Rising heavyweight Stipe Miocic suffered the first loss in his MMA career at the hands of Stefan Struve at UFC on Fuel TV.
The 30-year-old Miocic was on a tear since entering the UFC, earning three consecutive victories against some pretty stiff competition in Joey Beltran, Phil de Fries and Shane Del Rosario, but he wasn't quite up to the task of beating a very game Struve.
Despite a great showing in the first round and a good overall effort, Struve was able to put Miocic away in the second round. However, this isn't all bad for Miocic; sometimes a loss is what a fighter really needs to improve.
There's no questioning Miocic's ability—he's a well-rounded fighter who has a bright future in the UFC, but he'll need a win in his next trip out if he wants to salvage the momentum he had going before this loss.
Here are three opponents for Miocic that would offer him a challenge and the opportunity to get back in the mix.
Jordan entered the UFC with a bang, defeating heralded prospect Oli Thompson rather soundly by TKO in the second round.
Then he took a huge step up in competition, dropping an ugly bout with Cheick Kongo by unanimous decision.
Miocic took a similar step up in competition and took a loss much like Jordan did, so they find each other in similar situations. Jordan possesses great knockout power and would provide Miocic a winnable matchup that would test his chin.
Sounds like a good matchup for a fighter coming off a knockout loss.
If the UFC is able to put together a catchweight bout between Mitrione and Rampage Jackson, disregard everything you are about to read.
If the UFC can't or doesn't want to make a match like that happen, then Stipe Miocic and Mitrione would be a nice substitute for fans.
Both guys have flashed some promise as newcomers to the sport and both are probably a little too long in the tooth to be considered "prospects" so why not have the two of them fight it out to see who remains relevant for a while longer?
Russow recently suffered a momentum-killing first round loss to Fabricio Werdum by way of TKO, but before that he was busy pulling upset after upset in the UFC.
The hefty Russow is always fun to watch and willing to exchange in the pocket and should test Miocic's chin on occasion. Given that both fighters are well rounded, this fight could go anywhere.
Russow hasn't been all that active, only fighting once or twice a year since 2009, but if he's interested in getting into the Octagon soon, Miocic would be an interesting option for him. Both fighters are coming off losses that will set them back, and a win for Miocic would put him back on track to make another step up in competition.
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