In the past week, as part of our featured article on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, we asked you to vote for who you would like to see the Brazilian light heavyweight fighter step into the octagon with next.
It would appear that there was little doubt for the majority of you, as former LHW champ Forrest Griffin came top of the poll with 44% of the vote. I would tend to agree that this would be an excellent bout for Nogueira at this stage. As I mentioned in the article, Nogueira’s skill-set is similar, but I believe superior to Griffin’s, and a win over a well known fighter like this would be a major boost to his chances of securing a title shot in 2010.
Of the other available options a rematch with Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua was also on the agenda for 20% of you. In some ways I’m surprised that more people didn’t vote for this option considering the previous bout was a genuine MMA classic, but perhaps the thinking was that he should have another fight first while Rua deals with his upcoming rematch against Lyoto Machida in May.
Just behind Rua in the poll was current TUF 10 coach Rashad Evans with 19% of the vote. Evans is of course another former champion who would provide a stern challenge to Nogueira, though he has to get past Thiago Silva (who received just 5% of the vote) at UFC 108 first.
Coming off a controversial loss against Randy Couture, Brandon Vera still did enough to make 10% of you choose him as Nogueira’s next opponent. I’d be interested to see how the stand-up battle between these two would pan out, but right now I think Little Nog needs to fight a higher ranked fighter to fully establish himself as a top contender in the division.
Lyoto Machida recently stated that he didn’t want to fight Noguiera who is also part of the Black House stable which is probably just as well since only 2% of you wanted to see that one next. I think it would be a great match, but the rematch with Shogun Rua -whether he wins the title or not – would be more appealing.
Full Poll Results:
Forrest Griffin: 44%
Shogun Rua: 20%
Rashad Evans: 19%
Brandon Vera: 10%
Thiago Silva: 5%
Lyoto Machida: 2%