We talked about it on Monday, it was an extremely close fight but certainly was not a robbery. We now know that Ben Henderson will face off against Nate Diaz in his next fight that will likely take place later this year.
However, beyond that fight there are still a great deal of question marks in regards to who is next in line for a title shot. We updated the ProMMAnow.com World MMA Rankings, so I wanted to take a look at the division to see where every stacks up.
-It hasn’t been confirmed but (#2)Frankie Edgar might move down to the UFC featherweight division. If he doesn’t he’ll need at least one win and probably two before he would get a third crack at Ben Henderson(if Henderson retains the title against Diaz).
-(#3)Gray Maynard doesn’t have a fight lined up yet, but he was able to get a win over top ten lightweight Clay Guida.
-(#4)Nate Diaz will fight (#1)Ben Henderson next.
-(#6)Jim Miller doesn’t have an opponent lined up, but was destroyed by Nate Diaz in his last outing so he needs a couple of wins to get back in the mix. I’ve seen rumors about him fighting Jamie Varner, but Varner suffered a broken hand in his bout against Joe Lauzon at UFC on FOX 4. That injury will likely keep him on the shelf for a while as Varner has had hand injuries in the past.
-(#7)Clay Guida is coming off the loss to Gray Maynard and will need about 2-3 wins before he’ll be in the title picture.
So it looks like Gray Maynard could be in the mix depending on who he fights next. He very well could end up fighting Jim Miller. A win over Miller would certainly put him back in line for a title shot as that would be back-to-back wins over two top ten lightweights.
Then we get to the Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone rumored fight. Pettis has won back-to-back fights since losing to Clay Guida in his UFC debut. He had a highlight reel win over Joe Lauzon in last outing, but had a lackluster win against Jeremy Stephens prior to that. A win over Cerrone would be his fight win over a top ten lightweight and would be three wins in a row. I’m not sure if he would leapfrog Gray Maynard, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
Donald Cerrone is coming off the win over Melvin Guillard and is (6-1) in the UFC with four wins via stoppage and has five fight night bonuses to his credit. He’s always exciting to watch and is developing somewhat of a fanbase due to his fight style and “Cowboy” persona. A win over Pettis would be his third win in a row and he already has a built-in storyline no matter who the champion is at the time. His only loss in the UFC is to Diaz, and he lost to Henderson in his WEC days.
So from the looks of things we have a three man race between Maynard, Pettis, and Cerrone. It may come down to the winner of Pettis vs. Cerrone taking on Maynard with the winner getting the next shot at whoever the champion is at the time. For now, the UFC lightweight division just got a little more interesting since there’s no log jam at the top anymore due to constant rematches.