Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
In each division in the UFC, there is a pecking order. Sometimes it's a bit muddled and unclear, but overall, it's easy to see where each fighters fits in his respective weight class.
At UFC on Versus 5: "Hardy vs. Lytle" tonight (Aug. 14, 2011) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, there are two welterweights who will go to war that are toiling away in obscurity. Both Amir Sadollah and Duane Ludwig are just trying to find their place at 170-pounds.
Sadollah ran through the Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season seven against tough enough competition that his hype was considerable, the most for a TUF winner in years. However, a series of unfortunate events led to his first debut getting pushed back to over a year from the date he earned the glass trophy.
And then he lost, quickly, to the then unheralded Johny Hendricks. He recovered with solid wins over Phil Baroni and Brad Blackburn but couldn't withstand the grappling prowess of Dong Hyun Kim and went back to square one.
Now he's back to where he was before that bout, having won his last two fights, both impressively, over less than stellar competition. And while Ludwig is no world-beater, he's a fighter Sadollah will absolutely have to defeat to gain any sort of foothold among the middle tier of the welterweight division.
Ludwig is a curious case simply for the fact that he's 33-years-old, critically acclaimed for his superior stand-up skills and widely regarded as a tough gamer but he's never quite stood on solid ground in his career.
Revisionist history may be maddening but even a cursory glance at his record shows how much he struggles when he faces a bump in competition.
Consider: the biggest wins in his career came against Jens Pulver and Genki Sudo back-to-back in 2003. Contrast that to his nine losses since then against opponents like B.J. Penn, Tyson Griffin, Paul Daley, Takanori Gomi and Jim Miller.
Of course, it's never too late to turn it around and prove he's more than just a curtain-jerker. And what better place to do it than Milwaukee, what better time on tonight at UFC on Versus 5.
Defeating Sadollah will not redeem him of his high profile losses, but it will go a long way in showing he's more contender than attraction.
The same goes for Amir. It's time to make a move and make it soon.