UFC on FX 1 Results: 5 Fights for Mike Easton to Take Next
Mike Easton put on the fight of the night and unfortunately didn't get awarded his prize money. He did get a lot of attention, though, and he can parlay it into a bigger fight for himself.
The only problem is that he has only fought twice for the UFC and both fights were against less-than-impressive opposition. Before he can get himself into the bigger fights at bantamweight, he is going to need to win against a few solid names so people get to know him.
Easton may have a lot of promise, but before he can challenge top fighters and champions, he has to earn his way.
If he keeps fighting the way he did on Friday, it won't take long.
Jeff Curran hasn't won a fight in the Octagon. He very rarely ever won a fight in WEC.
The UFC brought him in because he was a tricky veteran who has faced the top guys in the division. His worst loss was against Urijah Faber, in which he lost by guillotine choke in the second round.
Curran could bring a lot to the table in testing Easton and seeing if the young bantamweight is really ready for the next level.
If Easton can beat Swanson, then he will be ready to take on serious contenders. If not, then he still has some things he needs to learn.
Nothing in Menjivar's record makes him stick out. He has fought all over the world and has a decent number of submissions and knockouts to his record, but nothing really defines him.
That is just the fight Easton needs.
In a fighter who doesn't seem to excel in any one thing, fans can see what Easton will rely on when things get dicey.
They will also get to see what happens when he fights someone who isn't a UFC newcomer, but someone who has won their last two fights in the Octagon.
If he struggles, then he stands in the middle of the pack.
If he loses, he might need to pack up and learn more.
Going in the opposite direction is a potential fight with Nick Denis.
Both are newcomers to the UFC, and though Denis only needed 22 seconds to dispatch his opponent, he could wait for a fight with Easton.
Both guys are young and hungry, and a fight between the two could be quick and explosive or long and exciting. Either way is fine and would leave fans wanting to see both men compete in the cage again.
They would also reveal a little more of what each can do to the viewing audience.
Jabouin has a lot of experience, but he has also struggled in his last few fights. In his last two bouts, Jabouin has walked away with a split decision.
Jabouin is a talented puncher, but he loses to anyone over a certain level. He seems to be a gatekeeper for which fighters should be in the UFC. Right now, he is doing well, but his past indicates that as soon as he steps up, he will lose.
That doesn't mean he hasn't made the losses he has been in any less competitive. His fight with Mark Hominick was one of the best of 2010.
Instead of matching him with a top contender, he could be put in with Easton, who might not be able to beat him or could flatten him, as a few of his opponents have done.
Jabouin would be a great litmus test and could show fans that Easton is ready for prime time or that Jabouin deserves to fight a higher level of opponent.
The ultimate gatekeeper at bantamweight, Mizugaki has only lost to former champions and a top contender. Anyone else loses to him, even if it is by a narrow margin.
The gutsy Japanese fighter has no quit in him and didn't even tap when Urijah Faber choked him out. Instead, Faber had to alert the referee that his opponent had passed out.
Mizugaki doesn't have power and he won't submit his opponents, but he will trade with them and do whatever he can to go the distance. A fight between him and Easton would easily become a candidate for fight of the year.
Easton would have his heart and body tested in a battle with Mizugaki. If Easton won, he would instantly get himself serious credibility as a top fighter in the division.
And if he lost, he would at least have a large bonus check to make up for it.
Matthew Hemphill writes for the MMA and professional wrestling portion of Bleacher Report. He also hosts a blog elbaexiled.blogspot.com which focuses on books, music, comic books, video games, film, and generally anything that could be related to the realms of nerdom.