Dominick Cruz dispatched Demetrious Johnson at UFC Live Cruz vs. Johnson in a five-round unanimous decision victory.
Johnson's performance at UFC Live 6 results in a jump to the back of the line for title contenders at the bantamweight level.
Now Johnson has to get back into the title picture by picking off some names while he awaits his turn again for a shot.
Which bantamweight fighters fit this description and will be able to give Johnson his shot at the title back?
Takeya Mizugaki is coming off of a win against Cole Escovedo at UFC 135 and is now 4-4 in his last eight fights.
Of course, those four losses came against top-five bantamweights. It just seems like after every win Mizugaki earns, his next fight is against the best of the best.
This one fits really well and would be a nice way to get Johnson back on track.
Record: Brad Pickett (20-5), Renan Barao (26-1)
Pickett has already beaten Johnson once before, and if he gets past a dangerous Barao at UFC 138 I think a rematch makes sense.
Barao, on the other hand, is shooting towards the top of the bantamweight rankings. If he were to beat Pickett, fighting Johnson makes perfect sense if he wants to launch himself into the title picture.
Record: Scott Jorgensen (12-4), Jeff Curran (33-13-1)
At UFC 137, these two fighters will meet. I think Jorgensen has this one in hand, but Curran is a very experienced veteran and could rain on that parade.
If Jorgensen were to win, a fight with Johnson would make sense. Both fighters have been dispatched by Cruz, both fighters are looking to get back into the title picture and both fighters are top-six bantamweights.
Now, if Curran were to somehow pull off the upset, why not give him Johnson? It would be a nice fight for Johnson, and if he were to win it would add a decent name to his resume.
Record: Urijah Faber (25-5), Brian Bowles (10-1)
This fight is going to happen at UFC 139 with the winner presumably to earn himself another shot at Dominick Cruz's bantamweight belt.
The loser of this fight would be scrambling for a way to get back into the title picture.
With Bowles, it offers a big name to get himself back into the picture and vice versa for Johnson.
For Faber, it might not be such a good idea, as a loss to Bowles would give him his second straight loss and he might find himself wanting a lesser opponent. But why not test yourself—who pushes the pace like Cruz does?
Joseph Benavidez is stuck in bantamweight limbo with two losses to current champion Dominick Cruz.
The two fighters match up perfectly for each other size-wise, and Benavidez's wrestling matches up with Johnson's ground game.
It would be a very interesting fight and a hard one to pick. If Johnson wants to leapfrog back into the title picture, Benavidez could be the name to get him back there if he wins in very impressive fashion.
Now here is the true question: Does this fight happen at bantamweight or at flyweight for the inaugural UFC flyweight championship?