Who would be in a TUF Comeback season #2?

Friday, June 29, 2012

UnderGround Guest Blogger (UGBG) Jack Brown is “The Part-Time Martial Artist,” offering a full-time fan’s perspective on UFC and major MMA news, developments, or hypotheticals. He earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do a decade ago from Joe Rogan’s alma mater Jae H. Kim in Boston, and currently trains at Lauzon MMA.

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In his debut blog, he offers choices for a hypothetical repeat of the TUF Comback Season, which uniquely was composed of fighters that had fought in the UFC, but had yet to win a UFC title, rather than the usual cast of UFC hopefuls.

TUF 4 fighters included Travis Lutter, Charles McCarthy, Jorge Rivera, Mikey Burnett, Pete Spratt, Patrick Côté, Shonie Carter, Chris Lytle, Matt Serra, and Din Thomas.

Who should be in if they bring back the concept?

TUF Comeback Season 2  – The Lightweights

At this point, what red-blooded, Mikey Burnett loving, TUF 4 fan doesn’t want another comeback season?  Using some of the original comeback season’s blueprints, plus a few ground rules, here’s the candidates for the eight man cast of lightweights (sorry, Anthony Johnson – No chance at this cut).
Ground rules: Fighters should all be part of the UFC’s current lightweight roster, should not have fought for or had the title before (oh well, Sean Sherk, and you can stay at welterweight, Diego Sanchez), and should plausibly be three wins away from the title fight that winning the show would get them.  We’ll also leave out the current champ (way to be, Bendo), the number one contender (Edgar), and the other top four contenders (Diaz, Pettis, Cerrone, and Maynard) to keep the lightweight division active while the show plays out.

Must Have: 
These two guys bring the show instant credibility and let the fans know that the UFC is not holding back.  They’re also two tough guys in their prime who don’t have another path to a title shot given their recent losses .
Clay Guida – Guida is a regular fight-night headliner, and it might be hard to keep him off upcoming cards, but the dude is a star.  He could definitely have his own reality show.  But the reality is that after his loss to Maynard, Guida needs to win this show to get that title shot.
Jim Miller – Jim Miller has come close to fighting for the title, but losses to the division’s top fighters (Maynard, Edgar, Henderson, Diaz) have hurt him along the way.  Winning this show may mean a rematch with whichever of those guys is on top.

Must Watch:
These two guys will show the fans the full range of MMA techniques while also causing the occasional jaw to drop.  They’re also both coming off tough losses.
Joe Lauzon – Lauzon’s a TUF 5 veter an, and a twelve-fight veteran of the UFC, who has eight wins, and is almost always in great fights.  All of his wins have been finishes and seven of his last fights have earned fight bonuses.  After the Petttis loss at UFC 144, winning this show is the pathway that Joe needs for the title.
Edson Barboza – Barboza won his first four UFC fights impressively, and then lost spectacularly in his last. All the while Barboza has been an exciting fighter whose spinning wheel kick KO of Terry Etim at UFC 142 was an all-time great.  He also brings some Brazilian flavor to the show, and that can’t hurt.   

Made For Reality TV:
Like the previous candidates, these two guys are also coming off losses.   They also both bring unique skill sets that will make for interesting style match-ups with the other fighters.  But forget about all that, like Guida, these guys are crazy.  Crazy good, not crazy bad?  Either way, we may have the most bizarre behavior since Jeremy Jackson out of one of these enigmatic fighters.
Jacob Volkmann – Volkmann had a nice five-win run before Paul Sass submitted him at UFC 146.  Up until then he was walking the talk.  He might have the biggest mouth outside of the great and mighty Chael, and his politics are bound to rub someone the wrong way.
Melvin Guillard – A TUF 3 veteran, and a veteran of sixteen UFC fights dating back to 2005, he had a five-fight winning streak until suffering back to back rear naked choke losses to Lauzon and Miller.  Including Guillard could lead to some interesting rematches as well as a serious conflict of interests.  Guillard and Guida train together at Greg Jackson’s, but both have said that they would be open to fighting each other.   

Just For Fun:
The last two fighters are actually both coming off victories, but both are also just beginning to emerge from the dark depths that their prior losses led them to.  More importantly, MMA fans will definitely take notice when they hear these names.
Takanori Gomi – Gomi seemed doomed after being submitted by Florian, Guida, and Diaz, but he got a win with his back against the wall when he TKO’d Eiji Mitsuoka at UFC 144.  Gomi brings the Japanese flavor to the table.  He also brings out the “Pride Never Dies.”
Jamie Varner – Just last September, Varner lost a decision in the Titan Fight Championship to a fighter with a very infamous past.  When he returned to the big time on short notice at UFC 146, he shocked the MMA world with a TKO win over Edson Barboza.  Gomi, watch out.  The former WEC champ, Varner, is bringing the “WEC Never Dies”

For Further Consideration:
George Sotiropolous (We need that Australian market), Terry Etim (Love those Brits), Mark Bocek (Got to have a Canadian), Sam Stout (Got to have two Canadians), Mac Danzig (A Vegan), Matt Wiman (Just to fight Mac Danzig again), Evan Dunham (?), Thiago Tavares, Gleison Tibau, Rafael Dos Anjos, and anyone that you are going to get on me for not including.

In the next blog, the welterweights…