The problem with that is Silva’s likely got a date with Chael Sonnen. There is a lot of potential matchups the UFC could go with for Stann. But I think they’re going to play it safe with one of their rising stars and avoid matching him up against someone like Damian Maia or Michael Bisping, I think they bring him along slowly, and the likes of Alan Belcher or Maiquel Falcao seem like good possibilities.

Chris Leben

What we learned – That, just when you think he’s on his way up, he disappoints yet again. That he can be out-brawled.

What’s next? – Toiling in gatekeeper obscurity against the likes of Jason MacDonald or Chris Camozzi.

Thiago Silva

What we learned – That he’s an incredible dangerous and accurate striker who, when healthy, belongs among the top ten light heavyweights in the UFC.

What’s next? – Giving Phil Davis a giant step up in competition.

Brandon Vera

What we learned – That he continues to employ one of the strangest game plans in the sport. That he has a propensity for having his face royally screwed up.

What’s next? – The chopping block.

Dong Hyun Kim

What we learned – That the fact that he is one of the few UFC fighters to specialize in Judo can work to his advantage. That he can grapple some of the best the division has to offer. That he’s due a top-level wrestler to see how legit he is.

What’s next? – A top-level wrestler such as Jake Ellenberger would make a lot of sense.

Nate Diaz

What we learned – That he just might not be strong enough to compete with the top half of the welterweight division.

What’s next? – Playing gatekeeper for a guy like Daniel Roberts seems prudent.

Clay Guida

What we learned – That he’s come a long way and learned a lot since losing fights to Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian over a year ago.

What’s next? – Welcoming Donald Cerrone to the big show.

Predictions record – 6-4-1 (3-1-1 on main card).

 

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