What’s Next for the Main Card Fighters of UFC 152
What’s next for the main card fighters of UFC 152?
Saturday night’s card was entertaining and gave fans a little bit of everything. There were three knockouts and three submissions in 12 total bouts. Even a couple of the fights that went to decision were full of intrigue and very suspense. I don’t think anyone will forget the brawl between Evan Dunham and TJ Grant anytime soon! Those two took home the fight of the night bonus and it was well deserved.
Let’s take a look at what the winners and losers of the five main card bouts have to look forward to. It’ll be interesting to see what the UFC does with these 10 fighters over the next few weeks.
Jon Jones- Depending on how injured his arm really is I’m pretty sure the next time we see Jones he will be standing opposite of Dan Henderson. Even though UFC President Dana White has said that Henderson and Lyoto Machida are going to face one another I believe Jones wants to fight Hendo and get a chance to defeat his sixth consecutive former champion. If his injury keeps him sidelined for awhile then we could very well see him face the winner of the proposed Henderson-Machida match-up.
Vitor Belfort- I don’t see Belfort losing any traction in the UFC middleweight division once he is ready to return to action. I think he’ll take some time off to heal some nagging injuries, but when he does return he should face the winner of the Alan Belcher-Yushin Okami rematch scheduled for UFC 155 in December. He was supposed to fight Belcher in Rio before stepping up to fight Jones and the UFC will give him a high profile bout when he decides he wants to return. If he is to fight before then maybe he takes on the winner of Rich Franklin-Cung Le which will take place in November when the UFC goes to China for the first time.
Demetrious Johnson- Right now the UFC Flyweight division is kind of shallow so it’s not like there is one fighter who is an obvious choice to face Johnson in his first defense. One fighter who has a recognizable name is The Ultimate Fighter season 14 winner John Dodson who made his return to the flyweight division a successful one in May where he defeated Tim Elliott. He is scheduled to face Jussier Formiga at UFC on FX 5 next month. Formiga is making his UFC debut and is known as Jussier da Silva, he was the consensus number one ranked flyweight until losing to Ian McCall at Tachi Palace Fights 8. He has won five straight and it looks as though the winner will face Johnson early next year. Johnson will be a guest on BJPenn.Com Radio this Sunday at 8pm eastern.
Joseph Benavidez- The disappointment showed on Benavidez’s face when Johnson was announced as the winner. He has nothing to be ashamed of as he fought his ass off and was part of an incredible fight. He was doing well and then sometime in the second round Benavidez seemed to change his game plan. Instead of being patient he started winging wild punches looking for the knockout, that’s not his style. The obvious fight for him next is against McCall, both men are coming off of loses to Johnson and could get back in title contention with a win. Right now they are the two biggest names in the division and until the UFC brings in more talent will be at the top for a long time.
Michael Bisping- It seems as though the UFC really wants to push Bisping into a bout against middleweight champion Anderson Silva. The timing works as Silva is set to face Stephan Bonnar in a light heavyweight match-up at UFC 153 in a few weeks. The two could meet on their Super Bowl card in February with the winner facing off against the Tim Boetsch-Chris Weidman winner. Those two will meet at UFC 155 in December. Bisping is 1-1 in his last two fights, but a fight with Silva makes sense from a financial standpoint. A case could be made that he beat Chael Sonnen in February and therefore should have been the one to face Silva at UFC 148. I say let Silva have him it’ll sell a ton of pay-per-views!
Brian Stann- Once again Stann’s glaring weakness (wrestling) was exposed. He has a great story and is probably the most respected fighter in the UFC, but anytime he faces someone with a decent ground game he’s going to get taken down. He needs to face another fighter who will stand and bang with him. Why not Wanderlei Silva? He’s coming off a loss to Rich Franklin at UFC 147 and will trade with Stann all night long. Silva is also highly respected and the two would make for a great co-main event or main event for an FX card.
Matt Hamill- It is my belief that Hamill should go back into retirement. He came back, he won and hopefully that will help erase the memory of his last two losses. He looked tired very early on and I just don’t see a spot for him in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. If he is intent on coming back then let him face Vinny Magalhaes who was also victorious on Saturday night. Hamill doesn’t have great striking and it would be fun to watch him take Magalhaes down and try to fight out of all the submissions Vinny would attempt.
Roger Hollett- Goodbye Roger. Maybe you had Octagon jitters, but you lost to a guy who hadn’t fought in over a year. I didn’t see anything from Hollett that shows he belongs in the UFC. I’m trying to be nice here, but if the UFC wants to give him another shot set him up with Igor Pokrajac who lost to Magalhaes on Saturday night. They both like to stand and trade. The winner gets another go-around while the loser gets a pink slip.
Cub Swanson- This man is really on a roll! He has won three straight, all by knockout and has won the knockout of the night bonus two fights in a row. It seems this Greg Jackson trained featherweight is finally staying healthy and putting it all together. He should face a top five featherweight and there is no one better for him to fight than Ricardo Lamas. They fought last year on the first Fox Card with Lamas winning by second round submission. Lamas is coming off a huge win against Hatsu Hioki and has won three in a row himself. If not Lamas then maybe he faces Dennis Bermudez who has won his last two bouts.
Charles Oliveira- There are reports surfacing that he injured his knee while warming up and had to be helped up the stairs leading into the Octagon. If that’s the case I truly feel bad for him. He is a very talented fighter with a bright future. He is just 22-years-old (turns 23 on October 17) and will be a player in the UFC’s featherweight division for many years. I say match him up with Cole Miller they are both long and lanky with good submissions. Miller has lost his last two and hasn’t had any success since returning to the featherweight division. A few other names for Oliveira include Josh Grispi who lost his third straight at UFC on Fox 4 against Rani Yahya or maybe Jimy Hettes who lost to Marcus Brimage on Saturday night.