Matt Hamill is coming off a strong performance at the TUF 11 finale where he punished Keith Jardine for the final two rounds. There is no question that Matt Hamill (a Dublin, Ohio native) possess two things: superior wrestling and a big heart! Hamill is a three time Division III collegiate National Champion wrestler. Hamill has also proven his heart and passion for the sport of mixed martial arts by battling through his long list of injuries sustained while in the octagon. He had to pull out of TUF 2 due to injury. In 2007, Hamill had knee surgery and then again just before UFC 102 in 2009, Hamill pulled out of his bout with Brandon Vera due to a knee injury that would require surgery. In his first bout back against Jon "Bones" Jones, Hamill suffered a dislocated shoulder in a bout in which he would "win" due to a DQ. That brings us to the TUF 11 finale. Although Hamill scored the decision victory, if you read his medical record it may not be as clear. Hamill went into the bout with a staff infection, then during the fight he suffered blurred vision (due to an unintentional finger gouge), a broken hand, and a noticeable limp (from the vicious leg kicks of Jardine). Through all of this, Hamill has compiled an impressive 8-2 record within the UFC with significant victories over Jardine, Mark Munoz and Jon "Bones" Jones.
Matt Hamill's only two blemishes are from losses to Michael Bisping and Rich Franklin. However, with four straight victories in the UFC's light heavyweight division, Hamill is now calling for top 10 competition. So what are his options? Well just who are the UFC's top ten light heavyweights? Well in no particular order there is: Shogun, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Lyoto Machida, Rampage Jackson, Thiago Silva, Forrest Griffin, Lil Nog, Couture / Liddel (if you want to count either of them) and Jon Jones. If Matt Hamill was to fight any of those top ten opponents I would say the re-match with Jon Jones or Thiago Silva would make the most sense. The other fighters are simply out of his league. However, it probably makes more sense for Hamill to face the likes of the best of the second tiers: Brandon Vera, Steve Cantwell, Ryan Bader or maybe even rising star and wrestling prodigy, Phil Davis.
Matt Hamill is a great mixed martial artist who has shown that his chin is as solid as a rock and his heart is bigger than most of his peers, but his wrestling skills alone wouldn't be enough for him to compete against the likes of the top 7. If Hamill can stay healthy and beat one of the top second tiers, then I say make the re-match with Jon Jones or give him a shot at Thiago Silva.
What do you think, is Hamill ready right now for Top 10 competition? Who would you like to see him fight next?
Originally posted on the FightLaunch.com MMA Blog.