UFC on Fox 6: 4 Fights to Make After Johnson vs. Dodson
Everyone said the flyweights couldn't draw on television.
Everyone said that fans preferred bigger fighters, and that we'd tune out in droves.
But everyone was wrong. Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson delivered a thrilling flyweight title fight, and the television ratings backed it up, pulling in strong numbers for the UFC's sixth event on Fox network television.
It was an action-packed night from beginning to end, with four great fights (on the main card, of course) and two outstanding finishes.
But what's next for the winners from UFC on Fox 6? It's time for me to strap on my Joe Silva-style leather jacket and tell you. Let's get started.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Winner of Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall
I could go on and on here about how John Dodson should ultimately be awarded a rematch against Demetrious Johnson, and I'd probably be right.
Consider the following: Dodson was hit with an illegal knee halfway through the fight. It's a stupid rule, I know, and Dodson was taking full advantage of it by deftly placing four fingers on the mat to prevent Johnson from kneeing him in the face. Johnson kneed him in the face anyway, and John McCarthy stopped the fight to give Dodson time to recover.
You can argue that a point should have been taken away from Johnson, which would have rendered the scores a majority draw. We'd be looking at a rematch. But things didn't turn out that way, so let's make the best of an odd situation by booking Johnson against the winner of next week's UFC 156 bout between Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall.
Yeah, Johnson has already beaten both of them, but who cares? What else in the flyweight division looks intriguing enough to headline a television or pay-per-view card? There's nothing. John Moraga will be there with one more win, and perhaps Jussier Formiga can do the same, but both fighters aren't at that level just yet. Benavidez and McCall are.
The UFC has a depth problem at flyweight, but at least it's not as bad as the women's bantamweight division, right? That division only has two fighters on the entire roster.
Glover Teixeira vs. Winner of Alexander Gustafsson vs. Gegard Mousasi
Glover Teixeira is a bad dude, but I'm not entirely sold on the prospect of him competing for the light heavyweight title. Not right now.
This is not to say that he didn't look good in beating Rampage Jackson, because he did. He just didn't look like a world-beater.
Jackson has unquestionably lost a step since he was the UFC light heavyweight champion, and his post-fight comments to Ariel Helwani about wanting to emulate his friend Gary Goodridge—a man who took way too many beatings—is evidence that Jackson doesn't care about competing with the best anymore. And yet Teixeira, for all of his hype, could not put him away despite Jackson having wobbled on several different occasions.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that Teixeira isn't a very intriguing prospect. He is. But he's just not ready for Jon Jones.
That's why I'd put him against the winner of the April bout between Alexander Gustafsson and Gegard Mousasi. Both of those guys could be title contenders, but neither will get a shot at Jon Jones this year, what with both Daniel Cormier and Dan Henderson potentially waiting in the wings.
Matching the winner of that fight up with Teixeira, perhaps this summer, sets up another title contender for Jones at the end of the year or early in 2014.
Anthony Pettis vs. Winner of Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez
No star at UFC on Fox 6 shined brighter than Anthony Pettis.
The former WEC lightweight champion made short work of Donald Cerrone in a fight that was supposed to be a war. Instead, it was a one-sided beating that showed Pettis at his absolute best: quick, merciless and full of outstanding and wonderful techniques.
Before he finished Cerrone with a brutal Bas Rutten-style liver kick (yowza!), Pettis attempted a handstand capoeira kick and unleashed what is now known as the Showtime Knee, where he leaped off the fence with one foot and, using the same leg, drilled Cerrone in the face with a knee. It was amazing. There are no other words to describe it.
We already know what's next for Pettis: He's waiting on the winner of the UFC on Fox 7 bout between lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez. He'll wait as long as he has to, but I'd look for that bout to go down this summer, possibly in July.
There's little doubt any more that Pettis is likely the most innovative and exciting fighter in mixed martial arts, and I'm salivating over the idea of him facing Henderson for a second time or Melendez for the first time.
Ricardo Lamas vs. Winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo
Ricardo Lamas is a dynamo featherweight, and there's zero question that he's earned a shot at the winner of next week's UFC 156 main event between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar.
Whether it's Aldo or Edgar who emerges victorious, Lamas will present some real problems. His destruction of Erik Koch—a man who has been scheduled to face Jose Aldo on two separate occasions, only to see the bout fall through due to injury—was a thing of brutal, bloody beauty.
Lamas will be in attendance for UFC 156 next week. Will he go in the cage to challenge the winner? We can only hope.
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