Coming in to UFC 146, Edson Barboza was put on a pedestal. Veteran Jamie Varner kicked it out from under him.
With an extravagant striking arsenal and a want to stand and trade, Barboza is a crowd-pleaser. The 26-year-old is still growing as a fighter, and the loss to the former WEC World Champion will help his growth.
Barboza's next fight will serve to put him back on the winning track and inch him closer to the tall, tall ladder of the UFC's Lightweight division.
The Brazilian already holds UFC wins over three tough lightweights, so there is no need to throw Barboza a sacrificial lamb. Let's look ahead at five potential opponents that will get the fan favorite back in the 155-pound discussion.