Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What is Next for the UFC on Fox 5 Fighters?

After a busy weekend of fights, all of the fighters from the UFC on Fox 5 fight card now switch into fight finding mode.  The champion stayed champ and two youngsters rolled over two of mma's legendary fighters. The landscape of a division can change after any given fight card.  So what should be expected next from the fighters who left it all in the octagon Saturday night?

Matt Brown/Mike Swick:
Both of these guys are far away from title contention, however they are some of the UFC's most exciting fighters who bring it every time they step into the octagon.  It really does not matter who they fight next, it will be an exciting match with fireworks.

Rory MacDonald/BJ Penn:
Rory is one of the top 10, debatable top 5, welterweights in the UFC.  There are two things Rory made VERY clear about his future plans:
  1. He will not fight GSP
  2. He wants revenge
He has said hundreds of time he likes training in Montreal and does not want to ruin that by challenging GSP.  They will remain friends and partners and will NOT fight yet, to most fans dismay.  He did however call out Carlos Condit after his win on Saturday.  His only loss came to Condit via a very sketchy referee stoppage with 7 seconds left in the fight.  He dominated the first two rounds before Condit turned the tides in the 3rd.  While I believe the stoppage was unwarranted and the fight should have been a draw due to Condit scoring a 10-8 in the 3rd round, it will go in the record books as a loss.  He wants to get his revenge in a rematch, and Condit is looking to bounce back from his UFC 154 loss to GSP and get a win.  This fight is intriguing to the fans and just makes sense.  Make it happen UFC!

Meanwhile, BJ Penn is in a sticky situation.  Should he retire? Drop to lightweight? Maybe even try featherweight? One thing is for sure, the future hall of famer is outmatched at 170.  He is too small.  At lightweight nobody could take him down, and he can be a much better boxer against people whose arms are not twice as long as his.  Either get serious about training and drop a weight class or two, or call it quits BJ.  It is painful to watch such a legend of the sport get clowned by welterweights like Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald.

Alexander Gustafsson/Shogun Rua:
Alexander Gustafsson dominated the legendary Shogun and secured a title shot.  However, in the post fight interview he said he did not enjoy waiting long between fights.  He thought it hurt him when he fought Thiago Silva and did not want to do so again.  That means while he waits for Jones to heal up and fight Sonnen he wants another match.  Phil Davis just lost his UFC 155 opponent Forrest Griffin to a MCL tear.  This is the perfect opportunity for Gustafsson to fight a top 10 guy, stay busy while waiting for Jones, and redeem his only career loss.  Like Rory versus Condit, this is a fight that makes sense.  They have both gotten better since they met and it is a chance for Gustafsson to prove he deserves his title shot.  Make this fight happen too!

As for Shogun, he is a legend that only has a 5-5 record inside the octagon.  He is on the outside looking in as far as his standing in the light heavyweight division is concerned.  Most of the other top 205lb fighters have fights scheduled, so he might have to wait a while to find the right opponent.  He still brings it when he fights and should not retire just yet.  Hopefully we will see him again soon to put on a great show for the fans.

Benson Henderson/Nate Diaz:
Henderson dominated Diaz just as I thought he would.  He has become increasingly scarier with each victory, however he still has not finished any of his UFC opponents.  He has two potential matchups that I find very intriguing.  He could wait for the end of Strikeforce, and take on the champion Gilbert Melendez.  El Nino has mowed down all of his opponents and is even in the pound for pound discussion despite fighting in Strikeforce rather than the UFC.  If he comes over, not many would object to him getting an immediate title shot.  This is a fight many fans would pay to see, myself included.  His other option is to take on the winner of the UFC on Fox 6 winner in Chicago.  Anthony Pettis is fighting Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone in the co-main event and that is a fight with significant title implications.  Pettis is the last person to best Henderson in the last ever WEC fight.  Henderson could prove that "shotime kick" was a fluke and that he is truly the best fighter at 155 if this matchup happens.  However if the Cowboy defeats Pettis, then we have a third fight between those fighters.  Cerrone and Henderson had a 5 round war the first time they met up in the WEC for the interim lightweight title, in which Henderson squeaked away a decision as he loves to do.  They met again and Henderson caught Cerrone in a guillotine choke that ended the fight in the first round. (This was the last fight Henderson won that was not a decision.)  This 3rd fight between Henderson and Cerrone would be an interesting one, since they both have improved drastically since their WEC days.  Any of these three fights would be possibilities for Benson Henderson's next title defense.

As for Nate Diaz, he should continue to get matchups favorable to him since Dana White seems to love the Diaz brothers.  Anyone susceptible to submissions will probably be Nate's next opponent.  He will win and Dana will put him right back in the mix for a title shot.  I personally would love to see Nate try welterweight again, and get demolished by fighters bigger than him.  He has a bunch of possibilities for his next fight so this is too hard to pick a fight or two for him.

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