Josh Hedges, Zuffa LLC, Getty Images
Now that UFC on Fuel 7 is in the bag, I take a look at who most of the main card fighters might face off with next.
The UFC's fourth event of 2013 is in the books, and it had some highs and lows. A solid main card made up for a fairly boring preliminary card (excluding Tom Watson vs. Stanislav Nedkov). While it was really only the top two fights that had much relevance in their respective divisions, it'll be interesting to see where a bunch of these guys go next. With that in mind, here's how I would book most of the UFC on Fuel 7 main card combatants for their next fight.
Renan Barao - It seems pretty clear that UFC wants to make the title unification bout with Dominick Cruz sometime in the summer. Obviously that will hinge on the health of Cruz. If he's unable to go for some reason, there sure aren't many people ready to step up without another win. Eddie Wineland might be the only one.
Michael McDonald - It's back to the drawing board for the 22-year-old, but he'll definitely be staying in the title mix for a long time. If Cruz does indeed get Barao next, a bout with Wineland would be a ton of fun to watch.
Cub Swanson - That was the biggest win of Cub's career, but there's a major logjam in front of him in the 145 title picture. Going back to the original fight with Dennis Siver seems like the most logical move right now, unless Siver is booked against Ricardo Lamas. If that's the case, throw him in there with the Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung.
Dustin Poirier -This loss is undoubtedly a big setback to his title hopes, but I don't think his stock will drop a ton in such an entertaining loss. Maybe it's time to go back to a bout they've almost made a couple of times and makes a ton of sense right now - Poirier vs. Erik Koch.
Jimi Manuwa - It's too bad that the win came at the expense of a Diabate injury, but he's 2-0 nonetheless. I'm guessing they really want to push him as a UK star, so they're going to build his stock slowly. If they don't use him again until September, Joey Beltran would work. If not, maybe a bout with the winner of the UFC 159 fight between Ovince St. Preux and Gian Villante would be a good fit.
Matt Riddle - He wants to fight Dan Hardy, but that's pretty unlikely. He can meet a bevy of solid welterweights but if the UFC is going to continue to book him as a UK conqueror, put him in there with the best UK welterweight in the UFC - John Hathaway. Let's see if he can outwrestle him.