UFC 132 was an exciting card, filled with many interesting lightweight matchups. The outcomes of these lightweight machups are significant in that they give a new sense of who the current contenders are and aren't, and help bring order to the talent-rich division.
Sotiropoulos, who at one point was considered a serious contender for the lightweight belt, lost by first- round knockout to Rafael dos Anjos, making this his second straight loss since losing to Dennis Siver. At the moment, he is no longer a serious contender.
Siver didn't fare too much better than the Aussie, getting by with a controversial unanimous decision over Matt Wiman, a fighter who many thought would be an easy match for him. What's more, his previous win over Sotiropoulos is devalued after a non-striker was able to knock him out in just one round, whereas Siver was unable to finish.
Only Melvin did the odds-makers justice, knocking out Shane Roller in the first round. Roller was unable to mount any serious offensive, and was noticeably frustrated by Melvin's speed and versatile attacks.
With the uninspiring performances of Sotiropoulos and Siver, and Pettis's recent loss to Guida, there are now four strong contenders for the lightweight belt: Jim Miller, Ben Henderson, Clay Guida and Melvin Guillard.
Miller is currently booked to fight Henderson this August. Regardless of the outcome, I think the UFC should set up Miller vs. Guillard and Henderson vs. Guida. Guillard has been asking to fight Miller for a while, and the two fights would help weed out the best contender.
Also, the fights would probably be awesome.
If Miller beats Henderson, Miller vs. Guillard would be for a shot at the belt. If Henderson wins, Henderson vs. Guida would instead be for a shot.
Guillard and Guida are from the same camp. They each went to Jackson's to improve their overall games, and have had parallel successes since. If each wins his respective bout, they would likely end up facing each other for the title. The losers would be dumped back into the shark pit that is the lightweight division.
The only issue here is timing. For a while it was thought that Edgar vs. Maynard would take place at UFC 135, in September, but those rumors have since been debunked. It now looks like they will fight rather late in the year.
If this is the case, the timing works perfectly. Miller and Henderson can be given four months or so to rest and then take their fights against Guillard and Guida. The timing between the top contender match and title fight would sync up well, and the title wouldn't have to sit still for too long.
There are a few ways to have the contenders fight each other to determine the best among them. I think this is the best way, but I'd be eager to here your thoughts.