Rashad Evans came up short in his bid to regain the light heavyweight championship, but there are some intriguing fights for him in the division.
His likelihood of elevating to another title shot is slim, but possible. He'll have to make himself the clear No. 1 contender to do so. Perhaps a victory over one of these fighters will point him in the right direction.
In finding that the consensus opinion for a bounce-back fight for Rashad Evans should be Lyoto Machida. Both men are coming off loses to Jon Jones and need a win to work their way back up.
This will also give Evans a chance to avenge the brutal knockout that plagues his win/loss record. Both men know how each other fight and the UFC would have no problem promoting a battle of former champions.
Ryan Bader is coming off a decent win over a disinterested and out of shape Rampage Jackson and needs to string some wins together to move up the light heavyweight ladder.
A win over Rashad would catapult him into more meaningful fights and give him victories over a couple former champions.
For Rashad this would be a win over a solid opponent. This won't get him back in the title picture, but it would help his confidence and show that he still belongs in the top tier.
The injury-plagued Antonio Rogerio Nogueira would be a good rebound fight for Rashad Evans also.
Nogueira was supposed to fight Alexander Gustaffson but withdrew due to a knee injury. Provided that he is healthy, a win over Evans would do wonders for any title aspirations Lil Nog has.
For Evans, this would serve solely as a confidence builder against a veteran opponent. A win won't necessarily do wonders for his stock in the division, but it would get him on the left side of the win-loss column.
Another good opponent would be Vladimir Matyushenko.
Matyushenko is also coming off a loss, so a win over a top-five opponent in the division would revive any last ditch title hopes he may have had. Vladimir Matyushenko is a veteran of the fight game, and is very crafty. His power would test Rashad's "suspect" chin.
For Rashad, similar to the other fights, it would give him a confidence and relevancy boost. But he'd still have an uphill climb back to the top.
I know this would take a lot of finagling, but Gegard Mousasi would be a good test for Rashad Evans.
The former Strikeforce Champion is coming off a victory over Ovince St. Preux, but who wouldn't want to test themselves in the best fighting organization? A victory over Rashad would create a new contender for the light heavyweight belt and clear any "cleaned out the division" murmers.
An Evans victory would further cement into fans' minds that Strikeforce talent is inferior to the UFC (for the most part). However, it would be a good test against a solid striker.