On November 2, 2019, Jorge Masvidal captured the BMF title with a TKO win over Nate Diaz. The “title” was a symbolic one, spoken into existence by Diaz, it was to be a one-off and not intended to be defended. It was a marketing ploy — a hugely successful marketing ploy — to get a title in the mix for the main event of the UFC 244 pay-per-view card.
Masvidal has not won a fight since defeating Diaz. He fell short in back-to-back title fights to Kamaru Usman before dropping a decision to Colby Covington at UFC 272. With that, it’s difficult to see the Jorge Masvidal of 2022 as the BMF titleholder.
I know Usman, who has also defeated Gilbert Burns and Covington since his first win over Masvidal, is the lineal BMF champ, but for this discussion, current UFC champions are excluded. Why? Because to remove champions from the discussion makes the conversation more interesting.
With that, here’s a look at four fighters who could be considered the current UFC BMF.
The case for Bobby Green:
Bobby Green has had a similar career trajectory to Jorge Masvidal. He’s been toiling away in the sport since 2008 with mixed results. Green captured the King of the Cage lightweight title in 2011 before moving to Strikeforce later that year. Green joined the UFC in 2013 and opened his run with the promotion with a 4-0 record. He then went 4-7-1 between November 2014 and August 2021.
For most of his run with the UFC Green was looked at as a solid and entertaining fighter. He was someone who would give anyone in the division a tough fight, but he was a competitor who toiled outside the top-15.
That view of Green changed in his past three fights. After losses to Thiago Moises and Rafael Fiziev, Green seemed more focused and less reliant on in-cage trash talk. He removed just enough of his in cage showboating and focused more on his striking. With that change in approach, he knocked out Al Iaquinta and then defeated Nasrat Haqparast before stepping up on short notice to face the rising Islam Makhachev.
Bobby “King” Green es el hombre‼️ #UFC268
Con devastador boxeo finaliza a Iaquinta en round 1️⃣ pic.twitter.com/Nm2JNrtn4N
— UFC Español (@UFCEspanol) November 7, 2021
Sure, Makhachev ran over Green, but the 35-year-old picked up points when he raised his hand to fight an opponent who has been picked as a future champion in the 155-pound division. Green’s willingness to take the fight is one reason he deserves consideration for BMF accolades. Another reason is that Green, in his post-fight interview with Megan Olivi, Green had a positive outlook and said he figured out what Makhachev does that makes him so successful.
Green has the right kind of mix of heart, skills, entertainment and crazy to put him in the BMF mix.
The case for Max Holloway:
If you want to know why former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway is on this list, watch the final two minutes of his fight against Calvin Kattar. During the action, Holloway, looking to stake his claim as the best boxer in the UFC, shouts at the UFC commentators about his boxing prowess while evading the attempted punches of his opponent. It was a remarkable moment. Also remarkable, the UFC records Holloway set in that fight:
Striking differential: +312
Significant strikes landed: +445
Significant strikes attempted: 744
Distance strikes landed: 439
Significant head strikes landed: 274
Significant body strikes landed: 117
Total strikes landed: 447
Total strikes attempted: 746
Oh, and let’s not forget that Holloway is also No. 2 in the record books in striking differential (+180), significant strikes landed (290), distance strikes landed (281) and significant head strikes landed (244) thanks to his efforts against Brian Ortega.
Holloway epitomizes the just scrap attitude that fans love, that he is also incredibly talented just adds to his BMF aura.
The case for Tai Tuivasa:
By the time Tai Tuivasa ends his UFC career, there’s a good chance he will hold the record for most knockouts in UFC history. The 28-year-old heavyweight scored his seventh UFC knockout win in February when he toppled the current record holder, Derrick Lewis, in the co-main event of UFC 271. The knockout was Tuivasa’s fifth consecutive KO win with the promotion dating back to October 2020. The UFC has awarded Tuivasa “Performance of the Night” bonuses in his past three outings.
After stopping Lewis, Tuivasa told UFC commentator Daniel Cormier, “I’m always down to get down, baby.” If that’s not on a Tai Tuivasa branded tee shirt, someone is not doing their job.
If you want to know how much of a BMF contender Tuivasa is, he actually had Lewis’ hometown Houston crowd cheering him after his stoppage win.
Bam Bam slept Derrick Lewis #UFC271
STREAM #UFC271 NOW ➡️ https://t.co/8nSLNkbqlT pic.twitter.com/8Q2uxpX9BU
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) February 13, 2022
Tuivasa might not win every fight, but he is one of those fighters who is always looking to finish his opponent in devastating fashion. Currently the No. 3 ranked fighter in the heavyweight division, the soon to be 29-year-old looks like he is going to be a fan — and UFC — favorite for quite a while.
The case for Dustin Poirier:
For the first five years — or so — of his UFC career, Dustin Poirier was a good, bordering on great fighter. He toyed with elite level status, but could never take that last step to greatness. And then, in February 2017, Poirier began to put things together.
Following a September 2016 knockout loss to Michael Johnson, Poirier bested Jim Miller, Anthony Pettis, Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez and Max Holloway. With the win over Holloway, who added to his own BMF credentials by moving up to lightweight, Poirier captured the interim UFC 155-pound title. Khabib Nurmagomedov dominated Poirier in the title unification bout, but the undaunted Poirier went out and defeated Dan Hooker after that loss. He followed that with back-to-back TKO wins over Conor McGregor.
[ #UFC257 | #InAbuDhabi | @VisitAbuDhabi ] pic.twitter.com/V7sOcRy1Uh
— UFC (@ufc) January 24, 2021
In December 2021, Poirier earned another shot at the lightweight crown. He again fell short, losing to Charles Oliveira.
Poirier’s losses in title fights hurt his BMF credentials, but the way he has remained undeterred in his pursuit of improvement and success — and yes, greatness — might outweigh the fact that he has never reached the pinnacle of what many consider ultimate UFC success.
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