Anytime the heavyweight title is on the line usually the card delivers in most ways. It’s a quirky thing, or at least it appears to be. UFC 160 was a pretty good card, all things considered, and now it’s time to play Joe Silva and figure out what happens next.
Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos – The trilogy fight has been announced and it makes sense, too. JDS and Cain are a clear step ahead of the entire heavyweight MMA division in the same way the Klitschko brothers are to boxing. This is probably the third of five fights, in my guess, unless Cain somehow manages to thrash Junior even worse the third time than he did the second. It’s been announced by Dana as being next, as well, and nothing else makes sense for either guy.
TJ Grant vs. Benson Henderson – Announced by Dana, as well, this fight makes sense. Grant destroyed Maynard in emphatic fashion in a title eliminator; this isn’t Fitch/Alves where it was promised and then revoked. The only way TJ Grant shouldn’t get this shot is if he gets hurt between now and the scheduled fight time with Benson or Jesus Christ comes back to Earth to challenge Benson directly.
Glover Teixiera vs. Phil Davis – Glover’s one fight away from a title shot, that we know. Light heavyweight is short on contenders and Jon Jones is going to get either Machida or Gustafsson next. Glover would make for an interesting challenge to Jones and I think he needs to get one more win under his belt before he gets a title shot. You can say the same about Phil Davis, as well, as Davis is a Top 10 talent and Jones has wrecked most of the division. This makes sense as a title eliminator for the fall, at best, or as a fight to get in the mix for Davis and for a title shot for Glover. Ryan Bader, Glover’s originally scheduled opponent, could be another opponent as well.
Donald Cerrone vs. Josh Thomson – Someone mentioned this at the post fight presser and it makes sense. Thomson’s a gamer, Cerrone is as well, and the two would make for an excellent fight. Plus both guys have been fighting for long enough without having crossed paths that it makes sense. Pat Healy could also be in here, as well.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Nik Lentz – Bermudez has three wins in a row and is now looking like a fringe Top 10 guy. Lentz is a Top 10 guy, or so we think, but everyone ranked above him is seemingly locked up right now. Lentz waits or he fights and I think he’ll do the latter; Bermudez is a tough, grinder as well.
Mark Hunt vs. Frank Mir – There’s nothing wrong with getting wrecked by Junior Dos Santos. Hunt had a great run but we have to be honest now: his shot at the UFC heavyweight title came with winning. He’s pushing 40 and he just failed the “Who wants a title?” final in the heavyweight division. It was a massive step up, though, and normally that role is Frank Mir. Normally Mir’s the entrance exam to the elite equation and both are going to be far away from the title picture, most likely.
Bigfoot Silva vs. Roy Nelson – Bigfoot is in a bad spot but also a great one. He’s one of the top five heavyweights in the world but has been soundly thrashed by two of the guys ahead of him, badly enough that a rematch would be insanely tough. In two fights against Cain Velasquez he’s managed to last less than four minutes, combined, and hasn’t landed more than a handful of punches each time. We know for sure that Cain is the better fighter and one imagine Junior Dos Santos is, as well. He’s good enough to be an elite level fighter but probably will never be good enough to be title worthy. Roy Nelson seems to be in that general area, as well, but he’s got a number of big knockouts on his record as of late. Stefan Struve would be another matchup that could be made, as well.
Gray Maynard vs. Evan Dunham – Maynard probably can’t be discussed as being elite in the division ever again, or at least not for a while. He’s got a bad win over Clay Guida, two losses to Frankie Edgar (one disputed) and got thrashed by TJ Grant. It was the only time he’s been stopped in the first round in his career and now it’s a matter of trying to find his place in the division. Dunham looked to be on his way to that same place and wound up going on a pronounced slide, as well. George Sotiropoulos would be another good fit as could be someone like KJ Noons. It all depends on how Zuffa views Maynard at this point; if they still view him as being a relevant contender he’ll get someone good. Nate Diaz could be a proper fit, especially considering they have a trilogy starting on TUF 5 that could be completed. If not he’ll get someone out of the Top 10.
Rick Story vs. Nate Marquardt – It was the fight that led to Marquardt’s ouster from the UFC, of course, but now it makes a lot of sense. Both guys are failed contenders who still have a name and the potential to get back into the Top 10 sooner than later. Mike Swick could be a possibility as well as Seth Baczynski; Story’s going to get someone who still has a name and could be a Top 10 welterweight sooner than later.
Brian Bowles vs. Scott Jorgensen – Brian Bowles still has value and this is also an old WEC matchup that never happened back then. Bowles is still a top bantamweight, or at least ranked that way, but he’s lost a lot of the luster with two big stoppage losses in a row. Jorgensen is still a top guy but has been sent back down the ranks again with a loss to Urijah Faber.
Tags: Five for Fighting, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC 160