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Armchair Matchmaker: UFC 118 Edition

(There he goes again, trying to steal the victory. Photo courtesy of CageWriter)

Here’s what we know: Frank Edgar will make his next title defense against Gray Maynard, who routed Kenny Florian on Saturday night. Dana White is done with James Toney, even though James Toney might not be done with MMA. Nick Osipczak, John Salter, and Gabe Ruediger could very well be receiving "Dear John" letters from the UFC as we speak. As for UFC 118‘s other winners and losers, their fates are yet to be decided. But as usual, we have a few opinions on the subject…

BJ Penn: The Prodigy spent 2007-2009 destroying all the top talent in the UFC’s lightweight division, then looked completely uninspired in two consecutive fights against Frankie Edgar. Either Penn has fallen off his game dramatically or Edgar is just a terrible style matchup for him — and we won’t really know the answer until Penn’s next fight. What’s obvious is that lightweight has been Penn’s most effective weight class in general, and going back up to 170 would be a terrible idea, especially while Georges St. Pierre still rules the roost. The UFC should give Penn a rebound fight against a name opponent who’s a little further down the ladder, but will test BJ’s desire to fight. That’s right, folks, it’s time for BJ Penn vs. Takanori Gomi II. Gomi is born-again after starching Tyson Griffin; add in Gomi’s history with Penn, and you have a co-headliner that any pay-per-view card would be lucky to have.

Randy Couture: Dana White says his next opponent will be one of the top guys at 205. It’s probably not Jon Jones, who’s looking at the winner of Ryan Bader vs. Rogerio Nogueira. Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida are already booked for NovemberRashad Evans will get the first crack at Mauricio Rua‘s new belt when Shogun is healthy again. Forrest Griffin is an Xtreme Couture guy, and probably wouldn’t fight the boss. In other words, options are limited at the moment. If he doesn’t mind sitting out until next spring, fighting the loser of Jackson/Machida seems appropriate for Randy. It would give Couture the opportunity to return to legitimate contendership (which I think he wants more than anything else), and it’s a fight you could definitely sell on a poster. 

Demian Maia: Over his last four fights, Maia has collected two losses and two decision victories. And so, a famous question comes to mind: "Where’s your jiu-jitsu now, playboy?" Demian handled replacement opponent Mario Miranda on Saturday, but anything less than a submission finish feels like a disappointment, considering how fearsome he was during his first five appearances in the Octagon. Give him the Alan Belcher fight he was originally scheduled for; Maia’s latest win certainly doesn’t qualify him for anything more than that. Of course, if Belcher’s detached-retina puts him out for an extended period of time (or retires him, God forbid), if would be great to see Maia against our man Gerald Harris — who was able to finish Miranda in the first round of their fight at UFC Fight Night 21.

Kenny Florian: Maybe Ken-Flo does choke in big fights. He certainly wasn’t able to pull the trigger against Gray Maynard, and that doesn’t bode well for his chances of ever holding the lightweight title. In a perfect world, his next fight would be against surging contender George Sotiropoulos, who deserves a chance to prove himself against the UFC’s top dogs, just as Florian deserves a chance to prove that he’s still one of the best 155′ers around.

Nate Diaz: Once again, Nate Diaz puts in a masterful performance at welterweight, and we’re starting to wonder if he could become an actual threat in the division. The first name that comes to mind for his next opponent is Mike Swick, who’s a comfortable step up from Davis even though he’s coming off two losses against Dan Hardy and Paulo Thiago. But I think it’s time for Nate to be tested against a welterweight opponent who’s actually on a win streak, which is why I’d slot him against Johny Hendricks (9-0, 4-0 UFC), who just smashed Charlie Brenneman during the UFC 117 prelims. Hendricks has been flying under the radar lately, but after racking up his fourth straight win in the Octagon, he’ll likely be rewarded with a higher-profile match.

Marcus Davis: It made sense before and it makes sense now — Marcus Davis vs. Phil Baroni. Winner saves their job, loser shows up in the next season of Bellator.

Got any other UFC 118-related matchmaking ideas? Let us know in the comments section…


Cagepotato Comments

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RwilsonR- August 31, 2010 at 9:41 am
BJ Penn - welcome to Rich Franklin territory. You don't deserve a fight with the champion, and nobody wants to see it. So you won't be given many of the top contenders because they don't want you knocking them out of contention. Have fun in LW purgatory!

Oh, and above I'm pretty sure the Pitbull he was talking about was Ebenezer "The Pitbull" Fortes Braga. It only makes sense.
Jersey Shua- August 31, 2010 at 7:39 am
How Maia vs. Leben? If there's anyone that can make a fight exciting it's Chris Leben.
itsgalf- August 31, 2010 at 5:48 am
who is Pedro Martinez fighting next?
ghostboner- August 30, 2010 at 11:45 pm
Whooops! Ha ha ha my bad! Seriously though, fucka Nate Diaz. Make him fight Arlovski next. I'm tired of him winning.

@Bobert O'Reilly - wtf Kimbo is a HW and Lytle is 170 you dumb son of a bitch, come on!!!
LargeMidget- August 30, 2010 at 10:55 pm
Good article, keep em coming.

Joe Lauzon vs. Kurt Pellegrino - Both are 4-2 in their last 6 fights. Bound to be an exciting clash of two well rounded scrappy guys.

Florian should fight the winner of Sherk/Dunham. If Dunham wins then he's basically 1 fight away from a contender shot, beating Florian is the win he needs to get into the top 8 (granted he beats sherk first). If Sherk wins then who wouldn't want to see that rematch? It would be cool to see how Kenny deals with a wrestler when the pressure isn't on.
Turd Furgeson- August 30, 2010 at 10:08 pm
Diaz v. Amir Sodallah
Turd Furgeson- August 30, 2010 at 10:04 pm
Penn v. Caol Uno again.
Ballkick- August 30, 2010 at 8:32 pm
CDCR guard with a tazer & Billy-club Vs War Machine in a 6'X8' cell.........make it happen Dana.....I'll pay the fucking rip-off price of $60.00 for that shit.
I'll concider it pay-back for Silva/Maia.
Fuck if you'll pay Toney a cool Mill for that pathetic shit,...why not?
fatbellyfrank- August 30, 2010 at 8:05 pm
@ Casa, did you say your boycotting BJ's?????..........Oh, sorry that was BJ, my bad
fatbellyfrank- August 30, 2010 at 8:04 pm
Kimbo Slice v's John Cena
Casa de los pantelones- August 30, 2010 at 8:04 pm
I'm boycotting bj from now on. He's burned me too many times with boring fights on his ppv cards.

Unless there are other top fights on the same card as him, no way jose.
herb137- August 30, 2010 at 7:17 pm
CHUCK VS RANDY 4!!!!!!!!!
herb137- August 30, 2010 at 7:10 pm
just some dong- August 30, 2010 at 6:59 pm
Couture vs. Franklin... me likey.
swc52583- August 30, 2010 at 6:46 pm
I like most of the suggestions...although Swick vs Diaz may not be an option, Swick may be coming back at 85 so we'd have to see there, but Penn vs Gomi would be awesome, I kinda like the idea of Maia vs Gerald Harris too, and I think Diaz vs Alves would be awesome, assuming Dolce can get Alves to make weight if not give him the winner of Condit vs Hardy if you want him to take a step up in competition if Swick comes in at 85
thebassmaster- August 30, 2010 at 5:31 pm
BJ Penn vs. Gomi should definitely happen. I'd even like to see him fight the winner of Sherk/Dunham.

I've wanted to see Jones/Couture for a while now, and I'm still hoping it will happen, but I'd also love to see Couture take the winner of Rampage/Machida

Demian Maia should maybe fight the winner of Marquardt/Palhares if Belcher is out much longer, or the winner of Bisping/Akiyama

Florian/Sotiropolous makes sense right now

Nate Diaz, if he fights at 170, should take a fight against the loser of Hardy/Condit

Davis, to keep his job needs a crowd pleaser win. Baroni seems like a good option.

Miles- August 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm
Diaz vs Gomi
Bob Reilly- August 30, 2010 at 5:20 pm
Yeah I agree with Brownjhole, Lytle Vs Kimbo! (see what I did there, twice for one article)
exect4500- August 30, 2010 at 4:08 pm
I think Diaz V Alves would make a lot of sense.
fatbellyfrank- August 30, 2010 at 4:01 pm
yeah Aussie George v Florian, Boner you sneaky lil troller you LOL
noaschmitz- August 30, 2010 at 3:51 pm
If BJ wants to go up to 170, a rubber match with Matt Hughes would be a big time fight but Gomi is the best choice right now.

Demian Maia needs a rematch with Marquardt so we can see his patented punch in the face early stoppage backflip again.

Nate Diaz would be a great match up for Diego and that would be an awesome main event for a Fight Night or Ultimate Fighter Finale.

Florian vs. Griffin or Snuffalugus either way will let you know where Florian is at this stage of his career.

If Toney won he wanted Lesnar, why not give Couture number two contender status behind JDS

@ghostboner, like the arlovski reference, cracked me up
brownjhole- August 30, 2010 at 3:48 pm
Mr_Misanthropy- August 30, 2010 at 3:38 pm
@ Tube Of Daath

You beat me to it, you rascal.
bcpjkell- August 30, 2010 at 3:35 pm
Nate Diaz vs. Chris Lytle or Matt Hughes. A Lytle fight would be a great slugfest, and both are more than capable of some slick grappling. A Hughes fight would be a fight against a powerful wrestler, who Diaz has historically had trouble with, but he has a considerable reach advantage.

Demian Maia vs. winner of Rousimar Palhares/Nate Marquardt. It's the only top tier fight at middleweight without having to wait for Belfort-Okami or Silva-Sonnen 2.

Kenny Florian vs. Tyson Griffin. Kenny needs to prove he can beat a wrestler, and Griffin fits the bill perfectly.

Completely agree with your choices for Penn, Couture, and Davis.

And I stopped by your booth at the fan expo. Thanks again for the free bottle opener.
Get Off Me- August 30, 2010 at 3:35 pm
I'm kinda feelin' Lauzon v. Florian right now...
Like the Couture thoughts in the article and I'll take Tito v. Couture providing Fucko beats the hammer.