LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 26: Jamie Varner (R) reacts to his knockout victory of Edson Barboza during a lightweight bout at UFC 146 at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 26, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
I never thought I'd type the words I'm about to type, but here we go: Jamie Varner, in my mind, was one of the biggest stars coming out of UFC 146.
Varner, long since left for dead by Zuffa and MMA fans around the world, took a fight with the undefeated Edson Barboza on short notice. He wasn't expected to survive the first round.
But Varner didn't just survive the first round; he crushed Barboza in the first, winning by knockout. The former WEC lightweight champion utterly dominated the hyped Brazilian and turned a crowd that was completely against him at the outset of the fight in his favor by the end.
It was an emotional moment and one of the coolest things I witnessed on the card. And now, for Varner's next trick, I suggest we go back to an old rivalry from the WEC days and complete his trilogy with Donald Cerrone.
Sure, Cerrone is much higher in the pecking order than Varner at the moment. But that doesn't matter when you have deep hatred between two fighters. The history between Cerrone and Varner is an easy story to sell, and both guys have the personality to turn this into a featured bout. And if Varner is actually back, for real this time, he'll have the skills to make it a competitive fight with his long-time nemesis.
You can't tell me you aren't interested in seeing these two tangle for a third time. I sure am.