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The UFC's featherweight division is suddenly intriguing again. After a long period of time where it was just champion Jose Aldo and the rest of the guys that probably couldn't beat him, 145 finally has some compelling contenders again. And a lot of the top guys have either just fought, or are about to. Obviously the title fight between Aldo and Frankie Edgar this weekend at UFC 156 will have a big impact on the future, but the challengers will remain the same nonetheless. So I thought it would be fun to do some armchair booking and see what the best matchups might be. Here are 10 fights I think UFC should make in the wake of UFC 156.
1. Aldo/Edgar winner (UFC 156) vs. Chan Sung Jung - Yes, Lamas just won a very important bout and everyone's talking about him. But let's not forget who won a number one contender's bout last May. The Korean Zombie has been on the shelf since then and they might consider giving him another fight before he gets a title shot, but I still think he should be in line ahead of Lamas. Jung's a good matchup for either Aldo or Edgar, so who wins doesn't really matter in this regard.
2. Ricardo Lamas vs. Chad Mendes/ Manny Gamburyan winner (UFC 157) - I know that Lamas/Gamburyan doesn't sound that interesting. But let's face it, Mendes probably wins that fight. And Mendes would be an extremely tough fight for Lamas. If Ricardo gets through him, he unquestionably deserves a title shot. And if Mendes wins he could be knocking at the door for another shot of his own, especially if Edgar wins on Saturday night.
3. Clay Guida vs. Dustin Poirier/Cub Swanson winner (UFC on Fuel 7) - Whether you like it or not, Guida just stepped into contention at featherweight. Both Poirier and Swanson are knocking on the door as well, and it would be interesting to see if Guida could ground either of those guys like he did to Anthony Pettis or Hioki.
4. Dennis Siver vs. Aldo/Edgar loser - This depends on how long Siver is out, but I think it's a good bounce-back bout for the guy who walks away from UFC 156 on the losing side of things.
6. Hacran Dias vs. Nik Lentz - I know this sounds a little weird. Lentz is coming off a big win over Nunes, and many will say he deserves a higher-ranked opponent next. But Dias is probably the best prospect in the division right now and was most recently set up to fight Chad Mendes before he hurt his shoulder. This is an excellent potential bout and it really does make sense if you look past the rankings a bit.
7. Hatsu Hioki vs. Jim Hettes - I know this one's a bit strange too, but hear me out. Yes, Hioki is still a top-ten featherweight. Yes, he might have actually beat Clay Guida. And yes, Hettes is a bit off the radar right now. But this looks great on paper stylistically, and they're both coming off losses. This one has a very small chance of actually being made, but it's my favorite bout on the list.
8. Marcus Brimage vs. Max Holloway - Brimage's win over Hettes was surprising, but he's now 3-0 in the UFC. Holloway has won three in a row too. The height difference would make for some interesting strategy.
10. Poirier/Swanson loser vs. Gamburyan/Mendes loser - Booked just by process of elimination. They're all ranked fighters and matching up the guys that fall short in their respective bouts makes sense.