At UFC 170, Patrick Cummins played the sacrificial lamb.
The UFC newcomer stepped up on short notice to give Daniel Cormier a chance to compete in the light heavyweight division. It was hardly an ideal situation, but the matchup gave "DC" a 205-pound warm-up and Cummins a ticket into the world's top MMA promotion.
Despite being bowled over by Cormier on Saturday, Cummins will get another chance inside the Octagon. That was confirmed by UFC president Dana White following the fights this weekend:
Dana said Cummins will get another fight. "We'll give him a fight he can prepare for."— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) February 23, 2014
Obviously, a step down in competition is in order for Cummins. Here are some more suitable opponents for the 33-year-old.
Like Cummins, Robert Drysdale has a lot of good tools on the ground, but he is also getting a late start to his UFC career at 33 years old.
A two-time NCAA All-American wrestler, Cummins might be willing to go to the ground with Drysdale. The UFC isn't going to find many fighters who are willing to roll with Drysdale, who is among the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world, so that alone makes this potential fight interesting.
With Cummins and Drysdale both having fairly big names for UFC newcomers now, it is also a bout that could quickly push the winner up the light heavyweight ladder.
Loser of Francimar Barroso vs. Hans Stringer
Outside a matchup with Drysdale, things get less spectacular for Cummins. His most likely opponent would be another UFC newcomer who lost in his first trip to the Octagon.
At UFC Fight Night 38, Hans Stringer will be making his UFC debut against Francimar Barrosso. Should the 26-year-old Blackzilian fall in that matchup with Barrosso, he'd be one of the top candidates to face Cummins.
While a loss to Drysdale would probably leave Cummins with a third and final opportunity to prove himself at the UFC level, this bout against Stringer would put the UFC 170 loser in a must-win situation right away.
Loser of Ryan Jimmo vs. Steve Bosse
Steve Bosse is another fighter who will be joining the UFC ranks shortly. The Canadian is set to meet fellow countryman Ryan Jimmo in April.
Already coming off a loss to Jimi Manuwa, Jimmo will be one loss away from being released if Bosse defeats him at UFC Fight Night 41. Like most UFC newcomers, Bosse will also likely need to win one of his first two UFC bouts in order to stick around with the organization.
So, if the UFC decides to place Cummins in a loser-leaves-town match, he could meet the loser in the bout between Jimmo and Bosse.