Jake Ellenberger was far and away the most impressive performer on the pay-per-view portion of the evening at UFC 158, absolutely smashing Nate Marquardt in the first round and staking his claim to a spot near the top of the division.
With no issues outside of some sore knuckles, Ellenberger will be free to hop back in the cage soon and continue his pursuit of gold. Some guys who might be there to welcome him include:
Condit lost to Johny Hendricks at UFC 158, but he's still among the most marketable, most talented and most exciting guys in the division. He beat Ellenberger back in 2009 in a narrow decision, and you can bet that both guys would be up for another go around.
Ellenberger has the heavy hands and wrestling chops to make it interesting, while Condit is an incredible striker who's no picnic on the ground. With both guys entering their prime, this one could click.
MacDonald has eyes for Condit himself, but in terms of a fight that might make sense in the division, this one should be on the list.
Both guys have some solid wins at 170 and are being looked to as part of the next wave of contenders coming in behind Johny Hendricks (who may be leading that group, actually).
Seeing what Ellenberger has against a Tristar teammate might be a good test for what he could offer in a tilt with Georges St-Pierre.
Maia is the new hot commodity at welterweight, as the former middleweight title challenger has dropped down a class and been utterly dominant. He's all but abandoned his boxing game and gotten back to using his world-class grappling to overwhelm opponents.
Ellenberger might be able to keep Maia off of him with wrestling long enough to land some powerful hooks—something that Maia has had problems eating in the past. With Ellenberger's power, most people would.
Make this fight happen and see which guy survives it.
Lawler is enjoying something of a renaissance after returning to the UFC last month by way of a disgusting knockout of Josh Koscheck, and in terms of explosive and exciting stylistic matchups there might be nothing more appealing than a date with Ellenberger.
The two are mirror images of one another, with good wrestling and a penchant for violence. While Lawler is more of a speed guy, swarming with powerful shots that finish fights, Ellenberger tends to plant himself and slug away, generating his power from the ground up.
No chance these two go to a decision.
Should he decide not to retire, Diaz might be a good fight for Ellenberger. He'll certainly test the Nebraska-native's mettle when it comes to fighting a guy who can take punishment and talk boatloads of trash while doing it.
Not to mention the fact that he's a hell of a fighter.
He's a great matchup for Ellenberger—with his wrestling deficiencies and willingness to engage—so if the UFC wants to see The Juggernaut get a big win then challenge for the title, Diaz might fit the bill.