The results of UFC 169 look like they're going to lead to some pretty predictable matchmaking. While the card mostly sucked other than the Trujillo/Varner bout, it made this article a little easier to write ( a day late - go Seahawks!). I'm going to skip the usual preamble and just get to it because the less I think about UFC 169, the better. Here's who each UFC 169 main card fighter should meet in their next bout.
Renan Barao - Barao has already dispatched all the credible challengers at 135 except one - former champ Dominick Cruz. I suppose Raphael Assuncao would be in line if be beats Francisco Rivera, but that bout's not exactly going to set the world on fire. I have no idea how long Cruz is out, but that's probably the best way to go if it's not too long.
Urijah Faber - This was a really tough spot for Faber - taking a title fight on short notice against a guy that has already beaten him. And he got hurt early in his camp to boot. Combine that with a quick stoppage, and you have a frustrated California Kid. Faber has fought nearly everyone in the top 10 at 135, so it might be time to think outside the box a bit with him. Maybe there's still a chance of him fighting Frankie Edgar once Edgar's done with B.J. Penn. That's a fight I really want to see, and I think it'd be great for the fans.
Jose Aldo - The answer to this is pretty easy - he's probably moving up to lightweight to challenge Anthony Pettis. I'm not really sure why he has to drop his belt though - they didn't make BJ do that when he went up to fight GSP the second time. But whatever, I think it's a great fight so I don't really care. Plus it'd make 145 a little more interesting, sort of like 170 is right now.
Ricardo Lamas - I thought he put in a decent showing against Aldo, certainly better than I expected. If Aldo does drop the title, I think he should fight Chad Mendes for the vacant belt. The only other guys in the running are Cub Swanson, who both Lamas and Mendes have beaten, and Edgar. Should it be Edgar/Lamas? Edgar/Mendes? I don't know. I think Lamas/Mendes is the way to go though.
Alistair Overeem - Most people think it's time for him to finally fight Junior dos Santos, but I don't agree. Beating Frank Mir so unconvincingly shouldn't get you a shot at the # 2 heavyweight in the world, especially coming off two losses before that. The man he should fight is the Super Samoan, Mark Hunt. They're at about the same spot right now and it'd be a hell of a rematch.
Frank Mir - He doesn't think he's going to retire, and I don't think he's going to get released, so what do you do with him? I think he'd be a great return bout for Stefan Struve, or put him in there with another submission guy, Gabriel Gonzaga.
Ali Bagautinov - It seems like he's the only real contender at flyweight at the moment, so I'm guessing his next opponent will be champ Demetrious Johnson. I'm not sure if Bagautinov poses a massive threat to DJ the way that Benavidez and Dodson did, but it's the best fight available right now.
John Lineker - Assuming he stays at 125, the loser of the Scott Jorgensen vs. Jussier Formiga fight at UFN 38 would be a credible opponent for him. Either that or Dustin Ortiz.
Abel Trujillo - That was an insane knockout. It's been two days and I still can't get over the impact of that shot. In terms of matchmaking, it seems pretty obvious that they should go back to the originally-scheduled bout between him and Bobby Green. It was good matchmaking before and it still is now.
Jamie Varner - Varner's been consistently entertaining since his UFC return despite dropping some bouts, so I hope they continue to use him in action fights. I'd like to see him fight Evan Dunham if Dunham comes up short against Mark Bocek in April. If not, how about Mac Danzig if they're going to keep him around?