Forced out of the competition due to injury, Nick Ring may turn out to be the most successful fighter from Season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter. Ring is now 12-0 for his career and 2-0 in the UFC after defeated James Head at UFC 131.
With Ring's position in the UFC now solidified for now, it is time for him to try to start climbing the middleweight ladder. Here are a few opponents that could give Ring the chance to make a move.
Catone has won two straight fights and has had a close fight with Mark Munoz. If Ring wants to fight guys like Munoz, he is going to have to prove that he can beat the fighters Munoz has defeated already.
Catone could serve as a final test to determine if Ring is ready to compete with some of the more well-known fighters in the division.
Like Ring, Chris Weidman is a rising prospect in the middleweight division. Both fighters were also winners at UFC 131 and would be ready to go again at around the same time.
Matching these two fighters against each other would allow the UFC to determine which could become a legitimate middleweight contender.
Brad Tavares is one fighter who benefited from Ring's injury on The Ultimate Fighter. Tavares was able to reach the semifinals of the competition before losing to Court McGee. Since then, Tavares has kept his official record unblemished by going 2-0 in the UFC.
If Tavares defeats Aaron Simpson at UFC 132, a matchup with Ring could show which fighter was really more deserving of a spot in the semifinals. Even if Simpson wins against Tavares, he could provide Ring with a test against an experienced fighter.
Since his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter, Kyle Noke has gone 3-0 in the UFC and has risen even faster than Ring. This potential fight is intriguing in the same way that a fight between the winner of Simpson and Tavares would be.
A fight with Noke would show which former TUF fighter is most deserving of a step up in competition, while a fight against Lawlor would mean a tough test for Ring against a UFC veteran.
After his recent knockout win over Tim Credeur, Ed Herman is now back on the map after being out of commission for nearly two years.
Now relevant in the middleweight division, Herman can serve as a test to see if Ring is ready to take a step into the next level of middleweight talent.