UFC on Fox 9 is in the books, and it offered up a few surprises. Mighty Mouse with the knockout, Faber with the submission, McKenzie with the price tag. But where do we go from here? The situation at flyweight should be interesting since they don't seem to have a consensus top contender at the moment, and the bantamweight situation could be just as interesting. So without further ado, let's see who the Fox 9 main carder fighters could meet in their next fight.
Demetrious Johnson - It seems like the bout between John Lineker and Ali Bagautinov at UFC 169 could decide the next challenger, but there's the whole Lineker/weight issue to worry about. If he wins this and makes weight, there will be a lot of focus on whether he can go a pound lower to the title limit of 125 or not, since he's missed 126 three times already. It's slim after that though - Johnson has already beaten the top four contenders. The only other option I could see is that they push Brad Pickett straight into a shot if he beats Ian McCall in his flyweight debut in March.
Joseph Benavidez - Being the # 2 guy in a division with little hope of another shot at the # 1 guy is a brutal spot to be in. Benavidez is a professional though and he'll go out there and keep beating up guys. I'd personally like to see him fight John Dodson next, but I'm not sure that's the direction they'd go. It's more likely that he'd get the Lineker/Bagautinov loser or maybe even the Pickett/McCall loser.
Urijah Faber - I am 100% convinced that he should face the winner of the bantamweight title unification bout between Renan Barao and Dominick Cruz. Yes, they both hold wins over him. But Faber had an incredible 2013, and there's no one in a better position than him for that shot right now. If Cruz wins, it sets up the grudge match. And if Barao wins, he's taken out some of the other guys already. The only other guy that's in that area is Raphael Assuncao, and Faber holds a featherweight win over him back in the WEC. It's Faber's time once again. And it'll draw.
Michael McDonald - It's back to the drawing board for Mayday. He has now lost to Barao and Faber, and was finished by both. He still has top-five talent and he's really young, so he'll be a contender for a while. It's too bad that they already booked Eddie Wineland against Yves Jabouin, because I'd really like to see Mayday/Wineland. He could face the loser of Mike Easton vs. T.J. Dillashaw, but I think they'll give McDonald someone down the ladder a bit next, a fighter that will engage in a standup bout with him. George Roop would be a good candidate.
Chad Mendes - There are plenty of contenders at featherweight, which might hold him back from getting another title shot anytime soon. I think it's time for them to book Mendes against Cub Swanson again personally. Mendes beat him in the WEC, but Cub has looked much-improved in the UFC and it would be a perfect fight to see who faces the winner of the Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas title fight.
Nik Lentz - Lentz is teetering right on the edge of the top 10 at the moment along with a few other fighters, so there are a few different matchups that would work next. He could meet the last guy Mendes beat, Clay Guida. He could also face the loser of the Darren Elkins vs. Jeremy Stephens bout. Of the two, I like the latter better because they can use Guida more effectively than that.
Joe Lauzon - That win was really important for Lauzon, as they can start using him in slightly higher-profile bouts again. I'd personally like to see him fight Bobby Green next, but that doesn't seem like something the UFC could build up very well. I'd expect them to go with another opponent with an exciting style that's been around for a while like Joe. Who could that be? I think they should put him in there against Diego Sanchez if he beats Myles Jury, or Donald Cerrone if he beats Adriano Martins. I realize both men are ranked higher than Lauzon, but those are both fights that people would be exciting about seeing and that's the best way to use Lauzon right now.
Mac Danzig - Unfortunately for Mac, I think this is the end of the line for his UFC career. That's three losses in a row and he's just 3-8 in his last 11. That's not going to cut it, even if some of those were debatable defeats.