It almost seemed preordained.
How could John Dodson not earn that title fight with Demetrious Johnson? He's like Johnson's radioactive evil twin.
But that's another discussion. Last night at UFC on FX 5 in Minneapolis, Dodson's opponent was Jussier Formiga, a highly respected jiu-jitsu standout making his UFC debut.
Formiga, who had plainly added some needed bulk to his heretofore scrawny frame, landed a few hard counter-shots on Dodson. But his takedown attempts seemed to glance off the stocky and fleet-footed Dodson; this fact, despite Formiga's decent-looking standup, made a Dodson victory inevitable. Dodson probably has the best standup in the flyweight division, and he showed it with a second-round TKO.
But Formiga is still a top flyweight talent, and he's far from done in the UFC. Here are five possibilities for his next opponent.
He pulled out of a bout with Darren Uyenoyama because of an injury, but I haven't seen anything about an extended absence. He withdrew in August, so it's not unreasonable to think the green monster might be ready in three months' time. It would be a good fight, too. He defeated Lineker in his last fight, which was also his first in the UFC as a flyweight.
The UFC doesn't always like to pair up winners and losers, but in a shallow division like flyweight, and given Formiga's still-elite status, I think exceptions can be made in this case.
John Lineker is coming off a hard-fought loss to Louis Gaudinot. Urushitani is coming off a hard loss to Joseph Benavidez. The loser gets a boost into the top half of the division. The loser could be facing Formiga.
John Moraga put himself on the map by knocking out Ulysses Gomez in his UFC debut in August. Could Formiga get the better of the former D-1 wrestler on the ground?
One of these guys could get right into Dana White's infamous "mix" with a win in this fight, especially the streaking Chris Cariaso.
Perhaps the most complicated non-Russian surname in MMA threw some crazy strikes to start the bout against Phil Harris, but he settled down in the second, got Harris' back and choked him out.
These two would be a very good test for each other. Is Formiga's improved standup really that improved? Could Darren U. stand up to Formiga on the ground?
If I was Joe Silva, this is the fight I would make.