8 Fighters 1 Win Away from a UFC Title Shot

Cody Guinn@@CKissGuinnContributor IIIAugust 27, 2012

8 Fighters 1 Win Away from a UFC Title Shot

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    When you look at the current champions in the UFC, one can't help but wonder who will be the next man to challenge.

    Now, the majority of the champs already have their next fight booked, but if you're like me, you're always looking one step further.

    So, we already know that Cain Velasquez, Vitor Belfort, Lyoto Machida, Carlos Condit, Johny Hendricks, Martin Kampmann, Nate Diaz and Erik Koch are all in the title picture.

    But who will be next?

    Here are eight fighters that you may be surprised to know are just one win away from a title shot.

Chan Sung Jung

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    The "Korean Zombie" has looked a little more impressive in each of his last three appearances inside the Octagon.

    It started in his debut when he submitted Leonard Garcia with a twister, which he followed up with a one-punch knockout of Mark Hominick in Canada.

    Most recently, Jung defeated Dustin Poirier by submission in a Fight of the Year candidate. It's not been announced who Jung will face next, but a win could set up Jung with a future title shot.

Fabricio Werdum

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    The heavyweight picture is a crowded one, as heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos will rematch with Cain Velasquez later this year, and Daniel Cormier makes his final appearance with Strikeforce against Frank Mir here in a couple months.

    Also, we can't forget about Alistair Overeem still waiting on a title shot.

    The forgotten man in all of this is Fabricio Werdum.

    Since returning to the UFC earlier this year, Werdum has looked like a different fighter. He picked-up a dominant decision win over Roy Nelson and is coming off a first-round knockout win against Mike Russow in June.

    It's hard to tell who is next for Werdum, but another victory will definitely put his name in the mix for a title shot.

Chris Weidman

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    Many would say that Weidman has already done enough to earn a shot at Anderson Silva and the middleweight championship.

    While this may be true, it doesn't seem very likely that Weidman will get Silva next, so we could see Weidman face another opponent sometime this year, possibly Alan Belcher.

    Another decisive win for Weidman would likely secure a title shot at 185.

John Dodson

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    The flyweight division doesn't even have a champion yet, but whoever wins between Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson may find themselves matched up with John Dodson next.

    The flashy Dodson is coming off a decision win against Tim Elliott in May, and will next find himself in a big time flyweight battle against top-ranked Jussier da Silva in what will likely serve as a No. 1 contender fight.

Frankie Edgar

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    Edgar recently announced on Twitter that he will be taking his talents to the 145-pound division. Now, if Edgar would have made this move last February, he would have been able to receive an immediate title shot.

    But now coming off back-to-back losses, Edgar will have to win at least one fight at his new weight to earn a shot at the featherweight crown.

Michael McDonald

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    With Dominick Cruz still on the sidelines for some time, we can only hope that newly crowned interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao will make a title defense sometime soon.

    One contender who could be close to the top is Michael McDonald. McDonald is coming off a sharp knockout victory against Miguel Torres back in April.

    McDonald could next find himself in a matchup against Eddie Wineland or Mike Easton with title implications in effect.

Chad Mendes

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    "Money" Mendes has found himself in some hot water lately with his legal trouble, but the former top contender is still one of the top 145 fighters in the UFC.

    Fresh off his first-round stoppage win against Cody McKenzie, Mendes reinserted himself into the title picture.

    With both Chan Sung Jung and Frankie Edgar also being mentioned on this list, hopefully a matchup between two of the three men will clear up the next contender in the featherweight division.

Alexander Gustafsson

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    The UFC light heavyweight division is a mess right now to say the least.

    With Dan Henderson being injured and UFC 151 being scrapped, No. 2 contender Lyoto Machida turning down a UFC 152 title shot and now Vitor Belfort being randomly thrown into the mix, what's next for everybody at 205?

    One match has held strong and that's the UFC on Fox 5 205 clash between Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Alexander Gustafsson.

    Gustafsson is a fresh, new face in the light heavyweight division and I, for one, don't really want to see Jones-Machida II or Jones-Shogun II.

    A win against Rua would without question propel Gustafsson to the front of the line at 205 and set up a future date with Jon Jones.