I took yesterday to gather my thoughts and some sleep as I was pretty hyped on Saturday night after watching UFC 139. I thought it would be interesting to play UFC matchmaker Joe Silva since I hadn’t done it in a while. Let’s see if I can make his job a little easier starting at the top with Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua.
- Dan Henderson arguably deserves a title shot against the winner of Jon Jones/Lyoto Machida. He’s won four fights within the last year, three via TKO/KO and just had an instant classic with a top five light heavyweight. It’s all about timing though and earliest he could fight for the title would be April or so. Then there’s Rashad Evans out there who’s ‘in the mix’ which would put Henderson out till June/July if he gets the shot next. Actually, Henderson could probably use that time to recover from such a grueling fight. He’s not getting any younger though. So Henderson’s situation depends on what the UFC wants to do with Evans. The word is that Evans wants to fight again since it would be about 7 months between fights for him if he wants for the title shot. Jon Jones will likely want a bit of time off if he beats Machida next month as this will be his fourth fight of 2011. Hendo/Evans in March anyone? The winner of that one could fight the winner of Jones/Machida in June or July.
- Shogun Rua deserves a ‘warm up’ fight of sorts. He has fought Lyoto Machida twice, Jon Jones, Forrest Griffin, and Dan Henderson in the past two years. Talk about murderer’s row. He’ll probably be out for a while recovering from the war with Henderson. Give him someone like Kyle Kingbury or Brandon Vera. The wildcard would be a fight with Rampage Jackson in February on the UFC Japan show. I don’t think Rua will be fully recovered and have time to get a full training camp in time for that though.
- Wanderlei Silva should retire on a high note. He won’t do it, but he should retire. If Le hadn’t been out of action for over a year he probably would have gotten retired.
- Cung Le should retire and he probably will.
- Urijah Faber should get Dominick Cruz next and that’s what will happen. At first I was going to suggest putting him against Renan Barao, but there’s no sense in that as it would eliminate a contender. They can use the trilogy with Cruz to for promotional purposes or possibly put them on TUF as coaches next season.
- Brian Bowles should face Brad Pickett next or Demetrious Johnson. I like the Pickett fight better.
- Martin Kampmann is in a tough predicament. He’s faced some really tough guys in Shields, Sanchez, and Story. He can’t really take a step down in competition since he needs to move up the ladder. I’d like to see him someone like Jake Ellenberger. Yep, that would be a scrap.
- Rick Story has had three very difficult fights back to back to back(fighting Brenneman on short notice was tough). I’d say match him up with the likes of Mike Pyle. If he can’t win that one, well, that tells you all you need to know.
- Stephan Bonnar has been calling out Rampage Jackson for forever. He doesn’t deserve Rampage though in my opinion. However, a fight with Ryan Bader sounds about right since they just fought on the same card.
How’d I do?