I have to admit that when I heard Nate Marquardt was out of the main event against Rick Story at UFC on Versus 4, I didn't think the replacement headliner between Cheick Kongo and Pat Barry would do the card justice.
Boy was I wrong.
Instead the main event will go down as a classic example of how not to rush in too fast when you think you have your opponent in trouble, and we'll be watching the end of that fight on highlight reels for decades to come.
Kongo's amazing KO while still on rubbery legs will not only retain a spot for him on the UFC roster, it should also be enough to earn him another co-main event fight, likely against a well known up-and-comer.
The other Heavyweight fight on the UFC on Versus 4's main card had TUF alum Matt Mitrione in against Christian Morecraft. As most expected, Mitrione's kickboxing was the difference and Meathead KOed his opponent in the second round in dominating fashion.
The performance brought Mitrione's record to 5-0 in the Octagon and was impressive enough for him to likely get a shot at a gate-keeper type fighter who will either put him in his place or vault him into the upper echelon of the UFC Heavyweight division.
I'm sure you've figured out where I'm going with this by now.
Kongo vs. Mitrione should be next.
This matchup should be the natural pick for both of these fighters. Obviously the timing would be right for them to meet, they just fought on the same card and will have an equal amount of rest and preparation.
Another reason Joe Silva should put this fight together is that both fighters are strikers, and will likely put on a great show the way Barry and Kongo did. We know they will stand in there and bang, and we will finally find out if Mitrione is the real deal or not.
Dana White has taken just about every precaution he possible can when it comes to Mitrione. White sees the potential for the former TUF alum to become a premiere star in the UFC, but now's the time to put him to a real test.
It's time for the UFC to take the spoon out Mitrione's mouth and finally match him up with a top-tier Heavyweight opponent. Putting him in with Kongo at least gives him a chance to do what he does best and put on a good show for the fans.
But the biggest reason I have for Matt Mitrione fighting Cheick Kongo next is that I think MMA fans would like to see it.
I know I would.