After a wild night at UFC 163, many of the top names in the sport failed in their attempts to achieve glory and now must resurrect their careers with victories in their next bouts.
With stars like Chan-Sung Jung, Lyoto Machida and Tom Watson all handed devastating losses, how they respond in their comeback fights is pivotal to the long-term success of their respective careers.
All of the following veterans will be looking for redemption and have the chance to find it.
Chan-Sung “Korean Zombie” Jung
After beating Dustin Poirier, Mark Hominick and Leonard Garcia in his three previous fights coming into Saturday, Chan-Sung Jung was handed a devastating loss by featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
As hard as it will be to deal with this defeat for the proud fighter, Jung is the consummate professional and will look to bounce back with a strong performance in his next fight.
There are many options for the UFC to make for Jung, but with Ricardo Lamas originally scheduled to fight the Korean star before he was pulled for the fight against Aldo, that fight must come to fruition now.
Lamas vs. the Korean Zombie would be a great chance to prove his worth to the UFC.
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida
Despite the fact that few MMA fans and experts had Phil Davis winning Saturday’s fight, Lyota Machida was handed a tough unanimous decision loss and now must mentally prepare for the road back into title contention.
Machida was likely one win away from a shot at Jon Jones and his light heavyweight championship, but now the Brazilian is forced to the back of the divisional line.
While the light heavyweight rankings have thinned out since Jones’ reign of terror started, the best possible next fight for Machida would be veteran and former champion Rashad Evans.
With a long history with each other—Machida won the title from Evans in 2009—this would be a fight that could easily be a pay-per-view main event.
Tom “Kong” Watson
Tom Watson is a talented fighter that dominated the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts as the company’s middleweight champion, but the transition to UFC hasn’t been spectacular, losing two out of three fights thus far.
In addition to being beaten by journeyman Thales Leites in the challenger's return to the UFC, the fact that Watson came to the Octagon with a gorilla mask on and the Backstreet Boys playing in the background made him an instant enemy to MMA fans everywhere.
While there are many fighters in the middleweight division that could give Watson the chance to redeem himself, the best-case scenario will be fighting the loser of the Tim Boetsch vs. Luke Rockhold fight.
If Watson wins his next fight against a recognizable name, UFC fans will give him another chance—but with the caveat of no more Backstreet Boys.