Anthony Johnson made a successful return to the UFC Saturday night, as the recent World Series of Fighting poster boy took a dominant decision over Phil Davis. The win took Davis out of contention and launched Johnson into potential title consideration.
Johnson's fortunes come after a successful WSOF stint that came as a result of his expulsion from the UFC. Johnson had issues making weight, so Dana White and company decided he needed some time in the minor leagues to get his act together.
Now, Johnson is fighting at light heavyweight and has looked great in doing so.
In the aftermath of Johnson's UFC 172 win, let's look at three fights he can take next in moving forward with his UFC career.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
If Antonio Rogerio Nogueira can ever get healthy, he would be a good matchup for Anthony Johnson. This is especially true since both men are close to the top of the division but not the top contenders.
Nogueira hasn't fought in over a year but is currently on a two-fight winning streak over the likes of Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans. Those two wins have put Nogueira in good position, but his lack of activity is also a setback for him.
Stylistically, this would be a very interesting fight. Johnson is a power kickboxer with wrestling to back him up, while Nogueira is a boxer with a strong jiu-jitsu game in his back pocket. This fight could throw one man into title contention and the other back to the drawing board.
The most shocking performance of the night might have been how good @Anthony_Rumble looked. Most improved return to the UFC ever.— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) April 27, 2014
Glover Teixeira was unsuccessful in his quest to grab the UFC title off of Jon Jones. He needs a rebound, but he doesn't need to take a huge step down in competition.
Teixeira represents another fighter who would match up well with Johnson, as both men have bricks for hands and love the dogfight on the feet.
Both men are obviously top-10 fighters, making this matchup a potential no-brainer. It also has Fight of the Night written all over it if Joe Silva pulls the trigger on it.
Daniel Cormier/Dan Henderson Winner
Alexander Gustafsson is the most obvious choice to challenge Jon Jones next. That means that the winner of Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson would have to expect a long layoff to get their title shot.
Fighters need to stay busy and not sit on the sidelines to wait for a title shot. So, whoever wins the fight between Cormier and Henderson should fight Johnson in a top contender's match.
In a smart booking scenario, whenever Jones-Gustafsson gets booked, Joe Silva could put the Cormier-Henderson winner in the co-main event against Johnson. That way, everything is sorted out before our eyes.