James Te Huna has had a pretty good go at the UFC so far only three fights into his career with the promotion. Outside of a loss to Alexander Gustafsson in his second UFC fight, Te Huna has been solid his last couple times out. Once the knockout specialist gets his hands on you, there isn’t much you can do to stop the power of Te Huna.

The New Zealand born, Australian bred fighter has what it takes to be a dark horse in the light heavyweight division.

Jon Jones is clearing out the division at a fast rate, and with Te Huna rising to the top like he is now, there is little dispute that he could one day reach the pinnacle of his division.

The light heavyweight division is stacked though. It makes his rise tougher and, if he completes the ascent, more well-earned.

There are two issues that work against Te Huna, though. One being his age. At 30 years old, he is either in the prime of his career or just entering it.  Te Huna turns 31 in September, just two months after his upcoming fight with Joey Beltran. If he is to make his rise, he needs to continue to win and cannot afford any setbacks. His fight with Beltran will prove a big test for the fighter and it will be a good litmus test to see where exactly in the light heavyweight division he stands.

Beltran has the chin to test him to see whether or not his knockout power is for real. So far, though, all three of Te Huna’s wins have come by TKO or KO.

The other issue is that his ground game needs to evolve in a division where the top guys have very good grappling skills.  All of Te Huna’s losses come by submission, which highlights his one weakness. In order to be a dark horse candidate, Te Huna needs to develop his ground game. He won’t get to the top purely on his knockout power. Maybe if this was 2004, he could do that. In this day and age, however, you have to be a well-rounded fighter to become a top dog in your division.

For now, firmly planted in the middle of the division, Te Huna can get by on his knockout power, but he must evolve his grappling and fight Father Time to get to the top.

It all starts with Beltran at UFC on Fuel TV 4. It’s a big main card fight on a televised event that will help push him into the spotlight and help him become more known by the casual MMA fan.

It will be a difficult road to the top with potential fight against the likes of Lyoto Machida, Mauricio Rua, Dan Henderson and of course, a possible rematch with Gustafsson. It will be tough, but I think Te Huna definitely has the skills and ability to do it.

Photo: James Te Huna (L) en route to scoring a knockout of Ricardo Romero (James Law/Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.