Pro wrestling legend Ric Flair has repeatedly said to be the man, you gotta beat the man, that was usually followed by a loud Woo, but that is completely irrelevant. The point is that this doesn’t hold true for mma, and in a one-on-one competition the best should be fighting the best whenever possible. Unfortunately there have been multiple occasions where the fights that should be made haven’t been, and I will now ist some examples for you:
Jon Fitch vs St.Pierre II
Since losing to GSP in his first and only title shot Fitch has amassed a record of 5-0-1, and other than the loss to the welterweight king, Fitch’s record is 21-0-1 since his last loss all the way back in 2002. Most of the reasoning that he hasn’t gotten a second title shot is because he’s not a finisher. Fitch is a grinder, in fact 11 out of his 15 fights in the UFC win lose or draw have gone to decision. I would consider it unfair, but because Fitch isn’t the most exciting or most entertaining fighter for most to watch he’s usually on the outside looking in as far as the title picture goes.
Jim Miller vs Edgar/Maynard winner
Jim Miller is another guy who beats just about everyone put in front of him. In fact his only two losses in his career are to Frankie Edgar, the current UFC lightweight champion, and to Gray Maynard, who happens to be the current number one contender to Edgar’s belt. With a record of 20-2 and a 7-fight win streak Miller should hopefully be next in line for a shot after Edgar and Maynard get their fight out of the way, that is assuming that he gets past his next test in Ben Henderson.
Clay Guida in a title eliminator with anyone deserving
Considering that Guida just beat Anthony Pettis, whom the UFC had promised a title shot and still would have had it had he won, its odd that Guida isn’t awarded that shot now. Now I’m not as upset about Guida not getting a shot right off of this win as much, because Jim Miller has been waiting longer and is on a longer winning streak than Guida. In fact if there were to be an extensive medical suspension for the winner of Edgar vs Maynard III,I wouldn’t mind seeing Guida and Miller fight to see who gets the next shot.
Martin Kampmann in a title eliminator
Granted on paper Kampmann has lost his last two fights, but those were both very controversial decision losses that many people aside from the judges thought he won. In fact Kampmann has had the misfortune to be in a one-sided #1 contender fight against Jake Shields. The fight got Jake Shields a title shot for winning a split decision that most though Kampmann won, but Kampmann was not going to be given a shot had he won. I say after his upcoming fight with John Howard they should give him a real number one contender fight.
The usual reason for why some guy get title shots when others are more deserving is usually due to marketability, but its one of the only sports to do such a thing. It would be like having the team with the best record in the NFL in a given season play the best team in the state the Super Bowl is held in that year instead of the other top team in the Super Bowl, only the NFL would never let that happen. Unless matchmakers have a sudden epiphany all we can hope for is a day where fights are made between the two best fighters available. I’m sure there are more examples that I could have used so if you have one that you want to bring up feel free to comment.