As news emerges regarding matchup for cars this year one interesting thing to notice is who the WEC lightweights are drawing in their first UFC fights. So far Ben Henderson will be fighting Mark Bocek, Donald Cerrone will be fighitng Paul Kelly, Shane Roller will be fighting Thiago Tavares, Kamal Shalorus will be fighting Jim Miller, and Anthony Njokuani will be fighting Edson Barboza Jr. As of now Bart Palaszewski and Anthony Pettis don't have matchups.
What seems bizarre to me is that out of all the WEC guys who have potential and have won fights the guy getting the biggest fight is Kamal Shalorus who is fighting Jim Miller. Miller is right at the top of the UFC's lightweight divison just behind Edgar and Maynard. One could argue that he would be next in line behind Pettis for a shot at the title as of now. I can't quite figure out how Shalorus has earned this fight. He had a draw against Jamie Varner that he didn't deserve and then a split decision win over Palaszewski. How that earns a shot at Jim Miller I'm not really sure.
In regards to the other matchups I think the Roller vs Tavares, Njokuani vs Barboza, and Cerrone vs Kelly fights make sense. If Cerrone wins it will set him up nicely for the fight he really wants with Cole Miller. The loser of Roller vs Tavares will probably be cut from the UFC or at very least on the edge of being cut. The Njokuani vs Barboza fight will be exciting and will work to build up Barboza. Unfortunately for Njokuani, Barboza is one of the more exciting lightweight fighters out there and the UFC wants to build him up slowly. If Njokuani can somehow win the fight he will get a big boost to his career. If not he could be close to the cut line. I'm not as crazy about the Henderson vs. Bocek fight. I think Henderson could possibly be a contender in the future and I don't think Bocek is really anywhere near that.
I think the most curious thing that the UFC will have to do is figure out what to do with Anthony Pettis. I would like to see him put into Shalorus's place and have Jim Miller vs. Pettis for the number 1 contender spot. While I don't see that happening I also can't imagine Pettis sitting out another 5 months waiting for Edgar vs Maynard to play out and wasting all the momentum he gained with the "Showtime kick" and his win over Henderson I think a fight with Sean Sherk would make some sense. From the UFC's perspective Sherk is still dangerous but seems to have lost a little bit, his undeserved win over Evan Dunham aside. It would be a tough fight for Pettis but a winnable one and could serve to legitamize his contendership.
Well just one man's thoughts but let me know what you guys think.