View Full Version : The Ultimate Evaluation (Part 1 of 5- TUF 1)

09-22-2007, 03:12 AM

but feel like a proud father to some of the former TUF stars that were victorious in a great night of fights. We watched some of these stars grow from one dimensional C-Level fighters with no real chance at world class status to legitimate contenders in stacked weight classes. This is why I am starting a new series of reviews that will look back at the 5 previous seasons of The Ultimate Fighter and decide exactly who are the “Real Deal”, who “Still Has Potential”, who “Could Go Either Way” and who “Never Stood a Chance.” Lets start where it all began, season 1.

The cast of characters/fighters on season 1 of TUF will forever go down in my opinion as the most talented group to ever be on the show. Not only were these fighters talented up and comers but they all had personalities and back stories that entertained as well as annoyed the viewers. Lets start with the group of fighters, if you can call them that, that just didn’t cut the mustard.

“Never Stood a Chance”

- Jason Thacker – The Canadian fighter that will forever go down as the man whose bed Chris Leben used as a toilet, was never a legit fighter in my opinion. First of all how did this dude get on the show? Sherdog’s Fight Finder lists his only professional fight as his loss to Chris Leben at the TUF 1 finale. “Strange Brew” left a strange taste in my mouth as to how this man could be considered an up and comer in the sport.

- Chris Sanford – The Cesar Gracie BJJ fighter who came to the show out of shape only had one loss, that being to Josh Koscheck at the TUF 1 finale. That being said, he has not fought since 2005 and obviously never had the true heart to be a superstar fighter in the UFC. If you don’t stay in shape, and you don’t stay active fighting, can you really still call yourself a fighter at that point?

- Josh Rafferty – The best about Josh was that he trained with Rich Franklin. That’s where the similarities between Josh and the former Middleweight champ end. After TUF Josh decided to join the pro (fake) wrestling ranks where his career apparently floundered there as well. Since then he has made a comeback to MMA, winning by armbar in April. Is this the start of Josh making a statement in MMA? Not a shot.

- Bobby Southworth – The Strikeforce LHW champion has fought for many organizations over his long MMA career. Some would make the argument that Bobby should at least be put in my next category. But the bottom line is I can never picture Southworth being any sort of star in the UFC, and if your not fighting there these days your not fighting the top guys. Sorry Bobby.

“Could Go Either Way”

- Lodune Sincaid – Ok I know what your thinking. How am I even giving this guy the slightest chance. Well heres why. Lodune’s biggest problem has always been his mind. If he ever gets that together, as well as his drug/alcohol issues, he actually could be a pretty decent fighter. After a brief stint in the WEC where he beat the likes of James Irvin, back to back losses to Jason Miller and Doug Marshall is nothing to be ashamed of. He has since won 2 fights in a row and this may be his last shot at the big show. If he puts together a strong showing in the next 2 years and maybe wins a few titles, you never know if he gets an under card shot back in the UFC.

- Sam Hoger – I personally think Sam Hoger is very underrated as a fighter. He has very nice stand up, a sick BJJ game and a personality that rivals some of the biggest egos on the planet. That being said, he just has not come up big against any of the top fighters he has faced in his career. I think if he brought his ego back to earth (although hes funny to listen to), he might stand a fighting chance at being a regular fighter on the big shows. He gave fits to Rashad Evans in their fight off his back and did similar things to Stephan Bonner in his fight. Hoger is a marketable guy and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the WEC pick him up sometime in the not so distant future.

- Alex Schoenauer – Alex has definitely improved his game since he started training with Bas Rutten. But is he a top talent in the sport at LHW? I don’t think so. I think if Alex wants to change his up and down IFL career to a championship one, he might want to move down to 185 for good. The more he trains with a great camp the better he may get but I just don’t know if he has a high enough ceiling to be where he needs to be to ever get back to the UFC. Only time will tell.

“Still Has Potential”

- Alex Karalexis – The thing about Alex that doesn’t make me give up on him is he’s a really smart guy. He knew realistically he was way too small to be competitive at 170 and since dropping down to 155 he’s undefeated. He has beat some real tough guys in his new stint for the WEC and a title shot is not too far away. An upset win over powerhouse Razor Rob would put Alex right where no one ever thought he would be, the top.

- Stephan Bonnar – Ok I’ll keep this real short. Bonnar’s problem is this. Ever since the Forrest Griffin fight, he seems to think that boxing is his way to glory. That’s not the right move. Bonner has some of the best BJJ you will see at 205. If he used his strength more and his boxing as more of a fall back, he would be a top contender again in the UFC. In his last fight he gave Bonnar fans hope, as he not only dominated Mike Nichols, but beat him at his own game, the ground. Watch for Bonnar to have a big 2008 if he sticks to his formula.

- Nate Quarry – It wasn’t too long ago that people were calling Nate the best fighter to come off of this season. That’s right people, if it was not for his injury, many people believe he might have beat Diego Sanchez for the TUF 1 title. But as in most sports, people tend to have short memories and only visualize the last fight they saw you in. Quarry getting knocked out by Rich Franklin will forever be in fight fans minds and his almost career ending back injury didn’t help the cause. After his comeback win over Pete Sell this past week, he made one thing clear, he has a huge heart and still has rocks for hands. Nate still has a shot at being a legit contender in a very weak 185 class.

- Chris Leben – Basically see above. Just like Quarry people had given up on Leben after his loss to Anderson Silva and his recent back to back losses. But Leben beat a real deal contender in Terry Martin this past week and he did it in comeback fashion. Chris looked real solid and if his head is in the right place he could go back to his old contender status. Chris used to baffle opponents with his iron chin and iron will, will he put that thought in their minds once again?

“Real Deal”

- Forrest Griffin – I was tempted to put Forrest in the still has potential category but one thing stuck in my mind. He trains harder than any fighter from this cast. He will constantly get better, and although he is not as gifted as the top guys at 205 he has more heart than all of them combined. The site of Griffin crying after his loss to Jardine should show people how much love he has for this game and how he never wants to deal with that again. So how does he remove the thought of losses from fan’s minds. He specifically asks for the top fighter in the world at 205, Shogun Rua. Does Griffin really stand a chance in this fight? Probably not. But this past year has proven that no one is unbeatable and with a win Griffin takes the short cut to a title shot and proves he is a real deal. Like Bonnar I do think Forrest should use his ground game more to his advantage but his boxing skills are getting so crisp its hard to tell him to stop doing what he loves.

- Mike Swick – Ok guys, I want everyone to think back to about 8 months ago. Oh yeah that’s right, Mike Swick was the guy many people thought deserved a title shot at 185. Then he loses one fight. That’s right one fight in 6 UFC trys and all of a sudden he’s overrated. Relax Mike Swick fans because his impending move down to 170 will prove to everyone that this kid is the real deal. His hands are lightning fast with power, his BJJ is underrated and his reach at 170 is going to give people fits. Watch and see, Swick is still a top guy in this sport.

- Josh Koshcheck – Best athlete in the UFC? Ummm maybe second to the guy who just beat him, GSP. But Josh will be around for many many many years and he will be at the top. Josh’s wrestling is so good that I honestly feel he beats Matt Hughes right now. He will be fighting on the same card as Serra vs Hughes and if Serra can pull of another upset win and keep his title, a fight with Hughes may actually happen early 2008. Win that fight and Josh cements himself as a true contender for the rest of his career.

- Kenny Florian – When this is all said and done years from now Kenny may actually go down as the most successful of all the guys from this season of the show. Kenny dramatically improves in every single fight. He is so dangerous at 155 its scary. His only downfall is his wrestling, its non existent. Yet he still gave Sean Sherk an amazing fight in their 5 round war. Guys like Sherk and Stevenson will give Kenny fits, but that’s where it ends for Kenny. If he figures out a way to deal with those types of ground fighters and gets a GSP type take down defense, he may be your next champion at 155 in the UFC.

- Diego Sanchez – I think Diego is the one fighter on this list that we can not deny being a true contender. Albeit he had his first loss recently but Koshcheck was a horrible match up for Diego and we all knew it deep down inside. Diego has the talent to overpower anyone on any day but the problem is that 170 is filled with some of the best pound for pound fighters in the world. Whether or not Diego gets back on the winning track against Jon Fitch this weekend really has no bearing on whether or not he is a true contender. Sanchez will be a top 10 fixture for the rest of his career and its only a metter of time before he gets a title shot and becomes a UFC champion.

That’s all for now people. Please feel free to give some feedback on this new series of articles I am doing and stay tuned for Part 2 – TUF 2.

-Johnny Tremz

09-22-2007, 11:06 PM
Great Analysis. I look forward to the rest of them. Rep'd

09-22-2007, 11:18 PM
Awesome job. Rep'd as well.

09-30-2007, 04:48 AM
anymore out yet?

09-30-2007, 04:05 PM
So how does he remove the thought of losses from fan’s minds. He specifically asks for the top fighter in the world at 205, Shogun Rua. Does Griffin really stand a chance in this fight? Probably not. But this past year has proven that no one is unbeatable and with a win Griffin takes the short cut to a title shot and proves he is a real deal. Like Bonnar I do think Forrest should use his ground game more to his advantage but his boxing skills are getting so crisp its hard to tell him to stop doing what he loves.

Lol, fucking upsets.

Good post though, thanks Killer.

09-30-2007, 08:03 PM
I laughed pretty hard at the part about Jason Thacker. There really was no reason to have him on the show.