While Miocic came out second best at UFC on Fox 13, he did show flashes of brilliance in the fight against a former UFC Heavyweight champion.
The Croatian-American started out strong, having gotten the best out of most of the exchanges between him and JDS throughout the first two rounds.
Although Miocic’s cardio suffered for the last three rounds, he was still able to land some solid shots and did not allow himself to be fully dominated and overwhelmed by Dos Santos.
The performance may not have been good enough to get him the win, but it was good enough to show fans and critics that he has improved since his first ever loss to Struve back in September 2012.
As a result it is unlikely that his stock will decrease sharply and he will likely still be seen as a top ten fighter.
There are a few solid possibilities and opponents for Miocic as he aims to get back in the win column in 2015.
One name that almost immediately pops up is Mark Hunt. Although he is no spring chicken at 40, the Samoan-New Zealand-Australian has showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division after a solid performance against Werdum.
He may have been finished in that fight, but his performance before the knockout – especially given the fact he took the fight with a few weeks’ notice – showed that he is well and truly a top ten fighter.
Both Hunt and Miocic have shown themselves to prefer the striking game, although both are also competent on the ground.
Both fighters have also shown an ability to take hard punches, which helps make a Hunt vs. Miocic one that could potentially be fireworks.
Given their respective places in the UFC Heavyweight division, their ethnic backgrounds and the potential entertaining nature of the fight, a Miocic-Hunt match up would be a solid co-Main Event or Main Event on a European or Australian fight card.
Another potential next opponent for Miocic is Soa Palelei, who recently put himself back into the win column with a TKO win over Walt Harris.
Palelei has won four fights since his return to the UFC, all by TKO/KO stoppage. However, ‘the Hulk’ also lost in a one-sided match against Jared Rosholt in June.
That may arguably make a match between him and Miocic a premature one to make, but Palelei’s size and strength do make him a threat to most fighters in the UFC Heavyweight division.
Like the Hunt match up, a Miocic vs. Palelei match up would make a solid co-Main Event on an European or Australian fight card.