The UFC middleweight division has been kind of strange for a long time. Champion Anderson Silva has long been accused of facing less-than-stellar competition at times, simply due to the fact that he's picked off everyone ever put in front of him. He'll rematch Chael Sonnen at UFC 148 on July 7th but in the meantime, the rest of the pack is jockeying for position to face the winner of that bout. One of those men is occasional Silva training partner Mark Munoz, who faces Chris Weidman in the five-round main event of UFC on Fuel 4.
In an interview with All Elbows he had a few things to say about his opponent on July 11th, but his comments about another middleweight were a lot more interesting. That person would be former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard, who meets Brian Stann at UFC on Fox 4 on August 4th and might earn a title shot with a victory:
Hector Lombard? Shoot, I got respect for that guy. He's a good fighter and he's already mixing up the water, I mean, he's already doing that. But at the same time, I've been in this organization for over two years (actually over three, just sayin) and I've been earning my stripes. He needs to do the same. So this fight against Brian Stann, should he win it, I don't think he deserves a title shot. I don't. Just being honest, just being real. For me, I've gone to the brink of where I was fighting for a title shot when I fought Yushin (Okami). I lost that fight, but now I'm on a four-fight winning streak, so now I feel like I deserve that fight should I win against Chris Weidman.
I understand why the UFC would try to throw Lombard in there ASAP against the champ, mostly because he's new blood and there's some intrigue factor there. But it's pretty obvious that Munoz has a point here. Wins over Maia, Leben and Weidman should probably be enough to earn him a title shot in a shallowish division. If it does indeed play out like that, it'll be interesting to see which way Dana White leans. Established vet that's tasted defeat in the big leagues, or the new (but relatively untested) hotness. Which way would you lean if you had to choose?