The first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes was wrapped up on Friday night at UFC on FX 6, where coaches Ross Pearson and George Sotiropoulos scrapped in the main event and the winners of the show's two tournaments were crowned on the main card.
Lightweight Norman Parke became the first-ever champion of the new version of the UFC's reality series with a win over Colin Fletcher.
Following that bout, Robert Whittaker won the season's welterweight tournament by beating Brad Scott.
Now, it is time for Parke and Whittaker to represent The Ultimate Fighter by working their way up the ladder in their respective divisions.
Let's take a look at who could be next for the reality-show winners and the rest of the competitors on UFC on FX 6.
Nick Penner may have been finished in the first round of his first two UFC appearances, but the Canadian was more than competitive in his bout against Cody Donovan at UFC on FX 6.
Penner knocked Donovan down with an uppercut and possibly could have finished him with some more aggressive ground-and-pound.
Late in the opening frame, Donovan was able to clip Penner with a left hook that led to a stoppage. Despite the defeat, Penner showed he is deserving of a third and final chance to pick up a win inside the Octagon.
Chad Griggs was also finished in the first stanza of his two UFC bouts, so it seems like the two could square off in a loser-leaves-town bout.
Cody Donovan's UFC debut was far from flawless, but he found a way to come back from some early adversity to stop Nick Penner with punches.
I know the UFC likes to match winners up with winners and that Stanislav Nedkov is coming off of a poor performance against Thiago Silva. However, that fight has since been overturned to a no-contest, so Nedkov is technically still undefeated.
A bout between Nedkov and Donovan would give the Bulgarian the step down in competition he is likely in store for while not penalizing him too much for being bested by an opponent who ended up failing his drug test.
Following his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes, Brendan Loughnane suffered a tough defeat in a close fight with Mike Wilkinson. Despite the loss, Loughnane deserves one more shot to prove he belongs in the UFC, especially when considering the small amount of fighters from the reality series that the organization invited to the season finale.
If given another chance, Loughnane would likely meet an opponent who is coming off multiple losses, with the loser being released from the world's top MMA promotion.
A bout with Mitch Clarke, who has lost against John Cholish and Anton Kuivanen in his past two fights, would make sense for Loughnane should he remain with the UFC.
With his decision win over Brendan Loughnane, Mike Wilkinson ensured himself a few more appearances inside the Octagon.
At 25 years old, Wilkinson could have a bright future in MMA. However, in the UFC's brutal lightweight division, the Englishman will have to work his way up from the bottom of the barrel.
Jon Tuck is also coming off of his first win after appearing on The Ultimate Fighter. A bout between Wilkinson and the Guam native would allow one fighter to take another step forward.
Ben Alloway got off to a slow start in his Octagon debut, but he eventually was able to time a Manuel Rodriguez takedown attempt and counter with a front kick to the chin.
The 31-year-old Australian has a good amount of experience, so he could put a few wins together and finish his career in the big show, but he does still have some room for improvement.
For now, Alloway will have to prove himself against low-ranked welterweights. A bout with Marcelo Guimaraes, who also recently picked up a win in his first UFC bout, could be next for Alloway.
A six-fight winning streak earned Seth Baczynski a chance to compete with an upper-echelon welterweight at UFC on FX 6. Unfortunately, Baczynski failed his test against Mike Pierce by getting taken down repeatedly.
With his size and athleticism, Baczynski is still a fighter who could break through in the welterweight division at some point. However, the 31-year-old doesn't have all the time in the world to do so.
Against a well-known opponent like Amir Sadollah, Baczynski would be able to take a step backward in competition in a bout that people will still watch.
After a controversial loss to Josh Koscheck, Mike Pierce has officially bounced back after winning all three of his subsequent fights. Still, Pierce could probably use one more win over a fringe contender before he is given another shot at an elite welterweight.
With three straight wins of his own since a deflating loss to Mike Pyle, English grappler John Hathaway is also looking to emerge as a 170-pound contender.
Pierce and Hathaway would test each other's wrestling, and the winner would be more than deserving of a chance to compete against a top welterweight.
I have proposed this fight before and will continue to propose it until the UFC puts it together.
Many fans find clinch work boring, but both Igor Pokrajac and Kyle Kingsbury have a way of making it exciting, even if it is to their detriment like it was for the Croatian against Joey Beltran on Friday.
Pokrajac and Kingsbury have lost multiple fights and are in danger of being released from the UFC, so let's have them compete to decide which light heavyweight should stick around.
Years ago, a decision win over Igor Pokrajac would probably never render a fighter worthy of a bout with Matt Hamill. However, Hamill just returned from retirement and was somewhat disappointing in a victory over Roger Hollett.
Beltran is always entertaining, and Hamill is possibly the most popular noncontender in the light heavyweight division. A matchup between the two would draw a good bit of interest, which would give the winner some momentum as he looks to climb the 205-pound rankings.
Taking a fight with former featherweight title challenger Chad Mendes on short notice, Yaotzin Meza was given a tough task in his UFC debut. The result was a predictable loss, but Meza was able to get his foot in the door with the UFC in the process.
Meza needs a more realistic chance of victory in his next matchup. A bout with Sam Sicilia, who is coming off a loss to Rony Jason, would give him that.
With several new contenders emerging in the featherweight division, a few easy wins over low-ranked 145-pound fighters may not have been the worst thing for Chad Mendes. However, it's time for him to get back in the cage with an opponent who is somewhere close to his level.
The UFC won't want Mendes to eliminate a top contender with past opponent Jose Aldo still at the top of the division, so a bout with Dustin Poirier would make sense should "The Diamond" bounce back against Jonathan Brookins at The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale.
Easily disposed of by Hector Lombard, Rousimar Palhares probably doesn't deserve a fight with Mark Munoz, but the latter is in need of a rebound fight after being knocked out by Chris Weidman.
While this bout would seem like a mismatch to some given where both fighters stand in the middleweight division, Palhares presents some serious stylistic problems for Munoz.
A former NCAA champion wrestler, Munoz often looks to take opponents to the ground and unload with punches. If he were to use that strategy against Palhares, Munoz would almost certainly have to defend against the Brazilian's nasty leglocks.
After a disappointing UFC debut, Hector Lombard bounced back in impressive fashion by finishing Rousimar Palhares in the first round.
With plenty of middleweights in line for a championship bout, Lombard's loss to Tim Boetsch caused him to miss out on any title shots in the near future. Instead, he will need to take some fights with exciting opponents and gather as much attention as possible.
Lombard and Cung Le both began their combat careers as grapplers, though they have become almost exclusively known as strikers. Lombard was a top-notch judoka, while Le had plenty of success in amateur wrestling.
It would be interesting to see if either fighter looked to use his ground game in a matchup that would undoubtedly produce fireworks.
Colin Fletcher had no answer for the ground game of Norman Parke in the lightweight finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes. Nonetheless, the flamboyant Englishman has the potential to become a popular fighter and will probably get another chance or two to pick up his first UFC win.
A bout with Joe Proctor, another past The Ultimate Fighter contestant coming off of a loss, would give Fletcher a good opportunity to taste victory inside the Octagon for the first time.
At this point, the UFC would probably like to build up its The Ultimate Fighter winners rather than have them compete against one another. However, UFC president Dana White once said a time would come when reality-show winners from different parts of the globe would compete against one another (via MMAWeekly.com).
With four countries already competing in The Ultimate Fighter shows, why can't that time be now?
Fresh off his win over Colin Fletcher, Norman Parke is looking for his first non-The Ultimate Fighter bout in the UFC. Michael Chiesa is doing the same after having a scheduled bout canceled, so a bout with Parke would be interesting and could indicate which season of the reality series featured better talent.
Let's put aside the UFC's financial interests here and look through the eyes of the MMA fan.
The Ultimate Fighter 16 and The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes were run simultaneously, so why not treat their welterweight competitions as two different sides of an even larger tournament?
While the organization might want to move on and build up the fighters from those shows against UFC veterans, the fan in me wants to see which version of the reality show produced the better competitors.
Brad Scott should meet the loser of Saturday's fight between Colton Smith and Mike Ricci in what could essentially be seen as the consolation finals.
Robert Whittaker won The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes welterweight tournament with a decision victory over Brad Scott, but he may not be done with The Ultimate Fighter competition quite yet.
With the tournament concluding on the night before the TUF 16 welterweight tournament finale, there's no better time than now to start up a world cup of sorts between The Ultimate Fighter winners.
In 2013, Whittaker should meet the winner of the bout between The Ultimate Fighter 16 finalists Colton Smith and Mike Ricci.
Despite losing three straight fights, George Sotiropoulos is going to return to the Octagon. The UFC didn't ask him to coach The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes and headline a show on FX just to cut him loose after a loss.
That being said, Sotiropoulos needs a fight with a grappler to get him back on track. The Australian has been knocked out in two straight fights and will probably be stopped again should he be matched up with another striker who possesses decent takedown defense.
A jiu-jitsu black belt, Mark Bocek will roll with Sotiropoulos. Whether that turns out well for Sotiropoulos, we'll see, but at least he'll get to showcase the best aspect of his game for the first time in a long time.
Following his recent surprise knockout of Jeremy Stephens, I proposed Yves Edwards should be tested by a grappler like Jacob Volkmann. However, I am now retracting that potential matchup.
There's no need for a journeyman like Edwards to take fights that won't result in the most entertaining spectacle possible. Against Volkmann, Edwards would not be able to unleash his dynamic striking, but he potentially could in a matchup with Ross Pearson.
A fight between Edwards and Pearson has knockout finish written all over it. Let's hope UFC matchmaker Joe Silva finds a way to put this one together.