No matter how much Dan Henderson begs, Jon Jones‘s next opponent will be the winner of Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis. Other than that, the fates of UFC 140‘s winners and losers are currently floating in limbo. But if we know matchmaking as well as we think we do, you might be seeing a few of these fights announced in the near future…
Frank Mir: His arm-snapping win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was exactly what Frank needed to pull him out of his career holding pattern. Pundits are already chattering about a trilogy match with Brock Lesnar, in case there’s some truth to those ugly rumors about Alistair Overeem getting pulled from UFC 141. Let’s hope that’s not the case. Instead, we’ll set up a hypothetical booking between Mir and former champ Cain Velasquez, whose title reign and undefeated record were abruptly smashed at UFC on FOX 1. There’s always the chance that Mir would get overwhelmed by Velasquez’s power — see Mir vs. Carwin, Mir vs. Lesnar 2 — but his jiu-jitsu prowess and dangerous hands could make Frank vs. Cain a thriller.
Chan Sung Jung: In four fights under the Zuffa banner, Chan Sung Jung has given us a Fight of the Decade candidate and 2011′s greatest submission, and has now tied the (official) record for fastest UFC knockout; I just wanted you to take a moment and appreciate that. Smashing a recent featherweight title contender in Mark Hominick shoots the Korean Zombie way up the 145-pound ladder. He hasn’t earned a title shot yet, but he’s knocking at the door. Give him the loser of the Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes title fight next month in Rio and see if he can turn in another brilliant performance.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: Lil’ Nog just scored his first victory in over a year, so let’s not use the phrase “in the mix” quite yet. I’d rather set Rogerio up on a date with hardy veteran Stephan Bonnar, who’s won his last three fights and has been asking for a bigger-name opponent for his next outing. No matter who wins, somebody will be writing the next chapter of an impressive career comeback.
Lyoto Machida: Once an unsolvable riddle, Machida has now lost three of his last four fights. And now the question is, what do you do with this guy? If Phil Davis loses to Rashad Evans next month, Mr. Wonderful might be an ideal opponent. But I’m tempted to set the Dragon up with a rebound fight lower down the 205-pound ladder. Machida vs. the loser of Matyushenko vs. Gustafsson sounds about right.
Mark Hominick: I’m willing to write off that seven-second knockout loss as a bad day at the office. The way he opened his fight against Jung — throwing a wide left hook, dropping his hands completely, and eating the counter right straight that he should have known was coming — was so out of character it could only be blamed on a distracted emotional state following the death of his mentor, Shawn Tompkins. Set up Hominick vs. former champ Mike Brown next, no matter if Brown beats Vagner Rocha next month or not. Maybe that’s a tough draw for Hominick after two straight losses, but we already know how good he can be when he’s focused.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Tito Ortiz: Nobody. Big Nog’s combat injuries have piled up well past the point of safety, and even I’m tired of seeing Ortiz getting the crap beaten out of him. They’re both living legends who should be revered for their contributions in building the sport. Allowing them to absorb more punishment serves nobody. Time to call it a day.