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Monday, October 3, 2011
Trend of champ dominance continues

By Josh Gross
ESPN.com

Has the UFC finally ushered in an era of dominant champions?

That's the question on my mind after Dominick Cruz took a lopsided decision for his fourth bantamweight title defense a week after UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones easily dispatched Quinton Jackson.

In a sport that fosters parity, has it finally found some stability? I think so.

Anderson Silva has owned middleweight since 2006. With exception of his slip up against Matt Serra, Georges St. Pierre has done the same at welterweight. Featherweight and bantamweight are new to the mix, but they both feature champions poised to make long runs. Especially Cruz.

If Jose Aldo retains his 145-pound title against Kenny Florian next weekend, you'd have to say the same about him. Jones appears unbeatable, which, if true, means for the first time since Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva ruled, the light heavyweight division won't deliver a carousel of titleholders.

So that leaves heavyweight and lightweight.

Cain Velasquez has everything you'd envision in a heavyweight who could leave a long-term impression. The division is relatively light on talent, and a win over Junior dos Santos in November leaves few real challengers outside of Alistair Overeem, should he defeat Brock Lesnar in December.

Lightweight, I'll concede, is something different altogether. The 155- pound class has an obnoxiously deep talent pool, and any kind of consistency at the top would run against the odds.

So is the existence of dominant fighters a net positive for the UFC and MMA?

The audience's attention span has to be considered here -- dwelling isn't a strong suit. But I'm having a hard time coming up with a downside.

As the stakes have increased, so has the gap between the best of the best and everyone else.

Josh Gross covers MMA for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at JoshGrossESPN.