Tim Burke tells us what is ahead for all the fighters on the UFC 152 main card. Find out what's next for Jon Jones, Vitor Belfort, Demetrious Johnson, Joseph Benavidez, Brian Stann, Michael Bisping, Cub Swanson, and Matt Hamill.
After some UFC events, it's pretty easy to predict the future of the fighters. They've just earned a title shot, or they have a really obvious fight on the horizion. UFC 152? Not so much. With all the turmoil in the organization lately, it's pretty hard to nail down anything concrete about where these guys are going to go next. In fact, it seems that only one of the main card fighters knows who might be standing across from him next time - Demetrious Johnson. As for the rest though, let's go through some possibilities for each guy.
Jon Jones: Is Dan Henderson next? Dana White wouldn't confirm or deny anything in regards to Jones, mostly due to his arm injury. If his arm is messed up, he'll finally get a few months on the sidelines. If not, it could be Hendo. White said last week that he wanted Lyoto Machida to face Henderson, but there doesn't really seem to be anyone else ready at 205. If Alexander Gustafsson beats Mauricio Rua at UFC on Fox 5 in December, he might be a possibility. But that bout doesn't go down for a while.
Vitor Belfort: It was rumored that Vitor was up around 220 pounds a couple of weeks before the fight. He probably isn't walking around that high if he knows he has a middleweight bout coming up, but Vitor is a big man. His skills are probably better suited for 185 though, so my guess is that he goes back down there. Going back to the TUF Brazil fight with Wanderlei Silva seems like the most logical idea to me right now.
Demetrious Johnson: At least this one is easy - it has been confirmed that the winner of the Jussier "Formiga" da Silva vs. John Dodson bout at UFC on FX 5 will get the first title shot at Mighty Mouse. Dodson is familiar to fans due to his TUF win, but people are going to wake up to Formiga real quick. He's 14-1 with his only loss coming to Ian McCall, and is a top 5 flyweight in the world. Either one of these guys against Johnson is going to be a great fight though.
Joseph Benavidez: Ian McCall seems like a logical return fight for Benavidez. He's quite clearly the number three guy in the organization right now, and 2 vs. 3 makes sense. John Moraga or Chris Cariaso are possibilities as well, but I think they'll go with Uncle Creepy.
More fighters after the jump.
Michael Bisping: Well, I doubt Bisping is getting the title shot he wants so badly. The winner of the Tim Boetsch vs. Chris Weidman bout at UFC 155 is the most logical opponent for Bisping, but how many guys does Weidman have to go through before he gets his own title shot? A lot of this will depend on a possible Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva matchup, and who Anderson wants to fight if he does defend his title anytime soon. If Bisping is looking to get back into the cage relatively soon, Jake Shields might be a good opponent.
Brian Stann: I don't know how long Mark Munoz going to be out with injuries, but I'd like to see Stann fight him next. Both are former WEC light heavyweights, they're both coming off losses, and they each present style matchup issues for the other. I guess Stann could fight the loser of the Rousimar Palhares vs. Hector Lombard fight at UFC on FX 6 too.
Matt Hamill: Back into retirement? Seriously, after that return fight, I don't think many people would be crying into their beers if Hamill decided to hang it up again. But since he probably won't, he needs an opponent. Vladimir Matyushenko is a natural fit considering the fight was booked briefly, but he's out for a long time with a torn achilles tendon. If James Te Huna has recovered from his injuries, he'd be an interesting opponent. Or Ryan Jimmo, though that could be a really, really boring fight.
Cub Swanson: I think the best possible matchup for Cub would be the winner of the Dennis Siver vs. Eddie Yagin bout at UFC on Fox 5. He could also face the winner of the Robert Peralta vs. Jason Young fight at UFC on Fuel 5, but I like the first one better.