UFC 113 has come and gone, and once again, the question is raised: Who will so-and-so fight next?
The entire main card provides a decent problem to figure out, especially when you consider that two of its fighters have already been cut. More may follow later this week, but for now, only two have been cut.
So, to combat the confusion, I'm going to list a few opponents that Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Lyoto Machida, Paul Daley and Kimbo Slice may face next.
We'll start with the newly crowned 205 lb. champ, Mauricio Rua.
After dropping Lyoto Machida with a vicious hook and following it up with lethal punches from the mount, Mauricio Rua has proven himself to be the best light-heavyweight fighter in the UFC, if not the world.
His head has a big red bullseye on it, and everyone will be aiming for it. But only a few will have the chance to hit it, and I will cover them in detail coming up next.
First, we will start with the obvious, the winner of UFC 114's grudge match between Quinton Jackson and Rashad Evans.
Rashad Evans/Rampage Jackson
Both Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson would provide interesting match-ups for our current champ.
Rampage is a great brawler. Rashad is more of a technical guy.
Rampage likes to keep the fight standing. Rashad isn't opposed to some ground 'n' pound.
Rampage and Shogun have a history together. They met each other in PRIDE Fighting Championships, where Shogun won the fight via foot stomps.
Rampage is the kind of fighter who would like to avenge one of only four losses during his time in PRIDE. A convincing win over Shogun would show that Rampage can indeed hang with anyone in the world, and that he still has his competitive desire.
A fight with Rashad Evans would be just as interesting, especially if one of them wanted to prove that styles make fights.
Machida, who KO'd Evans (spectacularly) was KO'd by Shogun, which would make one assume that Rashad Evans would lose to Shogun.
If Evans were to beat Shogun, it could spawn a debate that Rashad Evans would beat Machida in the rematch.
For our next contender, we move on to the current middleweight kingpin and resident jackass, Anderson Silva.
Anderson Silva has shown himself to be one of the greatest mixed martial artists in the world many times. Be it his many KO wins over top contenders, or his excellent grappling with some of today's best grapplers. But ability alone is not enough. And why should it be?
Anderson Silva is on a quest to hold four belts at the same time, and if anyone can do it he can. If Anderson Silva beats Chael Sonnen at UFC 117, which isn't a given, then he will likely move up to 205 to fight for the title.
Anderson Silva vs. Shogun Rua would be one of the biggest fights in MMA history. The fact that it will be for Anderson's second title belt would blow it out of proportion. Throw in the whole aggressor vs. counter striker argument and we have us a superfight.
Last, and certainly not least, we have everyone's favorite: Randy Couture
When Randy beats James Toney, he should get a title shot. Not because of any particularly impressive wins, but because it's Randy freakin' Couture. One of the men most responsible for putting MMA on the map. He gets special priveleges. And if he beats Shogun, then think of what else he could accomplish.
Maybe he could dethrone Barack Obama as Criminal In Chief, er, I mean President. Lame political joke aside, if Toney doesn't put him into retirement, than go ahead and feed him to Shogun.
Next, we'll go ahead and throw up some possible fights for Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida. We'll start with another obvious one: The loser of Rashad-Rampage.
Rampage Jackson/Rashad Evans
I've already discussed what each fighter brings to the table above, so let's skip that. For now, let's focus on what this fight means to the people participating, and what happens to the loser.
If Rampage entered this fight, it would mean that for one, the A-Team movie sucked, and for two, that he lost his last fight.
For Lyoto Machida, this would probably be his first fight back after his loss, so he would be determined to put his name back in the win column. That would pose a big problem to Rampage, who would likely get owned by some crazy karate kick.
Thankfully, Rashad Evans may not get the title shot anyways, so here's to hoping he gets a rematch with ol' Lyoto.
Machida gave Rashad his only loss to date when he KO'd him back at UFC 98, in a fight that say Rashad get horribly outclassed by the better fighter. Rashad will be looking to avenge his only loss. Machida will want to prove the first fight was no fluke.
Next, we make our way over to the predictable match-up between Lyoto Machida and Randy Couture.
Randy Couture has stated in the past that he would like to be the first to solve the Machida puzzle.
Obviously, he wont be the first to have solved it after last night, but a win for Randy Couture over Lyoto Machida may show that he can still get it done at 45 years of age. And if he loses, he can make the argument that it was to a younger, better fighter.
Next, we will make our way down to welterweight, and think of a possible opponent for Paul Daley after his left bitch slap got him kicked out of the UFC.
Let's say he gets signed by Strikeforce. Come on, bitch slap or not, he is still a good fighter. For starters, let's give him a tune up fight with the one, the only, Joe "Diesel" Riggs.
(By the way, did you know he is only twenty seven?)
Joe Riggs is like a less polished Paul Daley. His boxing isn't as technical, and he wouldn't know how to operate a Muay Thai clinch if his career depended on it. But, he has a solid win-loss record and he can rest assured that Paul Daley will not take it to the ground, where even with top position, would still be at a disadvantage.
If Paul Daley defeats Joe Riggs, than we can be pretty sure that he will get a shot at the belt. Which also means he will be fighting Nick Diaz.
Nick Diaz is like Paul Daley with a legit ground game. His boxing is fast, technical, crisp, and he can hit hard.
A striker of his caliber can give Paul Daley trouble for sure, but if I were Paul Daley gameplanning for this fight, then I would work mostly on submission defense and takedown defense.
If Nick Diaz ever feels threatened standing, then he would have no problem taking it to the ground, where he could end the fight by submission, or even just lay around for three rounds.
And last, but not least, we move up to heavyweight to think of an opponent or two for Kimbo Slice, who was recently cut from the UFC for sucking so much... air. Seriously, his cardio is a joke.
Only one opponent really stands out for Kimbo Slice in Strikeforce's heavyweight division, which is where Slice is likely headed after being cut. That (hopeful) opponents name is Brett Rogers.
Everyone likes to see two fighters just stand in the middle of the cage and start slugging.
With Kimbo Slice vs. Brett Rogers, not only do you have said fight, but you have two guys who legitimately don't like each other.
If Strikeforce's Scott Coker was intelligent, and going by some recent smoke signals, he isn't, he would put this fight as the co main event of some card lacking for excitement and play the rivalry card. The casual MMA fan who thinks Kimbo Slice is the best would tune in to see him fight.
The resulting fireworks would make sure that fan tunes in whenever Slice is on the card. If Brett Rogers is smart though, he'll make Slice gas out and then throw a few leg kicks. Works every time.
Well, that's it from me. If you see any potential fights that I didn't list, then please comment and let your opinion be known.