This has been a crazy past couple of months for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. UFC President, Dana White, had to cancel UFC 151 after Dan Henderson pulled out with a torn MCL.
This was the first time the UFC has ever axed an event since Dana White and the Fertitta brothers purchased the UFC in 2001.
Featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, had to pull out of the UFC 153 main event because of a foot injury. This was announced just hours after Rampage Jackson suffered an injury that forced him off the same card.
Just like that, the UFC lost its main event and co-main event in a matter of minutes.
Dana White is hoping and praying that no other injuries occur for the rest of 2012. There are some very intriguing fights scheduled to close out the year, just as long as everyone stays healthy.
UFC 152 is over and done with.
Jon Jones showed why he is one of the best mixed martial artists in the world. He stayed calm when Vitor Belfort nearly broke his arm in the first round, and dominated the fight after he was nearly submitted.
Demetrius Johnson became the first UFC Flyweight Champion in UFC history.
Michael Bisping backed up all his talk and is inching closer to a title shot after winning a unanimous decision against Brian Stann.
Cub Swanson blasted Charles Oliveira with a one-punch KO that put him closer to title contention in the featherweight division.
With nine more UFC events this year, lets take a look at five fights to mark on your calender.
5. MARTIN KAMPMANN (20-5, 11-4 UFC) vs. JOHNY HENDRICKS (13-1, 8-1 UFC)
WHEN: UFC 154, November 17th
Before Georges St. Pierre makes his Octagon return, Martin Kampmann and Johny Hendricks lock horns in the co-main event. This is a huge fight in the welterweight division. The winner will get the next shot at the title.
Martin Kampmann has been on a tear. He has reeled off three straight wins against Rick Story, Thiago Alves, and Jake Ellenberger. He is one of the most underrated fighters in MMA. He always gets overlooked even though Matt Hughes, Josh Koscheck, and Jon Fitch are the only welterweights to have more wins inside the Octagon.
Kampmann is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the UFC. His eight career knockouts and seven career submissions show his versatility. He is the only guy to beat Carlos Condit inside the Octagon, and he is one win away from finally getting his crack at the title.
Johny Hendricks is one tough dude. His punching power is off the charts. He is also one of the best wrestlers in MMA. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy was a two-time NCAA Division-1 champion and finished 56-1 his senior year.
Since his only career loss in December 2010 against Rick Story, he has reeled off four straight wins. He knocked off T.J. Waldburger, Mike Pierce, Jon Fitch, and Josh Koscheck.
Jon Fitch had never been finished in his UFC career, until he ran into Hendricks. Fitch was out cold in :12 seconds after one punch from Hendricks.
Hendricks is one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC. He can knock out anybody (and I am not just talking about welterweights.) His strong wrestling game allows him to keep the fight where he wants. If he wants to keep it standing his takedown defense is among the best in the division.
This is going to be one of the best fights of 2012. Both of these guys have combined to win seven fights in a row against some of the best welterweights in the world. The winner of this fight will be next in line for the GSP vs. Condit winner. Expect a back and forth stand up fight, and the fans at the Bell Centre in Montreal will be standing the entire time.
4. STEPHAN BONNAR (15-7, 8-6 UFC) vs. ANDERSON SILVA (32-4, 15-0 UFC)
WHEN: UFC 153, October 13th
Before you are thinking why in the hell would this be on the top five list, just remember we might not get to watch the best pound-for-pound fighter that much longer. Anderson Silva is 37 and doesn't have much more to prove. If I had to guess I would say he has three or four more fights in him, if we are lucky. Anderson Silva is the Michael Jordan of mixed martial arts.
I am glad for Stephan Bonnar. He was done, he had nothing else to prove. He wanted a big fight and it wasn't coming. He wanted Rampage, Glover Teixeira got him. He wanted to coach "The Ultimate Fighter" but that went to Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson instead.
Then, all of the sudden Jose Aldo got into an accident on his motorcycle and Bonnar got the call.
Now he gets to fight the best mixed martial artists we have ever seen. A lot of people forget Bonnar is currently riding a three-fight win streak. However, those wins came against Kyle Kingsbury, Igor Pokrajac, and Krzysztof Soszynski.
None of those guys are close to the same level as Anderson Silva.
If Bonnar can make it to the score cards he will be a happy man. I bet he would love to rub it in Forrest Griffin's face that he made it past round one, something Griffin couldn't do against Silva. Bonnar has lost twice due to stoppage in his MMA career, but both times were because of cuts and not because of a knockout or submission. The dude has a chin made out of granite.
We don't really need to spend much time on Anderson Silva, because everyone already knows how great he is. 15-0 record in the UFC. Most consecutive wins in UFC history. Most title defenses (10) in UFC history. He has collected 12 post-fight bonus awards, which no one else can claim. The guy is a legend and he will look to capture his 17th straight win.
This will be Silva's third fight at light heavyweight. Just ask Forrest Griffin and James Irvin how those two contests went. Both of them were seeing stars before the first round ended.
Call me crazy, but I really think Bonnar has a better chance than people are giving him. I don't think he is going to beat Silva, but I think this fight is going the distance. They call Stephan Bonnar "The American Psycho" for a reason.
You don't want to miss this fight. Have you ever seen a boring Stephan Bonnar fight?
I didn't think so.
No one knows how many more times we will see Silva inside the Octagon, so cherish every chance you get to see the greatest mixed martial artists to ever live.
3. CAIN VELASQUEZ (10-1, 8-1 UFC) vs. JUNIOR DOS SANTOS (15-1, 9-0 UFC)
WHEN: UFC 155, December 29th
This will be the second time these two meet in the middle of the Octagon. The first time Junior dos Santos knocked out Cain Velasquez in 64-seconds to take the UFC heavyweight belt.
Dos Santos has proven to be one of the best mixed martial artists in the world. He keeps jumping up the charts as one of the pound-for-pound best. His nine consecutive victories inside the Octagon have him tied with GSP for third most ever. Only Royce Gracie and Anderson Silva have reeled off more consecutive wins inside the Octagon.
His boxing is off the charts. There is no heavyweight that is even close to him in this department. Six of his nine fights in the UFC have ended via knockout, and it really is seven because Mirko Cro-Cop tapped from strikes. His hand speed and punching power make him one of the most dangerous fighters in MMA.
He has an excellent ground game, but just hasn't had to show it yet. His takedown defense is among the best in the heavyweight division. This is going to be a crucial factor in the fight because Velasquez is arguably the best wrestler in the heavyweight division.
Cain Velasquez is a hungry fighter. He wants to erase the only defeat on his resume. He wants the belt back. He showed how ready he was when he dismantled Antonio "Big Foot" Silva to get the rematch he wants.
Of course, Silva is no Junior dos Santos.
Velasquez never got the opportunity to show his strong wrestling game in the first fight. It will be crucial for him to be aggressive and not stay on the outside. That is dos Santos bread and butter.
Expect Velasquez to go for takedown after takedown against the current champ. He has some of the best ground and pound in the heavyweight division and if he can get this fight to the ground his chances skyrocket.
The first time around Velasquez was battling a shoulder and knee injury. He is 100% this time around. Junior dos Santos has shown tremendous takedown defense and this will be the biggest factor in the fight. If the fight stays on the feet, the champ will have a great chance to win his 10th consecutive fight inside the Octagon. If Velasquez can get this fight to the ground, he will have a golden opportunity to get his belt back.
2. NATE DIAZ (16-7, 11-5 UFC) vs. BEN HENDERSON (17-2, 5-0 UFC)
WHEN: UFC on FOX 5, December 8th
This fight is tailor made to be the fight of the year. Both of these guys always bring it and never have a boring fight.
Ben Henderson barely got by Frankie Edgar in the rematch. A lot of people, including myself, thought Edgar won the rematch. However, it doesn't matter because the three judges that scored the fight are the only ones that matter.
It was a very close fight, and when that is the case, the champ usually pulls it out.
Henderson has looked phenomenal since coming over to the UFC. He has beaten Mark Bocek, Jim Miller, Clay Guida, and Edgar (2X).
He is a HUGE lightweight. Henderson's athleticism is among the best in MMA. On top of that, he is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the world. He has a better than average stand-up, excellent wrestling, really good ground game, and is comfortable wherever the fight ends up. The guy does it all.
Nate Diaz made the best decision possible when he dropped down to lightweight. Since moving back down to 155-pounds he has reeled off three straight. He went through Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone, and Jim Miller in ease.
The best thing Diaz does, like his brother, is coming forward always staying aggressive. He makes it tough for fighters to get comfortable. On top of his aggressive striking game, his ground game is among the best in the lightweight division. He has 11 career submission victories to his resume.
I can't wait for this fight! This is going to be a war. I have never seen a boring Ben Henderson fight and have never seen a boring Nate Diaz fight. Not only does this fight have a great chance to win "Fight of the Night" honors on a stacked card, but has a golden opportunity to steal "Fight of the Year" also.
1. CARLOS CONDIT (28-5, 5-1 UFC) vs. GEORGES ST. PIERRE (22-2, 16-2 UFC)
WHEN: UFC 154, November 17th
The main reason why this fight steals the top spot is because Georges St. Pierre finally makes his Octagon return. He hasn't fought since April 30, 2011, when he successfully defended his welterweight title for the sixth consecutive time against Jake Shields.
GSP is coming off a torn ACL, so there are a lot of question marks on his return. Even if he is 100% healthy, Octagon rust could be a factor. However, GSP has always been known for being fully prepared for every fight, both mentally and physically.
Carlos Condit is one of the best mixed martial artists in the world. His 13 career knockouts and 13 career submissions show how well-rounded he is.
Since his split decision loss to Martin Kampmann in his UFC debut, he has reeled off five straight wins against some of the best welterweights in the world. He beat Jake Ellenberger, Rory MacDonald, Dan Hardy, Don Hyun Kim, and Nick Diaz to earn the next shot at GSP.
This is an interesting fight because both of these guys know each other very well. They both train at Greg Jackson's camp. Both say they haven't sparred together that much, but they know each others strengths and weaknesses better than anyone.
There are so many question marks entering this fight. Luckily, they will be answered in less than two months. GSP will look to win his 10th straight fight inside the Octagon, which has only been done twice. Carlos Condit is one of the toughest fighters in the UFC and this fight makes for one helluva fight.