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Armchair Matchmaker: Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale Edition

(Dude. Yikes. Photos courtesy of

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve just received word that Cody "The French Revolution" McKenzie has agreed to take on Yves Edwards at UFC Fight for the Troops 2 on January 22nd, after Edwards’s original opponent was drafted for the main event. (It should be noted that Edwards has never lost by guillotine choke in 56 career fights.) McKenzie’s big return made us wonder — what does the future hold for the other winners of last Saturday’s UFC event? Well gather around, kids, and we’ll tell you what should happen…

Jonathan Brookins: You know how this works. In his first post-TUF outing, Brookins needs to be built up against a relatively established vet who happens to be vulnerable against his skill-set. So, who’s a chokable, lateral-droppable lightweight who you’ve heard of, but who doesn’t have the kind of striking skills that will make Brookins look foolish? Huh. That actually doesn’t leave a lot of options among the UFC’s current roster.

This is going to sound random as hell, but I think the UFC needs to bring back Matt Veach. Though the H.I.T. Squad fighter was released by the UFC earlier this year after consecutive losses to Frankie Edgar and Paul Kelly (both by submission), he’s gone on to win three straight in smaller promotions; he was also undefeated before he came to the UFC, scoring stoppages in nine out of ten fights. I think we all want to see Brookins developed slowly in winnable matchups; still, Veach is far from a pushover.

Stephan Bonnar: With an official win-streak in play, it’s time to take one baby-step up the ladder, against a guy who isn’t coming off losses. Stanislav Nedkov is still waiting for his first UFC opponent after Steve Cantwell bailed on him — why not give him to Bonnar? Nedkov owns a perfect 11-0 record, but his level of competition hasn’t been top-notch. I’d be curious to see how scary he really is against a guy who’s logged as many hours of Octagon time as Bonnar has — especially now that the American Psycho is actually following non-brawling-based game-plans.

Demian Maia: According to Demian, there’s some internal chatter about him facing Michael Bisping next. Of course, Bisping already has a date with Jorge Rivera at UFC 127 in February. But I think the winner of that fight does make sense for Maia’s next opponent. Whether its Bisping or Rivera, Demian would be squaring off against a confident striker who would be vulnerable on the ground, as long as Maia can keep from getting his ticket punched in the standing exchanges. Either way, the fight might actually produce an exciting finish, which Demian could certainly use after going to decision in his last four outings.

Rick Story: He beat a legitimate prospect in Johny Hendricks, he’s strong as a freaking bull, and his trainer says he’s ready for the top ten. Personally, I feel he could still use some more time to develop, but after five straight wins, Story definitely deserves a bigger name to help get him over with fans. Since the idea of Diego Sanchez vs. Matt Hughes doesn’t make sense anymore, Sanchez vs. Story sounds like a good time — plus, Diego Sanchez would force the fight to be interesting.

Nam Phan: He won his fight against Leonard Garcia. You all saw him win it. So at the very least, Phan should get a follow-up opponent who’s on the same level as Garcia. If Chris Horodecki loses to Donald Cerrone at WEC 53 this month, Horodecki would be perfect for Phan — another gutsy striker with a good name. [Right, those are lightweights. Duh.] Otherwise, I’d match Phan with Pablo Garza, the TUF 12 Finale Knockout of the Night winner whose only professional loss came in a short-notice lightweight fight against Zhang Tie Quan at WEC 51. (He also lost a decision to Michael Johnson in the TUF 12 elimination round, which gives him something in common with Phan.) Both Phan and Garza have potential as UFC featherweights, but there might only be room for one of them.


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dharn- December 8, 2010 at 2:19 pm
Im not sure why everyone is trashing Brookins. The dudes got a lot of heart and isnt that bad. He, just like a lot of other TUF winners, will improve leaps and bounds now that fighting is paying his bills and letting him train without worring about a "Real Job." Yea, I dont think hes ready for an Eddie Alvarez or a Frankie Edgar, but give him time.
Stak40- December 8, 2010 at 6:44 am
Oh and give Bonner someone in the top 10. He has been around too long for anything less. If he can beat a top 10 with his new found style then he might actually be something other than a gatekeeper to the gatekeeper, if not, let his ass go.
Stak40- December 8, 2010 at 6:41 am
The lightweight division if full of fighters who cant or dont throw hands and rather lay around on the ground. Fucking throw a dart at the roster. No need to bring in someone who isnt in the UFC, especially after they just accumulated the WEC lightweight division.
Charming Charlie- December 8, 2010 at 2:01 am
If instead of the usual pre-fight talk about what the gameplan is and what the other fighter should expect they just allow Brookins to talk about trying to be worthy of being called humble and treat the experience of life, you know, with respect, in that soothing--slightly lisped--voice, I'll be happy. Get that man a commentator's position or talk show.
RSparrow- December 7, 2010 at 11:34 pm
Hate to say it,..

But I'll NEVER be a fan of a fighter who can't potentially knock you out with one punch. Come on GSP, you're up my friend! Freddy Roach gave you the technique, put Kos to sleep this Saturday and you will forever be God in Montreal.

*That is, if the crazy fucking Canadians allow him to get to the cage.
Get Off Me- December 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm
Brookins did not get KTFO by Aldo, like Gamburyan out and Swanson out.

Mitrione also leads with his chin, but like Brookins has not been put out yet.
Chuck Liddell lead with his chin, Wandy too, I like it, always provides an exciting fight too....Scott Smith used to lead with his chin, I will miss him.
sam bowman- December 7, 2010 at 7:53 pm
jesus feijoles alot of fights come to the ufc one dimensional but they still turn out to be great fighter he even said that we wasent the best fighter but there is no doubt that he can be great with alot of traning. how could he have beat out all of the other TUF guys if he wasent good?
Ballkick- December 7, 2010 at 7:52 pm
Brookins is in need of some stand-up coaching. Who ever taught him that style or allowed him to adopt that style should be looking for another career. Hard to believe no body on Team GSP worked with him on this. I am convinced that he will look a whole lot different next time around.
I of course recommend some Muay Thai,.. then and only then will I get on the Slow Talking, Introspective, Humble, Albino's band wagon.
Jesus Frijoles- December 7, 2010 at 5:54 pm
I didnt watch TUF this season. I have to say that that freaky looking albino black guy, Brookins looked like shit. All the guys on the forum had him picked to win, I sure didnt see why judging from his striking. Good thing he has a good chin and some ground game.They are going to have a hard time finding cans for him to beat. Any half ass decent striker is going to light him up.
Almost North- December 7, 2010 at 5:36 pm
I'd like to see Phan kick Yves Lavigne in the face.
Bill Jackson- December 7, 2010 at 5:21 pm
I think Yves Jabouin would be a perfect fit for Phan's next fight. He has nothing scheduled and is coming off of a win. Plus he is an action fighter, like Phan.
Almost North- December 7, 2010 at 5:03 pm
I also hate "MMA fans boy", that guy is a dick.
dmerit- December 7, 2010 at 4:49 pm
You guys are all fucking idiots, author included. Phan and Garcia are featherweights, Phan dropped to fight him Cerrone and Hordicki are both Lightweights as are Roller and everyone any poster mentioned I thought CP had smart MMA fans boy I was wrong wow just wow. Give him Brown again I wanna see Brown smash him!
anderson wanderlei paulo thiago alves silva- December 7, 2010 at 4:22 pm
no wonder brookins sounds like that
Get Off Me- December 7, 2010 at 4:07 pm
Nik Lentz for Brookins next.

Give Bonnar a bonified star again please, he's earned it and he looks rejuvinated...It would have been perfect to have him fight Lil Nog.

Maia has rebounded nicely from his bout with Anderson Silva, would like to see him fight Belcher like he was supposed to.

Really, who cares who Phan fights next! Give him a rematch with V... or the loser of Varner v. Roller.....
It's a big fuck you to Garza if he has to fight Phan.
Give Garza a fight with Garcia next....If Garcia he thinks he can get away with leaving his head down like that in a fight, let Garza show him he can't.....
Lysol- December 7, 2010 at 3:34 pm
For the time being, how about Maia vs. Sakara, with the winner fighting the winner of Rivera vs. Bisping?
blackboxmma- December 7, 2010 at 3:26 pm
he's not fighting 7 times a year. I thought it ws 25k a win and 4 fights a yr to make 100k
Hexed79- December 7, 2010 at 3:22 pm
Brookins, meet Thai Boxing. Thai Boxing, Brookins.

I'm surprised it's taken the two of you so long to become acquainted - someone should have introduced the two of you when Jonathan started his career.
agentsmith- December 7, 2010 at 3:18 pm
"If Chris Horodecki loses to Donald Cerrone..."


Also, I hereby declare Brookins' nickname to be "Blonde Slash".
ccman- December 7, 2010 at 3:12 pm
Immediately walking out of a tuf competition, brookins looks a ton better than pretty much all of the past winners.

Not seeing says "put money on johnson"... and not much else
Tai-Pan- December 7, 2010 at 2:57 pm
Mac Danzig was a seasoned veteran when he won TUF. So ya...

Brookins has got lots of potential, he just really needs to keep that chin down and hands up. His ground game and wrestling look pretty good for a TUF winner tho.
Daddy_jeffy- December 7, 2010 at 2:51 pm
I like how it is six figures over three years, which is not a lot of Caish. I guess I don't want to be a f-ckin' fighter.
sam bowman- December 7, 2010 at 2:48 pm
I think brookins is a good TUF winner and with a good camp he can be one of the top contenders in the division. Just look at Josh koscheck he came in the UFC just a wrestler and now he is fighting GSP one of the pound for pound best fighters in the world and i think he can pull off the win. so im exited to see brookins grow as a fighter.
Almost North- December 7, 2010 at 2:44 pm
Every time with this....its a six figure contract not a six figure per fight contract.
Elentius- December 7, 2010 at 2:41 pm
The contract is 6 figures over several fights. Plus he didn't have the contract before the fight. He won it there.
That punch-face is terrible CP and it is disturbing me. Change it to make me happy. Thanks.