Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort:
Well this one’s easy. After defeating Anderson Silva once again and defending his UFC Middleweight title for the first time, it’s pretty much set in stone that Chris Weidman’s next title defense will be against Vitor Belfort. While I hate to say it, especially after the way the main event ended, the Middleweight division will finally be able to advance. After his victory at UFC 168 Weidman improved his record to 11-0 and has looked absolutely unstoppable, it truly doesn’t seem like he has any real flaws in his game. As for Belfort, he has brought out a whole new arsenal and is looking better than ever, finishing top contenders Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson all via head kick in 2013. This match up will definitely be an interesting one for both men.
Anderson Silva: As unfortunate as the circumstances are, this was likely the last time Anderson Silva will ever grace the octagon. He stood atop the mountain for so long and deserves nothing but our utmost respect. The fact of the matter is, Silva broke both his tibia and fibula bones and needed a rod surgically inserted to repair the damage; an injury like that could take at least a full year to recover from, and taking into account that Silva is 38 years old doesn’t do him any favors. In my humble opinion, he has nothing left to prove and although we would all love to see Anderson go out on top, it would likely be in his best interest to retire from the sport.
Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann:
Another obvious one since this fight was announced directly following UFC 168 at the post-fight press conference. This is a very quick turnaround for Rousey as she will meet McMann in less than two months on February 22nd as the headliner of UFC 170. These women have a lot in common, both are undefeated in their MMA careers and both have metaled in their respective sports in the Olympics, Rousey earning a bronze metal in judo and McMann silver in wrestling. This could definitely be Rousey’s hardest test in her career and it will be very fascinating to see how this fight pans out, especially in the grappling department.
Miesha Tate vs. Liz Carmouche:
Both of these women have lost to Rousey and are both coming off of a loss. Tate is 0-2 in the UFC and Carmouche is 1-2, however, both women remain in the top ten of the women’s Bantamweight division. A fight between these two makes perfect sense, the winner will stay relevant in the upper echelon of the division, while the loser would take a spot against lower level competition and have to work her way back to the top.
It’s like the UFC just wants to do my job for me. Another fight that is already pretty much predetermined. The UFC has openly said that the winner of UFC 168’s Browne vs. Barnett fight will meet Fabricio Werdum for the next shot at the title with Velasquez sidelined by injury. Browne has definitely been the dark horse at Heavyweight and the way he dismantled Barnett will make a fight with Werdum much closer in the eyes of the odds-makers.
Josh Barnett vs. Mark Hunt:
For one, the timing works out as both men fought in December. This would be a rematch of a 2006 Pride FC fight where Barnett defeated Hunt by first round submission and began Hunt’s six fight losing streak, which wouldn’t come to an end until 2011. A resurged Hunt, who is 4-1-1 in his last six would put up a much better fight this time around. Winner stays relevant in the Heavyweight division.
Jim Miller vs. Edson Barboza or Michael Johnson:
Miller looked awfully impressive on Saturday night, earning himself a first round submission over a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in Fabricio Camoes. Miller has gotten himself back into the win column and is still in the top ten of UFC’s Lightweight division, both Barboza and Johnson are just outside of the top ten and are riding impressive win streaks. A win for any of the men over the other would put them just a couple of wins away from a title shot.
Poirier was just too much for the aggressive Diego Brandao at UFC 168. Seeing as none of the guys currently in the top ten make sense for Poirier, why not give him a guy just outside of it? Bermudez is sporting an impressive five fight win streak and has definitely earned a shot at a top ten guy. As for both Elkins and Stephens, they are just outside of the top ten at Featherweight as well; Elkins has won six of his last seven and Stephens has won two straight since moving to Featherweight. A win over Poirier would catapult any of these three into the top ten, for Poirier a win would put him right out of title contention.
Diego Brandao vs. Rony Jason:
Both Brandao and Jason were riding very impressive win streaks, until they both fell short in their most recent bouts by knockout. The timing makes sense, the fight makes sense for the division and it would be a damn exciting fight. Make it happen Sean Shelby!