Jon Jones has once again done it; he’s conquered a former champion in his division in dominant fashion. We already covered it live as it happened; now it’s time to discuss where we go from here with the five most intriguing winners and losers coming off Saturday night’s card.
Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson – This is the easy fight to make but a fun one to make, as well. Rashad Evans caught Jones a couple times with some big shots that didn’t seem to have much effect. Imagine if Hendo threw one of those? The former Olympic team member has this tendency of making Superman look mortal. Dana White also confirmed this at the post fight presser and realistically Hendo is the only one who makes sense right now.
Rory MacDonald vs. Nick Diaz – If Diaz manages to not be suspended by the NSAC in the near future then one imagines he won’t be put up against Carlos Condit. The heat has cooled off on that rematch substantially and Condit is seemingly more than content to wait out Georges St. Pierre. But Diaz/MacDonald could be a fun fight and give us an idea where he’s at. MacDonald needs a top five opponent next, or at least someone in the top 10, and you could have some combination of Josh Koscheck, Johnny Hendricks or Jon Fitch (depending on who wins in the next couple months). Jake Shields, if he remains at welterweight, might be another interesting matchup. Siyar Bahadurzada might be another if they want to bring him along slowly.
Michael McDonald vs. Renan Barao – Dominick Cruz’s next title defense is three months away. You put these two together sometime around UFC 148 or so and you have an instant contender waiting for the winner of Cruz/Faber. Both guys are also really exciting and are bound to challenge for the title several more times, of course, and this will most likely be the first of several scraps between them.
Ben Rothwell vs. Stipe Miocic – Holy crap, where has this Ben Rothwell been hiding? Granted Schaub is a bit chinny on occasion BUT it was a heckuva knockout. Rothwell isn’t ready to take a big step up in competition yet because we don’t know how much he has left in him. Miocic is another fighter on the rise and would make for a great fight. We don’t know how much Rothwell has left in him now that he’s healthy. Major injuries like the ones he’s recovered from can take a lot out of a fighter, especially the largest and smallest of them. Miocic needs a step up the good chain.
Matt Brown vs. John Maguire – Matt Brown is a guy that’ll be a stiff test up the ladder for Maguire. Brown is kind of becoming the guy you feed prospects too now; if you’re good enough to beat him then you’re good enough to keep going up. If you lose to Matt Brown then technically you’re probably in need of some serious work in one area or probably not good enough to stay in the UFC.
Rashad Evans vs. Shogun Rua – This was supposed to happen but didn’t, a year ago. Both guys are on a long path back towards becoming a title contender again after being dismantled by Jon Jones. If anything it’s bound to happen sometime in the next couple years anyway, why not now? I can see Alexander Gustafsson as a potential challenger or even Lil Nog as well. If he’s willing to wait then a grudge match with Rampage Jackson might make sense as well.
Che Mills vs. Stephen Thompson – Mills was a prospect thrown to the wolves in Rory MacDonald. Thompson just took a heck of a beating from Matt Brown. We need to know what we have from both of them as they have good wins over guys who marginally are good enough to be in the UFC but lost to guys higher up.
Brendan Schaub vs. Cheick Kongo – Both guys are tough fighters who just got improbably knocked out by guys who’ve been around the block for some time. If you’re looking to rebuild one, or both, a fight with each could be useful. I could see Matt Mitrione in this spot as well, especially considering their history on TUF Season 10 would give it a unique vantage point as well.
Miguel Torres vs. loser of Urijah Faber/Dominick Cruz – Torres is on the downside of his career at this point. McDonald just proved something I said a while back. He’s on the decline and is now becoming a sort of middle of the pack gatekeeper; if you can beat him you’re in line to fight for the title. If you don’t its back to the end of the line to prove your bonafides once again, to improve on things because Torres is the fighter that’s right on the fringe of good to great. Faber/Torres is one that was bandied about for a while when both were kings of their divisions as a fantasy matchup. Cruz would give Torres fits, style wise, and would make for a good matchup in that regard.
Chad Griggs vs. Shane Carwin – Griggs most likely isn’t good enough to stay in the UFC for long. Shane Carwin is in the midst of a two fight losing streak and needs a tune up before taking on someone near the top again. Why not see if he can last more than 90 seconds with the Colorado bulldozer? The loser of Mark Hunt/Stefan Struve could be another solid matchup as well.
Tags: Ben Rothwell, Brendan Schaub, Che Mills, jon jones, Michael McDonald, miguel torres, Mixed Martial Arts, Rashad Evans, Rory MacDonald, UFC, UFC 145