Michael Bisping headed into UFC on FX 7 with a chance to earn a title shot against Anderson Silva. With a knockout loss to Vitor Belfort, Bisping's hopes of making that fight come to fruition were shattered.
Instead, Belfort is once again one of the top contenders in the middleweight division, though he asked for a rematch with light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in his post-fight interview during the FX-aired event.
With two losses in his past three fights, Bisping will have to work his way back up the 185-pound ladder. So, let's take a look at who he and the rest of the UFC on FX 7 fighters should compete against next.
Francisco Trinaldo picked up his second UFC victory at UFC on FX 7, bouncing back from a loss to Gleison Tibau with a submission of C.J. Keith.
Though he was dominant in victory over Keith, Trinaldo could use one more win before getting a step up in competition and another fight with an opponent on Tibau's level.
Abel Trujillo is also coming off of a second-round stoppage against an opponent who was winless inside the Octagon. He also has the size and aggression to give Trinaldo a tough fight.
After being submitted by Ildemar Alcantara on Saturday, Wagner Prado has lost to his first two UFC opponents. However, Prado's first foe was the highly ranked Phil Davis, so the Brazilian deserves one more chance to pick up a win inside the Octagon.
Ednaldo Oliveira was scheduled to fight in December, but an injury forced him out of a bout with Krzysztof Soszynski. If Oliveira is healthy and ready to go within the next few months, a loser-leaves-town matchup between him and Prado would make sense.
He got off to a slow start, but Ildemar Alcantara was eventually able to catch Wagner Prado in a knee bar in the second round of his UFC debut on Saturday.
Formerly a middleweight, Alcantara took the light heavyweight fight with Prado as a late replacement, so there's a good chance he'll return to 185 pounds now.
Also with one win under the UFC banner, Thiago Perpetuo was originally expected to compete at UFC on FX 7, but an injury forced him out of competition. Should he heal in a reasonable amount of time, Perpetuo would make for a good opponent against Alcantara.
Without berating the guy for what many believed was a nice piece of acting to avoid a loss, Pedro Nobre did not look very good in his UFC debut against Yuri Alcantara.
As he always does, UFC president Dana White let his feelings be known on Nobre's actions following a questionable call by referee Dan Miragliotta that Alcantara had landed strikes to the back of his opponent's head.
That was BS!!! Pedro is an award winning actor and horrible call by Dan M— Dana White (@danawhite) January 19, 2013
I could be mistaken, but there's a good chance the UFC will only give Nobre one more chance to pick up a win following his no-contest at UFC on FX 7. That chance would probably come against an opponent like Byron Bloodworth, who is also winless inside the Octagon.
While he didn't get the win he was looking for against Pedro Nobre, Yuri Alcantara was clearly the more talented fighter in the matchup.
Considering Yuri Alcantara's prior success at featherweight, he shouldn't have to fight another new face in the bantamweight division. Instead, a bout with another promising and proven 135-pound fighter like Edwin Figueroa or Francisco Rivera would be intriguing.
Those two fighters are set to meet at UFC 156, and Alcantara should be given a bout with the winner.
Against Edson Barboza, Lucas Martins suffered the first loss of his MMA career on Saturday.
Still, the Brazilian is a talented prospect, and the UFC should look to give him a winnable fight in his second Octagon appearance.
C.J. Keith is also looking for his first UFC victory following a loss to Francisco Trinaldo at UFC on FX 7. A bout between Martins and Keith would ensure one of the young lightweights would get himself headed in the right direction.
Diego Nunes was unable to deal with the wrestling of Nik Lentz at UFC on FX 7, but he's still one of the better featherweights in all of MMA.
With a bout between Hatsu Hioki and Clay Guida upcoming, Nunes could benefit from a fight against the loser, as it would force him to further improve his takedown defense or risk losing a second straight fight.
With wins in his first two featherweight bouts, Nik Lentz should already be considered a contender in the 145-pound division.
The former lightweight deserves another fight with a top-10 opponent in his next appearance, and that could mean a bout against a fellow former lightweight in Clay Guida or a matchup with past Sengoku and Shooto champion Hatsu Hioki.
Milton Vieira came out on the wrong side of a controversial split decision against Godofredo Castro on Saturday. Still looking for his first UFC win, Vieira may need to turn things around in his next fight to remain on the organization's roster.
Since Vieira's fight with Castro was an entertaining one, a fight with another The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil grappler in Rodrigo Damm would be intriguing.
Following a loss to Rony Jason in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, Godofredo Castro was potentially in need of a win to prove he could be a UFC-level athlete.
Even though Castro's split-decision win over Milton Vieira was debatable, he put on a strong performance and showed he has the potential to compete at a high level for a long time.
As he looks to move forward, a bout with another rising featherweight in Antonio Carvalho, who is also coming off of a split-decision win, seems logical.
Thiago Tavares was on the rise heading into UFC on FX 7, but a knockout loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov now has him without a win in the past 12 months.
At one time, Tavares and Jeremy Stephens looked like lightweights who could potentially become contenders. However, they are now both coming off of first-round stoppages and are in need of a win to get things turned around quickly.
In a few months, the two 155-pound veterans should meet to give one fighter a chance to get back on a winning track.
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Edson Barboza picked up big first-round wins on Saturday and moved a step closer to the top of the lightweight division, where many think they could both find themselves at some point.
While both 155-pound fighters are very promising, they could each use one more win before being thrown at a lightweight contender.
With an impressive performance, the winner of a bout between Nurmagomedov and Barboza would be more than deserving of a shot against an elite lightweight.
Ben Rothwell looked to be turning things around with his knockout win over Brendan Schaub, but he faltered again at UFC on FX 7, where he was submitted by Gabriel Gonzaga.
Despite the defeat, Rothwell appeared to come out of the fight healthy and should be able to return to action in short order.
When he does, a fight with fellow slugger-wrestler Stipe Miocic could get fans talking.
Seemingly re-focused on his ground game, Gabriel Gonzaga looks like a completely different fighter than the one that temporarily retired following a loss to Brendan Schaub.
To determine if he really won't be baited into trading with a better striker than himself anymore, Gonzaga should be matched up against kickboxer Pat Barry, who could equally benefit from preparing for the Brazilian grappler.
Daniel Sarafian and Andrew Craig are both promising middleweights, but their wrestling wasn't good enough to get the job done in their respective fights with C.B. Dollaway and Ronny Markes on Saturday.
There's a chance the UFC might want to give The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil standout Sarafian an easier opponent for his next fight in order to get him in the win column, but the Brazilian showed he can hang with UFC veterans.
So, let's give Sarafian another chance to prove himself against a more experienced opponent in Craig.
C.B. Dollaway and Ronny Markes leaned primarily on their grappling to pick up wins at UFC on FX 7.
Before either fighter is given a step up in competition, their striking needs to be more seriously tested. Maybe the only way to do that is to match Dollaway and Markes up with each other in an effort to have their ground games taken away.
Michael Bisping's hopes of earning a title shot in 2013 were likely dashed with his loss to Vitor Belfort in the UFC on FX 7 main event.
Obviously, Bisping will want to get back into the hunt for a title shot as soon as possible. A fight with a big name like Alan Belcher, who is coming off of a loss to Yushin Okami, would give Bisping a realistic chance to make a statement and further prove he's a top-five middleweight.
Having been knocked out by Anderson Silva in February 2011, a win over Michael Bisping probably won't be enough for Vitor Belfort to earn a middleweight title shot.
The Brazilian needs another win over an elite 185-pound fighter, and Chris Weidman could be that opponent. Weidman needs a win over a big name to boost his profile, and Belfort is that name.
While the UFC decides what to do with Silva, Belfort and Weidman should compete in a title shot eliminator.