“UFC on FOX 3: Diaz vs. Miller” is in the books, and once again the Ultimate Fighting Championship delivered a brilliant night of mixed martial arts action. Nate Diaz defeated Jim Miller by second round submission in their main event bout. Also on the main card, Johny Hendricks, Alan Belcher and Lavar Johnson each picked up impressive victory over their respective opponents on the main card.
After every fight card, fans wonder who the winners will be matched up with next. With another night of UFC action in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to look forward and put ourselves in Joe Silva’s shoes to play UFC matchmaker.
Winner: Lavar Johnson
Who He Should Fight Next: Shane Carwin
Why They Should Fight: Although he has been on the sidelines for over a year due to injury, Shane Carwin recently stated via twitter that he is aiming for return to the octagon soon. What better comeback fight for Carwin then against the equally big, powerful and ferocious Lavar Johnson. Neither fighter likes to go to the ground and have found tremendous success on the feet throughout their careers. Both heavyweights like to stand on the feet and look for the knock out. With 22 career (T)KO’s between them, Johnson vs. Carwin is guaranteed fireworks.
Winner: Alan Belcher
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Vitor Belfort vs. Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147
Why They Should Fight: While Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva won’t face off for another 6 weeks, most of the middleweight division is book up right now and other than the Belfort/Silva winner, there aren’t many logical opponents for Alan Belcher to face next after his TKO of Rousimar Palhares. Simply put, Belcher vs. the Belfort/Silva winner would be a stand up clinic. All three have solid skills on the ground, but prefer to keep their fights standing and look for a highlight reel knockout. The winner of this fight would be one, at most two wins away from a middleweight title shot. Don’t blink if this fight happens.
Winner: Johny Hendricks
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Jake Ellenberger vs. Martin Kampmann at The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale
Why They Should Fight: With welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre tentatively scheduled to return to the octagon to face Carlos Condit this November, Johny Hendricks facing off against the winner of Jake Ellenberger/Martin Kampmann to determine who will challenge the GSP/Condit winner for the undisputed welterweight championship is simply the right fight to put together at this point. Hendricks is on a four-fight win streak and is 8-1 overall in the UFC after his victory at UFC on FOX 3, and is on the short list of contenders for a title shot. In most cases, both Hendricks and the Ellenberger/Kampmann winner would have the resume to challenge for the belt, but with the division tied up, the fight simply makes sense. Winner is the clear-cut number one contender at 170 pounds.
Winner: Nate Diaz
Who He Should Fight Next: Anthony Pettis
Why They Should Fight: UFC president Dana White said in the lead up to UFC on FOX 3 that if Nate Diaz would receive a UFC title shot if he defeated Jim Miller. However, MMA journalist Ariel Helwani reported on the UFC on FOX 3 weigh in show on FUEL TV prior to Saturday’s event that the scheduled lightweight championship bout between Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar will take place in August or September, so the contenders in the lightweight division will continue to fight each other until Henderson and Edgar settle their score. Diaz did state after UFC on FOX 3 that he would like to wait for his opportunity to challenge for the title, but the Stockton native may reconsider his decision to wait after sitting on the sidelines for a while.
As Diaz’s situation unfolds, the other lightweight contender, Anthony Pettis, is coming off a brutal knockout Joe Lauzon at UFC 144 earlier this year and is hungry for a shot at the belt. A fight between Diaz and Pettis makes sense in terms of ranking and compatibility for an exciting fight. The winner is the number one contender in the lightweight division and would be rightfully deserving of the chance to fight the winner Henderson and Edgar.