10 Potential Fights for UFC on Fox 7
The UFC announced last week that they will be returning to San Jose, Calif., as UFC on Fox 7 will be taking place at the HP Pavilion. No fights at this time have been announced for the show.
The UFC was last in San Jose for UFC on Fuel TV 4, which took place in July with a card headlined by Chris Weidman against Mark Munoz.
The HP Pavilion is the arena that Strikeforce used to hold a majority of their shows. The promotion is closing after their event on Saturday.
Could we see old Strikeforce guys on UFC on Fox 7. Grab the popcorn and let's take a look.
Daniel Cormier vs. Frank Mir
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This fight was originally supposed to happen at the November Strikeforce event, but Mir had to bow out of the fight due to a knee injury. Cormier will now be facing Dion Starling coming up on Saturday night at the final Strikeforce show.
Cormier recently signed a contract with the UFC and will be heading there after the fight. The question has been who will Cormier face in his Octagon debut.
Mir is a former UFC heavyweight champion and would be more than a formidable test for Cormier's octagon debut. Cormier recently stated that he would like to face Mir at the Fox show. If Cormier can come out healthy on Saturday, then this could be a potential headliner for the event.
Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez
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Gilbert Melendez has been focused on getting to the UFC since Zuffa acquired Strikeforce almost two years ago. The Strikeforce champion will get his wish with the last Strikeforce event taking place on Saturday.
Now the question is, who will Melendez face in his anticipated octagon debut? Dana White stated during the week of UFC 155 that Melendez would probably face Henderson in his Octagon debut. Melendez recently stated that he wants to face Henderson in his UFC debut.
Melendez has fought in San Jose numerous times under the Strikeforce banner. Fighting in San Jose on big Fox would be a good way to introduce Melendez to a new audience.
Mark Munoz vs. Tim Boetsch
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We haven't seen Mark Munoz since he lost to Chris Weidman at UFC on Fuel TV 4 in July. During the fight, Munoz suffered a broken foot and won't be able to return until February.
The middleweight division, right now, is in flux with Weidman injured, Michael Bisping facing Vitor Belfort next week at UFC on FX 7 and Hector Lombard facing Yushin Okami in March at UFC on Fuel TV 8.
Tim Boetsch is coming off a loss against Costa Philippou at UFC 155. The fight makes sense due to both guys coming off losses and having similar styles. A win for either guy would put them right back in the thick of things in the middleweight division.
Luke Rockhold vs. Costa Philippou
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Luke Rockhold, for about the last year, has been saying he wants to face the top fighters in the UFC. With the demise of Strikeforce, Rockhold will now get that chance.
The Strikeforce middleweight champion suffered a wrist injury and was unable to face Lorenz Larkin at the final Strikeforce event taking place on Saturday.
With the middleweight division all jumbled up right now, a Philippou fight could be in the cards. Philippou defeated top-five middleweight Tim Boetsch at UFC 155 last month and cracked the top 10 at 185 pounds.
Both guys' strengths are in the standup department and would be a highly entertaining fight. This would be an exciting fight to introduce Rockhold into the UFC and a win for Philippou raises his stock in the middleweight division.
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Gegard Mousasi
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This is a fight that can only happen if Gegard Mousasi defeats Mike Kyle this Saturday at the final Strikeforce event. If Mousasi defeats Kyle, this would be a matchup between top-10 light heavyweights.
Gustafsson defeated Shogun Rua at UFC on Fox 5 last month. Gustafsson stated after the event that he doesn't want to wait for the winner of Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, which takes place on April 27, at UFC 159.
Mousasi, who is the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, is 4-0-1 in his last five fights since he lost the title to Muhammed Lawal to April 2010. If Mousasi defeats Kyle, then this would be the most logical matchup for both guys.
Cung Le vs. Vitor Belfort
Le to the left
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
If you would at this headline about six months, people are probably thinking Cung Le wouldn't be in this situation. Le was coming off a loss to Wanderlei Silva at UFC 139 in November 2011, and people thought he would retire.
Le decided to continue and defeated Patrick Cote at UFC 148 last July. Then, Le decided to give it another go with a foot injury and knocked out Rich Franklin at UFC on Fuel TV 6 in China.
Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort square off next Saturday at UFC on FX 7. Bisping with a win will face Anderson Silva while Belfort won't be afforded the same opportunity. With a loss to Bisping, the fight makes sense because it is a highly marketable fight.
With a victory over Bisping, it is even a more marketable fight, and the winner of that fight could be one fight away from fighting for the middleweight title.
Josh Thomson vs. Joe Lauzon
Lauzon to the left
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This fight on a lot of levels would be an intriguing fight. Joe Lauzon and Josh Thomson are both coming off losses as Lauzon lost to Jim Miller at UFC 155 last month. Thomson is coming off a close unanimous decision loss to Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez last May.
Thomson is a well-known name in the San Jose area fighting for Strikeforce, who would draw a good number of people to the arena.
Both guys bring an entertaining style to the cage and would be a definite fight of the night candidate.
Chris Leben vs. Lorenz Larkin
Leben to the left
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The UFC doesn't usually pit a fighter coming off a win against a fighter coming off a loss.
Larkin who has fought five times under the Strikeforce banner made his middleweight debut in July, defeating Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision. "The Monsoon" was then scheduled to fight Strikeforce middleweight champion in November and January, but Rockhold had to bow out due to a wrist injury.
Larkin was then supposed to face former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, but Larkin had to bow out due to an undisclosed injury.
Leben is coming off a loss to another Strikeforce import Derek Brunson at UFC 155 last month. The Hawaii hadn't fought in 13 months prior to the Brunson fight. Leben didn't fight like himself likely due to the layoff.
Larkin and Leben are both known as standup fighters and have a style that will entertain the fans. A platform of fighting on Fox would raise the profile for both guys.
Nate Marquardt vs. Matt Brown
Marquardt to the left
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You would think, if you are a champion coming into a new organization, a title shot would be your next fight. Strikeforce welterweight champion Nate Marquardt won't get that chance due a stacked welterweight division.
You have to also factor in UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will be facing Nick Diaz, Johny Hendricks facing Jake Ellenberger and Carlos Condit squaring off with Rory McDonald at UFC 158 in March.
Matt Brown is riding a four-fight winning streak, having just defeated Mike Swick at UFC on Fox 5 last month. Both guys are in the top 10 in the welterweight division, and of all the top welterweights facing off at 158, this fight makes the most sense for both guys.
Miesha Tate vs. Sara McMann
Tate to the right
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We have done nine fights, so far, and have not had a single fight for the women. Beyond a fight involving UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, this is the biggest women's fight.
Miesha Tate is a former Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion, having lost her title to Rousey last March. Tate did rebound from the Rousey loss with a submission win over Julie Kedzie show in August.
Sara McMann, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, is undefeated in her six career fights. McMann was under a Strikeforce contract and was supposed to face Liz Carmouche at a November Strikeforce show, but McMann had to pull out due to injury.
The UFC hasn't announced any other women being signed to the organization as of yet, but when they do, this would be a great fight to introduce women's MMA on the Fox platform.