UFC 118 Results: 10 Burning Questions Heading into UFC 119
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That's pretty much all I can say after UFC 118.
Frankie Edgar once again proved himself to be the better man by defending his title and defeating BJ Penn in impressive fashion.
Gray Maynard bullied Kenny Florian for three rounds, earning himself a shot at the UFC lightweight title.
And, of course, Randy Couture proved that the James Toney experiment was indeed a horrendous idea.
All in all, UFC 118 was a tremendous night of action, but now that it is all over it is time to look ahead to what's next.
With UFC 119 just around the corner, it's time to start asking the questions that will be answered when the UFC invades the great state of Indiana for the first time.
10. Can Former Pride Star Mark Hurt Reinvent Himself in the UFC?
It's been over a year since Mark Hunt last competed in MMA, but at UFC 119 the former Pride and K-1 star will make his UFC debut against undefeated prospect Sean McCorkle.
While Hunt hasn't won an MMA fight in over four years, his debut has many Pride enthusiasts clamoring for the days of old.
Sadly, Hunt just doesn't have the skills to compete with today's heavyweight, but, should he be successful against McCorkle, he does have the name, appeal, and fighting style to become a serviceable heavyweight gatekeeper.
9. Can Either Jeremy Stephens of Melvin Guillard Be A Contender?
Young, explosive, talented, and hungry are all words that describe both Jeremy Stephens and Melvin Guillard, and when they meet at UFC 119 it is sure to be an exciting affair.
Both fighters are coming in on two-fight win streaks, and both are jockeying for position in a very deep and competitive UFC lightweight division.
The winner of this matchup will be on the cusp of the top 10, but neither has yet shown he has the skill set needed to truly contend on that elite level. This fight is going to be a window into whether or not either fighter has made the necessary strides and adjustments to make a run at the title.
8. Is Sean Sherk Still Relevant in the Lightweight Division?
Former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk has not set foot inside the Octagon since his loss to current UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar over 15 months ago. Now Sherk is set to face undefeated BJJ black belt Evan Dunham.
Sherk has shown over the course of his career that he is an elite competitor, but with two losses in his last three fights and over a year of inactivity, has the sport passed him by?
7. Is Evan Dunham the UFC's Next Lightweight Title Contender?
At 4-0 in the UFC and 11-0 overall, BJJ black belt Evan Dunham is a fierce lightweight competitor who has quietly been inching his way to a title shot.
Should Dunham get a win over Sean Sherk, he will find himself right in the thick of the UFC lightweight title discussion.
Considering Sherk will be coming off of a significant layoff, Dunham is in a great position to add another name opponent to his resume.
6. Does Matt Serra Have a Title Run Left in the Tank?
On April 7, Matt Serra shocked the world by defeating UFC welterweight champion George St-Pierre via first-round TKO.
While Serra's title reign did not make it past his first defense, his victory over GSP will forever be etched into our collective memory.
Now coming off of a "Knockout of the Night" victory over former two-time welterweight title challenger Frank Trigg, Serra is set to meet Chris Lytle in the Octagon once more.
Serra is tough and experienced, but at 36 and as a guy who has only fought three times in a year once over the course of his career, time is not on his side if he ever wants to compete for the UFC gold again.
5. Is Chris Lytle a Dark-Horse Title Contender?
"Warrior"—that is the only word that comes to mind when I think of Chris Lytle.
A four-time "Fight of the Night," two-time "Submission of the Night," and one-time "Knockout of the Night" winner, everyone knows that when Lytle is on the card—win, lose, or draw—it's going to be an entertaining fight.
Considering the style Lytle brings to the cage and the fact that he is riding a three-fight win streak, it's not crazy to think we could be hearing his name in the title discussion soon.
4. Can Lil' Nog Rebound from His Questionable Showing at UFC 114?
After winning "Knockout of the Night" honors in his UFC debut at UFC 106, the Lil' Nog hype train was in full effect.
Then, at UFC 114, Lil' Nog took on the widely unheralded Jason Brilz, who was also coming in on less-than-one-month notice and looked terrible. While Lil' Nog did end up winning a split decision, his hype train was derailed.
Now Lil' Nog looks to get back on track against undefeated TUF 8 winner, Ryan Bader.
3. Is Ryan Bader Ready for the Spotlight?
Since winning Season Eight of The Ultimate Fighter, Ryan Bader has just gotten better and better every time out, and he now finds himself in the thick of the UFC light-heavyweight title hunt.
A former three-time Pac-10 champion, Bader is a dominating wrestler who has also developed into a powerful and dangerous striker.
A win over an opponent the caliber of Lil' Nog would leave no doubt that Bader is ready to contend for the most coveted title in all of MMA.
2. Could a Win over Frank Mir Put Mirko Cro Cop in the Title Mix?
"Right leg, hospital; left leg, cemetery."
Mirko Cro Cop is one of the greatest MMA heavyweights of all time and has gone 3-1 inside the Octagon since returning to the UFC.
Cro Cop has stepped up to the plate to fill in for the injured Big Nog and will be taking on former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in the main event of UFC 119.
Considering the immense fan base Cro Cop has, is it unthinkable that a win over Mir could catapult him into the UFC heavyweight title picture?
1. Can Frank Mir Fight His Way Back to the UFC Heavyweight Title?
Frank Mir has always been one of the most naturally gifted heavyweight fighters to compete in MMA, and had he never been in that horrific motorcycle accident there is no telling the heights his career could have reached.
As it is, Mir can still be considered on of the best heavyweights of all time, and at only 31 Mir has a lot of fight left in the tank.
Can Mir evolve and improve enough to compete with today's monstrous and athletic heavyweights, or will he be passed by?