UFC 177 Results: 3 Fights for Joe Soto to Take Next
Joe Soto stepped up in a huge way Saturday night. Prior to the weigh-ins on Friday, Soto was supposed to face Anthony Birchak on the undercard. However, when Renan Barao was forced to pull out of the main event, Soto stepped up to face champion TJ Dillashaw on little more than 24 hours' notice.
Soto came absolutely ready to fight, and although Dillashaw won the first four rounds on all three judges' scorecards, it was by no means a blowout.
In the fifth, Dillashaw landed a head kick to end a long combination and earn a knockout win.
While Soto lost, his stock went way up following this fight. It's highly likely he'll be ranked in the Top 10 when the updated rankings are released.
That opens up a wealth of opportunities for his next fight, so let's check out three potential opponents.
Urijah Faber is the former WEC bantamweight champion and multiple-time UFC title challenger. He has faced the likes of Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, Scott Jorgensen, Brian Bowles and many more.
Faber had been scheduled to face Masanori Kanehara at UFC Fight Night 52, but he was forced to pull out because of injury.
If Faber was willing to take on a fighter making his UFC debut, and was coming off a loss, there's no reason he wouldn't be up for a fight with Soto.
Additionally, Faber and Dillashaw train together. Therefore, for Soto, this could be a chance to exact some revenge on Team Alpha Male.
Michael McDonald has been out since December 2013 after he was submitted in the second round by Urijah Faber.
McDonald is 3-2 in his last five, having earned wins over Brad Pickett, Miguel Torres and Alex Soto, while dropping fights to Faber and Renan Barao. The loss to Barao was in a fight for the interim bantamweight title.
McDonald is just 23 years old and is likely to be a contender in the bantamweight division for a long time. As he is ranked No. 4 in the division, he would be a good next fight for Joe Soto to take.
Johnny Eduardo is 2-1 in his three UFC fights, having lost his debut but winning his next two in a row. Overall, Eduardo is 27-9, with the majority of his fights having come in Brazil.
Eduardo lost to Raphael Assuncao in his first fight, but he followed that up with a unanimous decision over Jeff Curran. His most recent fight was a first-round knockout of former WEC bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland, who is ridiculously still ranked higher than Eduardo.
The Brazilian is a serious MMA veteran, and a fight with him gives Soto a chance to get a good name on his resume.
For Eduardo, it gives him a chance to prove he deserves a higher ranking in the division.