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The next big thing at 170

What’s it gonna take for another fighter to break into the title picture at 170? The MMA Digest breaks down their vision of a fighter who’d be able to stand up to guys like Matt Hughes, Georges St Pierre and (heh) Matt Serra:

In the welterweight class where there is such a deep pool of talent when it comes to wrestling and takedown ability, any new dominant champion to emerge onto the scene in this division will need to be a miniature version of a Chuck Liddell. It’ll be a fighter with devastating knockout striking power who can stop a takedown, and get back if when taken down. Such skills are rare and the abilities of Liddell in this area have not been duplicated in other weight classes. But with the superior wrestling of fighters at 170, the next big thing in the division will required to be equipped with devastating striking, an amazing sprawl, and equally talented scrambling skills.

I can’t think of anyone in WW off the top of my head who has more power in his hands than GSP, and even he doesn’t hold a candle to the blowtorch of Senor Chuck Liddell. Is it possible that those extra 35 pounds between light heavyweight and welterweight remove the ability to be a knockout artiste? I’m not buying it. The only guy who might fit the above bill is Mike Swick, and we’ll have to wait and see if his quick and powerful punching power can withstand the wrestling ability of the welterweight’s top dogs.

  • garth says:

    The 170’s I could think of that have some part of that power/sprawl/etc combo are all older or on their way out or don’t have the whole enchilada…Joe Riggs has hands, but has an annoying habit of getting his ass beat. Diego doesn’t seem to have the striking. GSP absolutely has KO power, and I think Serra does too. Jon Fitch may yet develop into that guy. Thiago Alves? Carlos Condit?
    Any thought on Sam Stout moving up to 170? He’s got a lot of skills and is relatively young.
    The more I think on it, the more likely it’s going to be someone brand new. There’s no one out there at 170 right now that has the whole set necessary. Jon Fitch is the only guy I can see breaking into that elite level.
    Aside: did you know sherdog lists Spencer Fischer as a 170lb fighter?

  • bubbafat says:

    Fischer broke Aaron Riley’s jaw at 170. The UFC may not have the bank of knockout artists at 170 but there are guys out there with bricks in there hands that would be fighting at 170 if they signed with the UFC eg. Robbie Lawler (ranked as a top 10 185er).

  • No robbie lawler for a while … he’s signed with EliteXC now :-/

  • Matt says:

    Nick Diaz w/ improved punching power and the abilitly to stop guys from laying on him for 15min. is right up there.. I know he is signed w/ EliteXC for now, but I think he could hang w/ Rush stand-up or on the ground..