UFC 172 is in the books and I was very impressed. Dana White kept saying it was the best card they've ever put on and while that statement is pretty lame from a relevance sense, the fights themselves turned out to be exciting from top to bottom. The last two events (this one and UFC on Fox 11) have been the best events of the year so far. I think our own Mookie Alexander put it best on Twitter yesterday - "This card and last week's card are a great reminder that there are many aspects of MMA that suck, but actual MMA isn't one of them."
But where do these guys go from here? Other than the next title fight, a lot of things are up in the air. So let's take a look at who the main card fighters should meet in their next bout.
Jon Jones - We all know who is next for Jones even though he wanted no part of talking about him last night - Alexander Gustafsson. Dana White was talking about possibly doing the fight in a stadium in Sweden (or somewhere else in Europe) and starting it at like 4am their time so it would air in prime time here. Uh, that doesn't sound like the best idea. But either way, the fight is one that a lot of people are interested in seeing.
Glover Teixeira - Glover turned in an admirable performance despite the injuries he racked up during the bout. There are still plenty of fights out there for him, mostly because he skipped pretty much every top 10 fighter on his way to the title shot. He'll probably be taking some time off before his next bout, and I think that should come against Mauricio Rua. Shogun was dominating Henderson before the KO win and he still has a lot of gas left in the tank. He'd be a great test for Teixeira in his return fight.
Anthony Johnson - Most people want to launch him straight into title contention after his big win, but even he made it clear that he'd like to take it a little bit slower. So while the winner of Dan Henderson vs. Daniel Cormier seems like a good fight, I'd steer clear of that and give him someone else instead. And that person would be Chael Sonnen, regardless of how his fight with Wanderlei Silva works out. While Davis couldn't take him down, Chael would definitely have a shot at doing it and it would be an excellent matchup for both men.
Phil Davis - Mr. Wonderful has fallen on hard times pretty quickly. He went from trying to talk up a fight with the champ to having the champ make fun of him at the post-fight press conference. He had nothing for Johnson and it's obvious that he's still pretty one-dimensional. He's definitely still a top talent, but he's out of the title hunt for now. I'd like to see him deal with another power puncher next, and that guy is Jimi Manuwa. He'll be looking to rebound from his first loss and Davis is a pretty stiff test for him. Either that or he could meet the loser of the Ryan Bader vs. Rafael Cavalcante fight at UFC 174.
Luke Rockhold - Luke's in a weird position. He badly wants a rematch with Vitor Belfort, who beat him last year. But he doesn't seem to want to consider a rematch with Ronaldo Souza because he already beat him. If it's good for Vitor, why isn't it for Rockhold? That's the right matchup to make right now (the one with Jacare), and I hope the UFC does it. Fighting Michael Bisping does nothing for him at this point.
Tim Boetsch - He's definitely a tough guy, but he has lost three of his last four and his single (controversial) win was over an unranked fighter. I doubt very much that he'll be getting potential title contenders any time soon, so who would be an interesting matchup for him next? I personally think that Brad Tavares would be the best solution to see who is still worthy of being in the top 15.
Jim Miller - He asked for someone above him in the rankings after his awesome win, and he deserves it. Most want to see him fight Khabib Nurmagomedov next and I would love to see that bout, but I think Khabib is destined for a top contender's bout the next time he enters the octagon. A fight with Donald Cerrone sounds like all sorts of fun, so that would be my first choice.
Yancy Medeiros - I don't really think there's much to take away from this loss - Medeiros took the bump up to a much tougher opponent on short notice and couldn't hang with one of the best in the world. That's okay right now. He's only 26 with 12 pro fights, and there's plenty of time to work his way back up. For now though, he'll go back to a level of opponent that suits him. A good potential next opponent might be a guy that lost a narrow decision on the undercard of UFC 172, Isaac Vallie-Flagg.
Max Holloway - That was a big win for Holloway, and it's crazy that the guy already has eight UFC fights at 22 years old. I think it's time to start giving him guys on the edge of the top 15 again, and a perfect candidate in my eyes would be Diego Brandao if he wins his fight at the TUF 3 Finale.
Andre Fili - Fili had a lot of hype behind him and he showed a lot of good things in the fight, but it's pretty obvious that the loss was a setback for him. He'll probably get another younger featherweight next to test his skills against, and a good candidate might be Sean Soriano.