What’s Next for the UFC on Fox 6 Main Card Fighters?
Last night in Chicago fans at the United Center and at home watching on Fox were treated to four highly entertaining bouts as the UFC presented: UFC on Fox 6: Johnson vs. Dodson. The UFC and Fox seem to have really hit their stride as their past three events have all put out some great fights. That trend seems as though it will continue when they partner up again in April with UFC on Fox 7: Melendez vs. Henderson.
Eight men walked into the Octagon last night, four walked out happy and four left disappointed. Speculation will run wild as to who the winners and losers will face next and I am more than happy to take a stab at playing Joe Silva for a day. Let’s take a look at what’s next for the main card fighters from last nights card.
Demetrious Johnson- Mighty Mouse walked into the Octagon as UFC Flyweight Champion and walked out with the belt still strapped around his waist. There were a few moments where he looked to be in serious trouble as John Dodson dropped him a few times, but Johnson showed great poise and kept his composure en route to a unanimous decision victory. With the flyweight division still pretty thin there aren’t all that many options for Johnson.
Some are calling for an immediate rematch with Dodson, but Johnson really stepped up in the third round and proved that he is the better fighter at this point in time. For these two to meet again right now would make no sense as Dodson needs time to work on his game. The best option is probably the winner of next week’s UFC 156 bout between Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez. I know Johnson has fought both men already, including McCall twice, but other than John Moraga I don’t see anyone who is ready to step into the cage with Johnson just yet.
John Dodson- To be honest I thought Johnson would have an easier time against Dodson last night and thankfully I was wrong. Dodson had Mighty Mouse hurt a couple of times and showed he could handle the pressure of being in the main event of a huge card. Johnson just had more left in his gas tank as the fight wore on. Dodson can only get better and Greg Jackson will have him back in title contention in no time. The obvious way to go here is to have Dodson face the loser of McCall-Benavidez. No matter who he faces it will be a great fight and help get him back in the thick of things.
Rampage Jackson- Glover Teixeira is no joke and he will face Jon Jones or whomever is UFC Light Heavyweight Champion within the next year or so. Jackson should feel no shame in losing to Chuck Liddell’s former sparring partner. In fact I thought Jackson looked better last night than he has in a long time, but it just wasn’t good enough. His heart is still there, he showed that he will never quit, but his reflexes are slower and his power has decreased. His days at the top of the division are over. Rampage says his days in the Octagon are finished, but I wouldn’t count him out just yet. Maybe a long break is what he needs to clear his mind and heal his body. It doesn’t make sense to speculate who he will face next until he decides for sure what he wants to do.
Glover Teixeira- Having Jones congratulate you and tell you he believes that you will make for a great fight with him is pretty high praise. It seems as though the hype surrounding Teixeira all these years is certainly warranted. He needs another big win before he gets seriously considered for a title shot. If the winner of the Dan Henderson-Lyoto Machida match-up is going to face the winner of Jones-Chael Sonnen, then maybe Teixeira can face the winner of the Gegard Mousasi-Alexander Gustafsson bout scheduled for April. Better yet, how about Teixeira vs. Phil Davis or the winner of Rashad Evans-Antonio Rogerio Nogueira? The possibilities are endless and all of them would make for highly entertaining fights while offering Teixeira the opponent necessary to get him closer to a title shot.
Ricardo Lamas- With four wins in a row and three of them coming against Erik Koch, Hatsu Hioki and Cub Swanson, Lamas has made a definite claim to face the winner of the Frankie Edgar-Jose Aldo title fight that will take place next Saturday at UFC 156. Keep in mind he has finished all of them but Hioki and is now 4-0 as a featherweight. If the UFC doesn’t feel he is ready then have him face former number one contender Chad Mendes who has won two straight since losing to Aldo last January.
Erik Koch- After being out for over 16 months it was a lot to ask of Koch to come in face a fighter of Lamas’ caliber right off the bat. I don’t care what anyone says, ring rust has to play a factor, you can only simulate so much in practice and sparring with your teammates. Koch is just 24-years-old and has lost only twice, he will be back better than ever. He looked good in the first round and who knows what happens if he doesn’t slip in the second round. Regardless, a loss is a loss and he can now go back to Milwaukee with Duke Roufus and regroup. A logical match-up would to have Koch face the loser of the Dustin Poirier-Cub Swanson bout scheduled for next month in England. He was supposed to face Poirier awhile back before being injured and the timing makes perfect sense. If not, he could face Hatsu Hioki who last last night to Clay Guida via split decision.
Anthony Pettis- This is very simple; Pettis will face the winner of the Benson Henderson-Gilbert Melendez UFC Lightweight Championship bout scheduled for April 20 at UFC on Fox 7 in San Jose. There is no need to consider any other possibilities, Pettis has earned his shot at the title. Showtime is coming off of two straight brutal knockout wins against two of the lightweight divisions toughest fighters in Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone. He owns a victory over Henderson, a rematch would be fantastic, but then again so would a fight against Melendez.
Donald Cerrone- Another tough loss for Cerrone just as he was climbing his way back towards a title shot. First it was Nate Diaz who knocked him off and this time it’s Pettis. That shot to the gut was absolutely brutal and would’ve put anyone on the mat. Cerrone is a hard worker and is loaded with talent, don’t be surprised to see him back in another high profile bout real soon. He knows how to sell a fight and is a tough go for any of the UFC’s lightweights. I’d love to see him and Lauzon go at it, that contest has fireworks and Fight of Night written all over it. If not Lauzon, maybe one of the Strikeforce lightweights who are making their way over. KJ Noons sounds like an interesting idea, two guys with good stand-up who love to bang and entertain the fans, doesn’t get any better than that.