UFC on FOX 2 Results: 5 Fights for Evan Dunham to Take Next
It wasn't all that long ago that Evan Dunham was thought to be on the short list of contenders for the UFC lightweight strap.
However, the Xtreme Couture product succumbed to back-to-back losses which sent him to the tail end of the of the division. Since then, Dunham has rattled off a two-fight win streak, recently toppling Nik Lentz in a "Fight of the Night" performance on the UFC's second venture on the FOX network.
Now that Dunham has become a relevant and viable fighter in the division once again, where does he go from here?
Since winning Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter, Tony Ferguson has quietly worked his way up the lightweight rankings.
After his knockout victory over Ramsey Nijem in the show's finale, "El Cucuy" has topped veterans Aaron Riley and Yves Edwards. Those victories were a measuring stick of sorts, proving that Ferguson has the right kind of gusto to compete amongst the elite of his division.
Despite twice failing to capture the UFC's lightweight title from champion Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard is respected as one of the best in his class and for good reason.
A hard-nosed wrestler with knockout power in either hand, Maynard is a nightmare for anyone he steps inside the cage with.
In fact, his lone career loss came at the expense of the aforementioned Edgar, who's own lone loss came at the hands of "The Bully." The rivalry cultivated lots of interest in their second outing, their "Fight of the Year" battle in January 2011.
Joe Lauzon-Anthony Pettis Winner
The high flying Anthony Pettis and Joe Lauzon square off this February in a pivotal lightweight affair.
The former WEC lightweight champion had a rough start in the UFC, losing a lackluster decision to contender Clay Guida, though "Showtime" stormed back with a decision win over the heavy-hitting Jeremy Stephens.
Lauzon went from the middle of the pack right into title contention with a surprise submission victory over then-contender Melvin Guillard, submitting the spitfire lightweight in just 47 seconds.
Pettis and Lauzon will meet at UFC 144, which serves as the organization's first endeavor in Japan in more than a decade.
Nate Diaz-Jim Miller Winner
Though he went 2-2 in the welterweight division, Nate Diaz has come back to the lightweight class with a vengeance.
The enigmatic Season 5 winner of The Ultimate Fighter recently earned a decisive decision victory over contender Donald Cerrone, out-slugging the Greg Jackson product for three rounds whilst taking home "Fight of the Night" honors.
Jim Miller recently got back to his winning ways when he took on Melvin Guillard in the first ever UFC on FX event, submitting the wily fighter inside of the first round. It was a rocky start for the New Jersey fighter as "The Young Assassin" sat Miller with a quick combination, though the AMA fighter showed his resolve by deftly taking Guillard's back and earning the rear-naked choke finish.
Now, both Diaz and Miller will be featured on the UFC's third endeavor on the FOX network, which is targeted for May 5th.
Former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk and Evan Dunham are very familiar with one another.
The two initially met in September of 2010 where the duo engaged in a "Fight of the Night" worthy performance. Dunham's reach and decisive striking kept Sherk at bay, though the Minnesota wrestler worked the jiu-jitsu whiz to the mat on several occasions.
In the end, Sherk took home a hotly contested split decision, which many believed that Dunham rightfully should have won.
Now that Dunham is back to his winning ways, the Oregon native could serve well as the welcoming back party for Sherk, who has since been on the mend from several injuries sustained over the years.