With the UFC 168 main card rapidly approaching, many potential shakeups to the respective divisions represented on the pay-per-view are impending. From the heavyweight division to the women's bantamweight division, many crazy things are bound to happen.
This main card is closing out 2013 for the UFC, which is already planning on a much busier 2014. That's hard to imagine, given how many UFC events were televised this year.
With all that in the back of our minds, how will the main card results shape up the UFC landscape? Let's dive in and briefly look at all five fights and their meaning going forward.
Brandao-Poirier Winner Jumps to Middle of Featherweight Line
Dustin Poirier and Diego Brandao are coming off two very different schedules in their most recent fights. Poirier has alternated between wins and losses in his last five, while Brandao is riding a three-fight winning streak.
The big difference, though, is that Poirier has been facing top-15 opposition, while Brandao has slowly been working his way up through the midcard. While Poirier fought guys like Chan Sung Jung, Erik Koch and Cub Swanson, Brandao was fighting Pablo Garza, Daniel Pineda and Joey Gambino on his current win streak.
The featherweight division is currently top-heavy on title contenders, from Chad Mendes to Cub Swanson. The winner of this bout is still likely in the middle of the line, or likely two-to-three wins away from seeing a title shot.
Win or Loss Will Make or Break Jim Miller
It's hard to call Fabricio Camoes a gift fight for Jim Miller, especially considering how tough the Brazilian is. But let's face it, this is a matchup that was tailor-made for the American.
After long being one of the most consistent fighters at 155, Miller has alternated wins and losses in his last five, which includes a no-contest in his latest outing against Pat Healy, as Healy tested positive for marijuana.
Camoes is a good fighter, but everything he does well, Miller does better. It's obvious that the UFC is trying to get Miller back into the win column, as having him in the title hunt makes things at 155 far more interesting.
Browne-Barnett Winner Will Have Claim to Top Contention
Travis Browne and Josh Barnett are two very different men. Browne is a striker, relatively quiet and young in the fight game. Barnett is a grappler, clinically insane and and a long-time vet of the fight game.
Both men are also atop the heavyweight division, which lacks top contenders like the featherweight and welterweight divisions. Really, a marquee win in the division puts you on a short list of men ready to fight for the gold.
Obviously, Fabricio Werdum is the man who is next to fight for the heavyweight strap. The winner of the Browne-Barnett scuffle could be after Werdum or even fight him for the right to bang with Velasquez.
Rousey-Tate Fight for Rubber Match or Zingano
The heated rivalry between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate is coming to a close, with the winner getting Cat Zingano. Or is it?
While it's easy for most people to just crown Rousey the champion, Tate is a great fighter in her own regard. She is focused for this fight, and should she win, don't expect Zingano to cash in on her top contender status right away.
A Tate win would probably spell a rubber match immediately. A win for Rousey would close the book on their rivalry and give Zingano her shot.
This will either logjam the women's bantamweight title picture or reopen it.
Rubber Match, Retirement Possible in Main Event
Look out for two things in the aftermath of the main event at UFC 168. A Chris Weidman win could bring retirement talks for an all-time great in Anderson Silva. A Silva win would likely bring an automatic rubber match that would hopefully not include the terrible "You and Me" Steven Tyler song on the commercials.
It's hard to imagine Silva retiring, but who thought Georges St-Pierre was going to hang up his gloves indefinitely? Two losses in a row for a 30-plus-year-old who has made his money in the sport and has nothing left to prove could lead to that.
Should Silva regain his title, we could see both men settling the score. Even though this fight has yet to happen, it would likely be the biggest rubber match since Chuck Liddell-Randy Couture. Either way, this fight has huge implications.
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