With UFC 109 right around the corner, I thought I'd take a look into the future.
Win or lose, each of the main card fighters could possibly have a lot in store for them after the event!
As my earlier column suggested, more is at stake at UFC 109 then might be expected.
So in the words of "Goldie": Here we go!
Randy Couture vs Mark Coleman
In a fight that the majority of people expect him to win, there is no better place to start than with "The Natural." A win for the former LHW Champion really puts him firmly in the title mix, as he will be 2-0 upon his return to the weight class.
Due to the rest of the top contenders being tied up, I see the UFC granting Couture a title shot. They will strike while the iron is hot, and I think this might be Dana's one and only chance of giving Couture that final title shot he desires.
A loss for Randy really places him back where he was in the Heavyweight division, in limbo. Rumor's of a Liddell vs Couture IV are just that, rumors, at this time; however, I wouldn't rule this out as a likely fight should Randy lose.
Mark Coleman is really fighting for his career in this fight. He has looked old and past his best since his return, going 1-1. In what would be an upset, a win really poses some interesting questions for UFC matchmaker Joe Silva.
A win doesn't place Coleman in the title picture, but would keep him on the fringes of the top 10. A fight that makes sense to me would be with the winner of Vera vs Jones.
What happens to Coleman if he loses depends a lot on the nature of the fight. A severe beat down from Randy could lead to the hanging up of the gloves. Hey, there's no better way to go out, then to a fellow Hall of Famer.
If it's a close fight, I think we could see Coleman fight fellow veterans Liddell or Ortiz. A left field suggestion would be Kimbo Slice. It makes a lot of sense the more you think about it!
Nate Marquardt vs Chael Sonnen
As I suggested in my last column previewing UFC 109, Nate Marquardt has everything to lose and not much to gain in this fight. A win for Nate and there is simply no way the UFC can deny him a title shot against the Silva vs Belfort winner, a shot he already deserves.
A loss brings up the more interesting scenarios, as it places Marquardt in the unenviable position of becoming Rich Franklin model II. The UFC won't want him to keep knocking off top contenders, so nothing fights would potentially await him for the foreseeable future.
Is a move to 205lbs out of the question? As I see Anderson moving up permanently, I think the more likely scenario is that he has to wait for a shot at a vacant middleweight title!
Chael Sonnen is in a great position, as he has nothing to lose in this fight. A win would arguably place him as the No. 1 contender. Should he pull the upset, I think the UFC would likely line him up with the Bisping vs Wanderlei winner to officially determine the No. 1 contender in the division.
A loss won't hurt Sonnen that much, as most people think Marquardt is the best 185lber not named Anderson. A fight with the loser of the already mentioned Bisping vs Wanderlei fight or other options would include Palhares or Akiyama.
Mike Swick vs Paulo Thiago
You could consider this a cross-roads fight for Mike Swick. Down one path is a road back to title contention, down the other lies the role of "gatekeeper" to the top tier of the Welterweight division. A win would slot him back in line behind his AKA team mates, probably requiring one more big win to earn a title shot!
A fight with Team Rough House's Daley or Hardy makes sense, depending on which one loses their upcoming fights.
As suggested, a loss would place Swick a long way back from the title and seemingly not on an obvious path. He is in danger of replacing Marcus Davis as the Welterweight gatekeeper. However, a quick return fight against highly regarded Carlos Condit could do a lot to halt what would be a two-fight losing streak.
For Paulo Thiago, this fight represents a great opportunity to go 2-1 against Team AKA and really cement his place as a legitimate contender in the division. A re-match with Josh Koscheck could well await the Brazilian, regardless of the outcome of his fight at UFC 109.
If Thiago wins, I see a fight with the loser of either the Alves vs Fitch or Koscheck vs Daley fights. A loss would likely see him face a lower level competitor such as Johnson or the winner of the Saunders vs Kampmann fight.
Demian Maia vs Dan Miller
In the UFC's weakest division, the opportunities for fighters who can put a win streak together is bigger then in other divisions. Maia was on one of these streaks and looked destined for a title shot until he ran into Nate Marquardt's fist.
This bounce-back fight is potentially huge for Maia, as a win would likely see him towards the front of the line—behind Marquardt, if he wins as expected.
Therefore, I would expect one more fight, with options including Bisping, if he wins, Akiyama, or possibly the Belcher vs Cote winner.
A loss would hurt Maia's credibility and really remove him from the title picture for the time being. It wouldn't be disastrous in a weak division, but it would hurt any momentum left from his early win streak in the UFC. How about a fight with Kendall Grove, or another fighter of that level.
A win for Miller would be huge, taking him to 4-1 in the UFC and into the upper end of the division. A fight with the Belcher vs Cote winner would make for a good fight and make a lot of sense in sorting out rankings in the division.
A loss, even when you are expected to lose, is still a loss, and will hurt any momentum a fighter has. It would also make Miller 0-2 in his last two fights. It's difficult to say what would await Miller after this fight, possibilities would include the aforementioned loser of the Cote vs Belcher fight or the loser of Wanderlei vs Bisping.
Matt Serra vs Frank Trigg
In a previous thread on B/R, it was discussed if this was a retirement fight. For Trigg, I think this is a must win fight, but I think Serra will have a position in the UFC come what may. A win for Serra will ensure that he remains on the main card fights and still gets given tough competition.
Will he ever get back to his lofty position of champion? Unlikely, but he can certainly remain competitive in a deep division. I can see Serra being used to test younger competition on the rise so look for fights with, Etim, Sadollah, or Hendricks.
As I said, I think a loss will not put Serra's position in the UFC in danger; however, it will significantly change the type of competition he will face. Instead of young studs, look for fights with the likes of Baroni and Marcus Davis.
Frank Trigg is fighting to stay in the UFC, in my opinion, and a win will enable him to do that for now at least. Even if he does win, it's hard to see what the UFC would do with him next. (Hughes trilogy fight anyone?)
I think not, so, again, I would look at the older men in the division, Baroni could be a good fight for Trigg as well. A loss and quite simply I think that Trigg will be dropped by the UFC. Look for a return to a smaller promotion for twinkle toes.
So there you have it, my view into the crystal ball.