UFC 110 Losers: What's Next?

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UFC 110 Losers: What's Next?

UFC's first venture into the land of the Aussies was a smashing success. The crowd was in a non-stop frenzy from the opening of the gates to Cain Velasquez's one-sided destruction of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the main event.

It's that type of atmosphere that makes the UFC big wigs say, "Australia will have many more events to come."

Every fighter stepped up their game just a little bit more to please the enthusiastic crowd, and the crowd returned the favor with love and support.

Now let's take a look at where the UFC 110 losers should go next to make a step up in their career's progression.

Anthony Perosh

Initially, Anthony Perosh declined the chance to fight Pride legend Mirko Cro Cop, but with endless opportunities available should he have won, the Australian decided to take the fight only on a few days noticed.

It was clearly evident that UFC 110's Cro Cop was only a shell of his former glorified past, but that is another debate for a different time. Despite the lack of killer instinct that Pride fans have grown to expect from Cro Cop, the Croatian picked apart Perosh for two rounds before ending it with a sharp elbow that opened up a nasty cut over the Aussie's eye.

Perosh deserves an insane amount of recognition for stepping in on such short notice, because if he hadn't accepted, the bout would of surely been cancelled. But losing to a steadily-fading legend doesn't bold well for his UFC future.

The Australian is 0-3 inside the UFC, and he won't likely get another crack at the big leagues.

Keith Jardine

Keith Jardine is 1-4 in his last five contests, and if he were any other fighter, he would of gotten the axe after his last fight against Thiago Silva. But the UFC has an infinite amount of love for their TUF 1 fighters, so it's almost safe to say that Jardine has at least one more fight within the octagon.

During the third round of a closely contested match, Jardine ate a stiff right from Ryan Bader, enough to stagger his conscious and send him reeling backwards.

Bader took notice and threw Jardine's sense of reality even more with a beautiful flying knee that landed flush on his left pectoralis muscle. Jardine, still recovering from the short right, was put to sleep shortly thereafter with a gnarly left hook.

If Jardine is to stay with the UFC, his days even as a gatekeeper are over. Not to be overly critical, but his last two wins are against guys who are no longer relevant inside the 205-pound division.

As much as his name has been used to round out the main card of events, it's time for Jardine to take a step down in his career if the UFC wants to justify keeping him under contract.

So his next opponent should be WEC's former light-heavyweight champion, Brian Stann.

The fight would by no means be a walk in the park for Jardine as Stann has the style that can pound "The Dean of Mean" into dust. At the same time, this match is very winnable for Jardine.

Should he lose though, the UFC would have enough evidence to cut Jardine as this would clearly be a "clear the dead wood" type of fight.

Joe Stevenson

What a quick turnaround for Joe Stevenson.

He once was a win away from talks of another crack at the title; now he is back to step one at Greg Jackson's drawing board.

Stevenson was out-classed in every portion of MMA, maybe with an exception to the wrestling aspect of it. However, George Sotiropoulos' jiu jitsu completely nullified Stevenson's wrestling for a better part of their three round fight of the night.

On a rough stretch of road in his last five fights (2-3), Stevenson should probably take a step back in competition as well, even though he has only lost to the best of the division. Still, losing to a previously unranked opponent shows that he still has a lot of work to go before getting another run at the title.

A perfect opponent for Stevenson to get back on the winning track would be Matt Wiman. Some would think that this would mean throwing Wiman to the wolves, but at this point in his UFC career, it's sink or swim.

Now, it should be sink or swim for Stevenson as well after this performance, but the early seasons of TUF have brought the UFC so much success, that this scenario will be unlikely. The UFC knows that Stevenson has some name value at 155, so they are going to try and keep it that way.

Michael Bisping

The bout between Michael Bisping and Wanderlei Silva was a close affair throughout, and was ultimately decided on the last-second flurries put together by Silva at the end of each round.

Losing such a close fight doesn't drop Bisping's stock all that much, but the Brit is in desperate need of a big win over a big-name opponent if he ever wants to be considered as a threat at 185.

Unfortunately for the UFC's marketing plans for Bisping, the only available guys at middleweight with somewhat of a name wouldn't be that safe of a fight for Bisping.

Now, Bisping should be in the sink or swim scenario as well, so a fight with Vitor Belfort or Nate Marquardt would be a huge draw as a co-main event on any pay-per-view, but with the UFC's European invasion, this seems unlikely.

So it's likely that Bisping's next opponent will come against someone who has been on a roll, but still isn't considered a threat in the division—similar to his fight with Denis Kang. The winner between next month's fight between Rousimar Palhares and Tomasz Drwal fits this bill perfectly.

One would offer Bisping a serious challenge in jiu jitsu while the other would be a deadly threat in the striking game. Either way, both would challenge Bisping in the areas that still needs to be rigorously tested.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

It's official, the torch has been passed from one legendary heavyweight to the hungry, starved young lion.

In his fight with Cain Velasquez, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was outmatched from the very beginning. The heavily-improved striking of Velasquez made Nogueira look like a walking two-by-six board.

Two things were made very clear after the outcome of this fight. One is that Nogueira's war-torn past has got him on a steady decline in skills. The second is that maybe he looks this way because Cain Velasquez is the real deal and is going to stay at the top of the division for some time.

Velasquez's ferocity and hunger should not be overshadowed by Nogueira's decline. That's why the Brazilian deserves yet another chance to fight the top of the division.

Nogueira still has name value in the sport, and can still beat a number of the fighters that litter the division. So the UFC should give him the loser of Frank Mir and Shane Carwin.

A fight with Mir would be the obvious rematch that fans have been clamoring for for some time. The staph infection issue needs to be resolved, and this rematch is the only obvious solution to kill off the staph infection excuses.

This fight could also determine a contender down the line after a few Brock Lesnar title defenses, but that's saying that Mir is going to lose to Carwin.

The most likely scenario would be a fight with Shane Carwin, who prior to his fight with Mir, is still relatively un-tested in his MMA career. Carwin brings to the table the same set of attributes as Velasquez, and would really prove if Nogueira belongs as a contender or a gatekeeper at the very best.

Check out Robert Gardner's article for his take on who the winners should face next .

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