UFC on Fox 3 Results: Post-Fight Matchmaking for the Entire Fight Card
Only three fights into his return to the lightweight division, Nate Diaz has become a top contender in the UFC's most competitive weight class.
Following his submission win over Jim Miller at Saturday's UFC on Fox 3, Diaz decided he would wait for the winner of an upcoming title fight between champion Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar.
While Diaz's future now appears clear, the next steps for the remaining UFC on Fox 3 competitors are still uncertain. A title shot could also be in Johny Hendricks' future after he defeated Josh Koscheck in a narrow decision, but that chance could depend on a number of things surrounding Georges St-Pierre's recovery from injury.
With the UFC's third appearance on network television in the books, let's take a look at who will be next for all of the UFC on Fox 3 competitors.
Mike Massenzio vs. Alessio Sakara
Following his loss to Karlos Vemola at UFC on Fox 3, Mike Massenzio has now lost five of his past seven fights. The last time Massenzio lost two straight fights, he was released from the UFC, but he should get one more chance after performing well against Vemola in the opening round.
However, Massenzio's next bout will likely be a win-or-leave-the-UFC contest against another fighter who has fallen on hard times.
Though Sakara has faced stiff competition against Brian Stann and Chris Weidman in his past two fights, he has gone more than two years without a victory and could need a win in his next fight to remain on the UFC roster.
Karlos Vemola vs. Brad Tavares-Dongi Yang Winner
Though he didn't get off to a great start against Mike Massenzio, Karlos Vemola turned things around quickly in the second round of his fight on Saturday night to pick up a submission win in his middleweight debut.
The 26-year-old Vemola still has plenty to work on before he can become a serious contender, but his size in the 185-pound division certainly gives him an advantage over most opponents.
A bout with the winner of a UFC on Fuel TV 3 fight between Brad Tavares and Dongi Yang would give a strong indication of where Vemola currently stands in the middleweight division.
Nick Denis vs. Yves Jabouin-Jeff Hougland Loser
After rocking Roland Delorme, Nick Denis was clipped by a hook and submitted with only one second remaining in the opening round of his UFC on Fox 3 fight.
Despite the defeat, Denis has showed a lot of potential in his first two Octagon appearances and should have a bright future in the UFC.
That being said, Denis will need to a take a step back and meet an opponent who is also coming off a loss in his next fight.
A matchup with the loser of a UFC on Fuel TV 3 fight between Yves Jabouin and Jeff Hougland would make the most sense for Denis' return from his first UFC loss.
Roland Delorme vs. Yves Jabouin-Jeff Hougland Winner
In a come-from-behind victory against Nick Denis, Roland Delorme picked up his second straight win and solidified his spot on the UFC roster. Despite the win, though, Delorme still has a long way to climb in the bantamweight division.
A bout between Delorme and the winner of a UFC on Fuel TV 3 fight featuring Yves Jabouin and Jeff Hougland would give the former The Ultimate Fighter contestant a chance to begin his ascent in the 135-pound rankings.
Pablo Garza vs. Cole Miller
Pablo Garza had no answer for the wrestling of Dennis Bermudez at UFC on Fox 3, but the fighter who recently secured a flying triangle choke against Yves Jabouin remains an exciting fighter to watch and should get another chance inside the Octagon.
For Garza's next appearance, a matchup with a fellow towering featherweight in Cole Miller could be intriguing. Both fighters are very dangerous on the ground and aren't afraid to throw leather on their feet, either.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Jason Young
After falling one victory short of winning The Ultimate Fighter, Dennis Bermudez bounced back in a big way on Saturday, dominating a dangerous UFC veteran in Pablo Garza.
The 25-year-old Bermudez is a very promising featherweight and shouldn't be rushed along so early in his career. A bout with another up-and-comer in Jason Young would allow Bermudez to progress without taking too big of a leap upwards in competition.
Louis Gaudinot vs. Darren Uyenoyama
With the flyweight division still taking shape, wins are more important than ever for the 125-pound fighters on the UFC's roster. By picking up a win at UFC on Fox 3, Louis Gaudinot has already set himself up to become a title contender after the inaugural flyweight champion is determined later this year.
Forced out of UFC on Fox 3 due to injury, Darren Uyenoyama missed out on an opportunity to take an early lead in the race to become the first flyweight title challenger in UFC history. Once he's healthy, let's give Uyenoyama a chance to jump back into the mix with a fight against Gaudinot.
Pascal Krauss vs. Stephen Thompson
After a long layoff, Pascal Krauss suffered the first loss of his career on Saturday. Though he walked away without a victory, Krauss showed a solid chin against John Hathaway and still possesses a decent ground game.
Also coming off a defeat, Stephen Thompson needs to show improvement in his ground game to prove he is a UFC-level fighter. With the potential ability to eat Thompson's hardest shots, Krauss is the perfect opponent to test Thompson's ability to improve quickly on the ground.
John Hathaway vs. John Maguire
Despite missing action for more than one year, John Hathaway picked up where he left off by defeating Pascal Krauss at UFC on Fox 3.
Now, Hathaway will try to regain the momentum he had before losing to Mike Pyle in October 2010. A bout against fellow Englishman John Maguire would bring attention from British fans and could lead to a rare grappling match between European fighters.
Tim Elliott vs. John Lineker
Tim Elliott and John Lineker both came up short in their UFC debut on Saturday, but the pair also were very entertaining and competitive in their respective performances against John Dodson and Louis Gaudinot.
There's a very good chance that both fighters will meet UFC newcomers in their next appearance, but they are the most logical adversaries for each other as the UFC's roster currently stands.
John Dodson vs. Chris Cariaso
John Dodson was victorious over Tim Elliott at UFC on Fox 3, but "The Magician" wasn't as dominant as many would have expected the potential flyweight title contender to be.
Before he competes against the likes of Joseph Benavidez, Demetrious Johnson or Ian McCall, let's see Dodson handle himself against a UFC veteran like Chris Cariaso, who has won three of his past four and is expected to make the move to the flyweight division for his next fight.
Tony Ferguson vs. John Cholish
At UFC on Fox 3, The Ultimate Fighter winner Tony Ferguson and John Cholish both suffered the first losses of their UFC careers.
In an unforgiving lightweight division, both fighters will have to get things turned around quickly to assure they are not lost in the mix of the UFC's deepest division. A bout between Ferguson and Cholish would ensure that one fighter would get himself back on track.
Michael Johnson vs. Danny Castillo
With their victories on Saturday, Michael Johnson and Danny Castillo are quickly putting together solid strings of victories in the lightweight division.
After their respective wins, Johnson and Castillo may be one more win away from getting a chance to meet up with a lightweight contender.
Let's match Johnson and Castillo against one another to see which fighter is more prepared for the step up in competition.
Pat Barry vs. Brendan Schaub
With two knockout losses in his past four fights, Pat Barry's kickboxing hasn't been nearly as good as advertised as of late. Couple that with his sub-par ground game and Barry is nearing an exit from the UFC roster if he doesn't turn things around quickly.
For better or worse, Barry does deliver exciting exchanges on his feet. A bout between Barry and Brendan Schaub, whose chin has come into question recently, would almost certainly end in a spectacular knockout.
Lavar Johnson vs. Roy Nelson-Dave Herman Winner
Lavar Johnson may have scored back-to-back highlight-reel knockouts, but nearly being submitted by Pat Barry shows that the former Strikeforce heavyweight is still a long way from becoming a serious contender in the UFC.
That being said, there is a lot of hype surrounding Johnson now, so let's give him a wake-up call in the form of the winner of a Roy Nelson-Dave Herman fight at UFC 146. In all likelihood, Nelson will win that fight and could use a resume-building fight against Johnson to return to contention.
Rousimar Palhares vs. Kyle Noke
Rousimar Palhares' loss to Alan Belcher at UFC on Fox 3 was extremely damaging for the 32-year-old's title hopes. Despite taking the fight to the ground, Palhares was unable to finish the fight with one of his signature leg locks and ended up eating some big elbows.
Now, it's back to the drawing board for the Brazilian, who will return to tearing up the knees of mid-tier middleweights. It seems cruel considering the Australian Kyle Noke has suffered leg injuries in each of his past two fights, but a bout against Noke would make sense for Palhares.
Alan Belcher vs. Vitor Belfort-Wanderlei Silva Winner
By surviving Rousimar Palhares' submission attempts and landing huge elbows, Alan Belcher picked up the biggest win over his MMA career on Saturday. The win also confirmed Belcher's preparedness to compete with the best middleweights in the world.
Unfortunately, most of the top 185-pound fighters in the UFC are already locked into fights. Considering the quick victory over Palhares, Belcher will probably want to return to the Octagon as soon as possible to maintain his momentum.
A bout against the winner of an upcoming Vitor Belfort-Wanderlei Silva matchup would probably make the most sense for Belcher at this point.
Josh Koscheck vs. Rory MacDonald
After another heartbreaking loss against an elite welterweight, Josh Koscheck will have some decision making to do in terms of his future in the 170-pound division. A move to middleweight is an option, but there are still some exciting fights for Koscheck at welterweight.
Unless Georges St-Pierre loses the title in the very near future, Koscheck will probably be used as a measuring stick for up-and-coming talent like Rory MacDonald.
MacDonald needs an opponent who can challenge him, and Koscheck is capable of giving just about any 170-pound fighter a tough test.
Johny Hendricks vs. Jake Ellenberger-Martin Kampmann Winner
Though controversial, Johny Hendricks' win over Josh Koscheck at UFC on Fox 3 earned him a shot at the welterweight belt should he decide to wait for it.
While I wouldn't fault Hendricks for shelving himself for what could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance, it would seem like a poor decision for the UFC to allow one of the division's best fighters to sit out for more than half of a year.
There are other contenders for Hendricks to square off against while champion Georges St-Pierre heals and prepares for a fight against interim champion Carlos Condit.
Should Jake Ellenberger defeat Martin Kampmann in June, a bout between Hendricks and Ellenberger to determine who will meet the winner of the St-Pierre-Condit fight seems to make all the sense in the world.
Jim Miller vs. Donald Cerrone-Jeremy Stephens Loser
Forced to tap for the first time in his career and having lost two of his past three fights, Jim Miller's standing in the lightweight division has taken a hit.
Now, Miller will need to work his back toward contention in what is arguably the toughest division in the sport to earn a title shot.
A bout with the loser of an upcoming Donald Cerrone-Jeremy Stephens fight would give Miller the chance to pick up a big win and bounce back.
Nate Diaz vs. Benson Henderson-Frankie Edgar Winner
Nate Diaz's return to the lightweight division couldn't have been timed any better, as it has only taken him three fights to become the division's top contender behind Frankie Edgar.
Currently gone from Diaz's prior stint as a 155-pound fighter are B.J. Penn and Kenny Florian. Gray Maynard needs a few wins before he gets another title shot, especially if Edgar regains the lightweight belt.
An Anthony Pettis injury has him at least one more win away from finally receiving a spot in a UFC championship fight.
With all that being said, Diaz has earned and chosen to wait for his chance to meet the winner of an upcoming fight between Edgar and champion Benson Henderson.
Sean Smith is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. For the latest insight and updates on everything MMA, Follow Sean Smith on Twitter