Last night’s UFC 145 event solidified Jon Jones status as one of the sport’s pound-for-pound best, but the event also helped a number of fighters rise to prominence in their respective divisions, including a few potential stars of the future.
Below we suggest what may be next for the night’s big winners.
With another former champion Rashad Evans despatched in convincing fashion the reality is that there’s few big tests left of Jones at 205lbs.
However, there is one man who he’s not faced yet who could offer a suitable challenge and that’s former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champio Dan Henderson.
Henderson’s been waiting patiently for his shot at the title and last night Dana White confirmed he will be handed the opportunity after racking up big wins over the likes of Fedor Emelianenko and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua in recent times.
Still only 22 years of age MacDonald appears to have all the makings of a future welterweight champion and he deserves a big name fight next time out to help him step closer to achieving that goal.
Things could get awkward if they rush him up the ranks however as both he had current champion Georges St.Pierre have said they won’t fight each other, so it’s unlikely they’ll rush him into a No.1 contenders bout just yet.
Carlos Condit will get the next shot at GSP and I believe the winner of Martin Kampmann Vs jake Ellenberger could be next up after that, so I can see MacDonald going up against the winner of UFC On FOX 3’s Johny Hendricks Vs Josh Koscheck fight.
Rothwell came in looking in great shape for this fight and he produced the biggest and most spectacular win of his UFC career to date by KO’ing Brendan Schaub which finally helps put him on the heavyweight map.
The UFC could certainly use another solid heavyweight contender right now and so I think they’ll put him in another reasonably meaningful fight next time out, and I think Matt Mitrione, who’s looking to rebound after the first loss of his career, would be a good test for him.
A quick KO victory over Miguel Torres last night was huge for McDonald and singles him out as a real force to be reckoned with in the bantamweight ranks.
The only other man to knockout Torres is Brian Bowles, another talented striker and former WEC Champion, making him a good step forward next for the 21 year-old on the road to title contention.
A surprise victory over Mark Hominick hands Yagin his first win in the UFC, but I don’t think he’s ready to be thrown in with the top contenders in the featherweight division just yet.
Marcus Brimage is another featherweight who picked up a win at UFC 145 last night and like Yagin he relishes the opportunity to engage in a stand-up battle so let’s put them into the Octagon together next and see who emerges victorious.
Bocek put on technical display of grappling last night against late replacement John Alessio that helped him emerge with a comfortable, if a little dull decision win, but doesn’t do a whole lot to move him up the lightweight ladder.
The 30 year-old was originally scheduled to face Matt Wiman at last night’s show before injury struck and that still seems like a logical next step for him next.