Johny Hendricks vs. Rory MacDonald:
With Carlos Condit falling to Tyron Woodley on Saturday night there’s currently no clear number one contender in the UFC’s Welterweight division.
Lombard came out victorious over Jake Shields, but has only had two fights at Welterweight. As for Woodley, he beat Condit, but the fight ultimately came to an end via injury, also Woodley fell to Shields by split-decision not too long ago.
With both Lombard and Woodley a win away from a title shot, the only person that makes sense is Rory MacDonald.
MacDonald most recently defeated Demian Maia at UFC 170 via unanimous decision and was riding a five-fight win streak until losing a split decision to Robbie Lawler. It’s probably the easiest fight to sell (aside from Nick Diaz of course,) and finally gives the UFC a chance to give MacDonald a title shot without too much backlash.
However, it is possible that Hendricks will need to take extra time off due to an elbow injury, which may not be the worst situation to make way for a clear contender.
Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit or Nick Diaz:
Carlos Condit would be my top choice here, but it depends on the severity of his injury. If the injury to Condit is serious and puts him on the shelf, Nick Diaz would be my next choice. Diaz wants the next shot at Hendricks, but that’s just not going to happen; at least it shouldn’t considering he’s lost two straight.
He’s been given two straight chances at the title, first to Carlos Condit for the UFC interim Welterweight title and then Georges St-Pierre for the UFC Welterweight title. Diaz needs to work his way back into the title picture and a rematch of a 2004 fight with Lawler would do just that. The UFC would just have to find a way to convince him to take the fight.
Tyron Woodley vs. Hector Lombard or Rory MacDonald:
Woodley vs. Lombard makes perfect sense. They’re both possibly one win away from a title shot and both fought on this card. The only problem is that they’re teammates at American Top Team and may refuse to fight each other.
If that’s the case and champion Johny Hendricks needs to take some extra vacation time due to his injured elbow, a true number one contender bout between Woodley and MacDonald would definitely clear things up in the Welterweight division.
Carlos Condit – To be determined:
Carlos Condit possibly tore his meniscus and or ACL. If he didn’t do so, as I said earlier, Lawler is the perfect fight for Condit. However, it is likely that Condit will be out for a while and there’s no telling when he will return.
Myles Jury vs. Bobby Green/Jim Miller winner or Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone/Edson Barboza winner:
Yes, I gave Michael Johnson the exact same options of opponent in my “Fights to Make After UFC Fight Night 37” article, and while I still believe Johnson should get one of these fights, Jury should get the other.
Jury is an undefeated 14-0 in MMA (5-0 UFC) and just catapulted himself into the UFC’s top 15 at Lightweight with a dominate win over Diego Sanchez on Saturday night.
Both Green vs. Miller and Cerrone vs. Barboza will be going on next month, which is great timing and all four men are currently in the bottom half of the UFC’s top 15 at Lightweight along with Jury.
Diego Sanchez vs. Sam Stout/K.J. Noons loser:
Both Stout and Noons have been back and forth on wins and losses recently, but have both won their most recent bouts.
Stout and Noons will meet next month at “The Ultimate Fighter: Nations” finale, the loser of this match up of strikers would be the perfect opponent for Sanchez. Either man coming off a loss vs. a Diego Sanchez who’s lost three of his last four should make for an exciting stand up war.
Hector Lombard vs. Tyron Woodley or Jake Ellnberger/Tarec Saffiedine winner:
As I said earlier, there may be some complications if the UFC attempts to make a bout between Lombard and Woodley.
So the next best option would be the winner of a UFC 172 bout between Jake Ellenberger and Tarec Saffiedine.
Both fighters are currently ranked in the top ten at Welterweight according to the UFC’s rankings and will be fighting just over a month from now; if the UFC can’t or chooses not to make a Lombard vs. Woodley fight, the winner of Ellenberger and Saffiedine makes the most sense.
Jake Shields vs. Matt Brown/Erick Silva loser:
Jake Shields was completely overwhelmed at UFC 171 by Hector Lombard, getting beaten throughout the entirety of the fight.
Shields was riding a four-fight unbeaten streak (3 wins, 1 no contest) until losing to Lombard and he should be careful due to the fact that another loss could cost him his job with the UFC.
A fight with the loser of Brown vs. Silva makes the most sense from a rankings standpoint, with the winner looking to remain relevant in the UFC’s Welterweight division and the loser facing obscurity.