As I've said before, UFC on FX 8 wasn't exactly brimming with relevance. The unfortunate injury to Constantinos Philippou took the steam out of the co-main event and left the opening main card fight with a UFC newcomer instead. Obviously the main event was extremely important, but that's about it. With that in mind, I'm going to buck the usual trend and not stick to matchmaking for main card fighters. I'll pick a few guys from across the card this time as well, since people probably care a little more about who should face as opposed to Rafael Natal or Joao Zeferino.
Vitor Belfort; I've stated my case in my post-fight analysis piece last night - I think Belfort should get the winner of Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman at UFC 162. Belfort didn't ask for the fight at the post-fight press conference, instead saying he wanted a rematch with Jon Jones (which is kind of silly to be honest). Belfort also said post-fight that he was cheering for Anderson. While Anderson clearly beat Belfort the first time around, doing the rematch in Brazil would be big money.
And as for the TRT controversy, I believe it's overblown. Belfort isn't relegated to fighting outside the purview of commissions. He just fought Jon Jones on TRT in Ontario nine months ago. Many other admitted TRT users have fought in California and Nevada lately. Why is it Belfort that's supposedly on the outs when these guys get a pass? Because of a 2006 suspension in another organization, in a state Belfort has actually fought in since then? No. The UFC isn't going to avoid giving him a title shot because of possible TRT issues. I just can't see that.
Luke Rockhold: They gave Rockhold a big opportunity right out of the gate. It didn't work out, so now they have to decide how to book him going forward. Do you continue to treat him like a top-shelf fighter and give him guys in that area as well? Or give him a more winnable fight to help build his stock? There are a lot of guys he could fight - Hector Lombard, Alan Belcher, the Boetsch/Munoz loser - but I believe he should meet Brian Stann next. I like the style matchup, and it's a solid main-card fight for just about any card.
Ronaldo Souza: If Belfort doesn't get a title shot, I think it's too soon to rush into a Jacare/Phenom fight. After all, Souza just took out an unranked fighter, not a top-level guy. I really like the idea of him meeting Michael Bisping next, and it's a new challenge for Bisping.
Rafael dos Anjos: Despite getting the nod over Dunham, he didn't really show much that makes me believe he's ready to compete with the best of the best at 155. Honestly, the next best challenge out there at the moment is Pat Healy, but the UFC might treat Healy's matchmaking a bit differently now with the suspension and all that. Since Jim Miller didn't actually lose his last bout now (NC), maybe they do RDA/Miller. I'd personally rather see that.
Evan Dunham: Dana White thought he won. Hell, almost eveyone apparently thought he won. If the UFC chooses conveniently ignore the result and book him against fringe top-10 guys, either Healy or Miller works for him as well. If they choose to bump him back down a bit, the best option would be Matt Wiman. That'd be a great challenge for both men.
Nik Lentz: 3-0 at featherweight and just took out a very solid guy. If the grinder wants to work his way into the elite of the division though, make him do it the hard way - through someone that employs his own style. And that man is Clay Guida. It doesn't sound very exciting, but it would show exactly where Lentz stands.
Francisco Trinaldo: He's probably going to follow in the footsteps of fellow gargantuan lightweight Gleison Tibau - if you can beat him, you're pretty legit. Massaranduba is a tough roadblock at 155, and I'd like to see him against some legit prospects. Myles Jury would be a great test right now.
Yuri Alcantara: I know, he's feasted on two late replacement guys that were way smaller than him in his last two fights (and one of them turned into a BS no contest). But he's going to get a step up in competition next. They could go back to an originally scheduled bout with George Roop if he beats Brian Bowles, but I'd rather see him face off with Takeya Mizugaki.
John Lineker vs. Jussier Formiga: It seems like the best matchup for both men right now in a shallow division. Formiga could maybe fight Louis Gaudinot, and they could think about matching up Lineker with Ian McCall. But I think Lineker/Formiga and McCall/Cariaso better personally. That leaves Gaudinot to fight John Dodson next.