As a long time UFC fan, I’ve recently noticed that their marketing team has seemingly taken a break from using corny phrases to label their events. In fact, the last UFC pay-per-view to not be named after the fighters in the main event was back at UFC 125: Resolution, which featured the eventual draw between, you guessed it, Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. You just don’t see that kind of irony everyday.
UFC 136 was actually able to provide us with closure, however — more closure in fact than any card in quite a while. Not only did Edgar vindicate himself in triumphant fashion, but Jose Aldo proved to many of his critics that his gas tank is not an issue, Kenny Florian proved that he will never, ever, win a title fight, and Chael Sonnen proved that ring rust is for the weak. But now, we look to the future, and more importantly, try to predict it for the weekend’s big winners. So if you think our future match-ups are garbage, be sure to let us know in the comments section below.
Frankie Edgar: There weren’t many of us out there who picked Edgar to finish Maynard in such decisive fashion, let alone with strikes. But with his brilliant come from behind win, Edgar showcased yet another ever improving aspect of his game, and has emphatically earned his spot in the pound-for-pound rankings, though maybe not as high up as Dana would think. Though it seems Gilbert Melendez is destined for the next shot, we think the winner of the Ben Henderson/Clay Guida match deserves it just as much, if not more. Henderson presents many of the same challenges to Edgar as Maynard did, so it would be interesting to see if he would fare any better. And the thought of seeing Edgar and Guida bounce around like they had just tasted sugar for the first time is enough to give us an epileptic seizure.
Jose Aldo: I may be in the minority here, but I wasn’t exactly blown away by Aldo’s performance against “Kenflo” this past weekend. Yes, his takedown defense looked great, but let’s not forget that wrestling has never been Florian’s strong suit. Chad Mendes, on the other hand, has absolutely dominated past opponents with his wrestling, and his stand up is improving by the day. If he can get inside on Aldo, we could be seeing a very different kind of riddle for Aldo to solve. But outside of Mendes and a possible future rematch with Mark Hominick, there don’t seem to be many featherweight match-ups at the moment that spark a lot of interest. Lightweight however, is an entirely different story…
Chael Sonnen: You have to be one arrogant son of a bitch to think that you cannot only hand pick your future opponent’s, but pick the day on which you will fight them as well. Luckily, Chael Sonnen’s arrogance is beginning to take on it’s own persona, and it’s getting harder and harder to disagree with the guy. He dominated a game Brian Stann despite being away from the octagon for over a year, and he made it look easy. Dana White has admitted it would be foolish not to book this rematch, and for once we’re in agreement with “The Baldfather.” Some people are arguing for a Dan Henderson rematch, given he gets past Shogun, but considering that fight is being held at light heavyweight, we don’t really see why the winner would necessarily deserve it over Sonnen, especially since Shogun clearly has no middleweight aspirations. Book it Dana…book it and they will come.
Joe Lauzon: It took “J-Lau” less than a minute to end Melvin Guillard‘s hopes of getting the next lightweight title shot and remind us of why he is one of the most dangerous guys in the division. Though his cardio has long been questionable, there’s no doubting the kid’s killer instinct, and it would be nice to see him put together a nice win streak for once. Giving him a crack at the winner of Siver/Cerrone or Dos Anjos/Tibau would really help thin the herd of potential contenders, and that is one thing the lightweight division could use. Another option, and perhaps the one with the biggest potential for fireworks, would be Nate Diaz. This is of course based on the assumption that Nate Diaz decides to hang out at lightweight for a while, and who knows with that guy.
Demian Maia: Maia’s victory over Jorge Santiago was about as typical as could be expected. It showcased his well known ability to control a fighter on the ground while highlighting the fact that his stand up still has a ways to go. Matching him up against someone like Alan Belcher would really let us know where exactly he stands in the middleweight division, but the grappling fanatic in me would really like to see how he’d fare against someone like Rousimar Palhares, who’s striking is quickly becoming as tenacious as his ground game.
Anthony Pettis: After being wrestlefucked by Clay Guida in his UFC debut, the final WEC lightweight champion seemed eager to prove that he is constantly improving upon his weaknesses with a takedown oriented victory over Jeremy Stephens. A fight against someone equally well rounded, like Jim Miller, would be a nice measuring stick for Pettis, as would a match against the resurgent Sam Stout. Or if we really wanted to see how far his wrestling is coming, we could wake Gray Maynard up and throw him in “Showtime’s” direction.
Oh, and can someone throw Jorge Santiago a fricken bone? The poor guy has had about the worst run of luck in the UFC that I can remember, and I’d really just love to see him pull off one of these again.
We’ll let you decide the loser’s fates in the comment section…choose wisely.