UFC champions Chris Weidman and Johny Hendricks are among the most talented fighters in MMA today. They’ve been mentioned as a potential superfight in the UFC, but fans should start pumping the brakes on that discussion.

Recently, Weidman was asked about facing Hendricks. The UFC middleweight champ. Weidman quickly shot down the idea, but he did suggest the possibility of a superfight with UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones. Regardless of Weidman’s plans, there’s a lot more work to do before the word “superfight” enters into his vocabulary. The same goes for Hendricks.

Weidman has successfully defended his UFC middleweight title on two occasions, but there are still quite a few fans that will never recognize his second—or even his first—victory over Anderson Silva. He also nearly suffered defeat on a couple of occasions against Lyoto Machida at UFC 175. Weidman went into the fight with a slew of injuries, so perhaps that’s the reason for the sluggish performance. However, the champ still prevailed against one of the best fighters in the division.

As impressive as Weidman has looked thus far in his MMA career, he doesn’t have the invincible aura that his predecessor, Silva, enjoyed. Silva had already dispatched Rich Franklin (twice), Nate Marquardt and Dan Henderson when the superfight discussion heated up. He ran through several lesser challengers after that, including Thales Leites and Patrick Cote, and then put together another string of impressive wins against the likes of Chael Sonnen (twice), Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami. Silva had convincingly cleaned out the division before Weidman showed up. He was even taking and winning fights at light heavyweight against James Irvin, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar, so a superfight against Jones at light heavyweight, or a superfight versus Georges St-Pierre, who had similarly cleaned out the welterweight division during a lengthy reign, made sense. Weidman has defeated just two challengers and has yet to face many of the UFC’s middleweight contenders either while defending the title or making his climb up the ladder to challenge Silva for the belt.

Weidman has his flaws, too, and there’s a bevy of title challengers looking to exploit them. Next up will be the aforementioned Belfort, who, despite the TRT controversy, has looked extremely impressive in the cage en route to securing his title shot. After Belfort, there are guys like Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Luke Rockhold, Tim Kennedy and Gegard Mousasi lining up for their opportunities. Each man presents an unique challenge for the champion, and all can be marketable fights for Weidman. That makes for plenty of fights to keep Weidman busy for the next few years. If Weidman still stands as the champion after all of those fights, he will have built up a reputation similar to UFC champions like Silva and St-Pierre. That’s when the superfight talk will make the most sense.

One thing that doesn’t make sense is the talk of Hendricks facing anyone outside the welterweight division. After losing a close decision to St-Pierre, Hendricks won the vacant UFC welterweight title by defeating Robbie Lawler in what could easily win “Fight of the Year” honors. Following the fight, Hendricks had surgery on his biceps. He will be out of action until December or January.

That means we will likely have to wait until 2015 for Hendricks to make a defense of his title, and it will be his first defense. Regardless of whether it’s a rematch against Lawler or a fight against Matt Brown, it stands as just one of many fights that Hendricks could have lined up. When Carlos Condit comes back from his injury (and likely picks up a win), the two could be paired up again. Many even believe Condit pulled out the victory over Hendricks when the two met at UFC 158. There’s also Rory MacDonald, who looked extremely impressive in turning Tyron Woodley into a human punching bag in his last Octagon outing. Hector Lombard could be in line for a title shot if he continues to look as impressive as he has recently, and Gunnar Nelson has suddenly become everyone’s favorite dark horse contender. Like Weidman, there are plenty of fighters lined up for Hendricks to defend his title against, and Hendricks is just as far from cleaning out the welterweight division as Weidman is from asserting his dominance over the middleweight ranks.

Of course, as fans, we’d like to see Weidman and Hendricks square off. We’d like to see Weidman face Jones. We’re always hungry to see the best face off with the best. That’s what the basis of mixed martial arts was built upon, to see who the best fighter is. However, unless Weidman or Hendricks plans on moving up permanently, talk of any such fight is a bit premature, and it’s probably not the best move for the fighters either. Both men have plenty of unfinished business in their respective divisions. Those are the fights we should be talking about.

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.