UFC 140 Results: Matches to Make After Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida
For maybe the first time in his career, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones faced adversity in a title defense against Lyoto Machida at UFC 140. Although Jones lost the first round of Saturday's fight on one judge's scorecard, the budding superstar pulled off a submission victory in the second round to retain his belt.
With title defenses against two former UFC champions already in his rear-view mirror, it's already time to begin looking ahead at what the future may hold for Jones. In all likelihood, Jones' next defense will come against the winner of a bout between former teammate Rashad Evans and rising star Phil Davis.
Let's take a look at the matches that the UFC should make for Jon Jones and the rest of the UFC 140 competitors.
Constantinos Philippou vs. Chris Weidman
Coming off of back-to-back wins over Jorge Rivera and Jared Hamman, Constantinos Philippou is starting to make a case for a bout with an upper-echelon middleweight. Therefore, he seems like an opponent who would make for a natural progression for highly-touted Chris Weidman.
With a definitive victory, the winner of this potential bout would undoubtedly be ready for a shot at a 185-pound contender.
Mark Hominick vs. Loser Manny Gamburyan/Diego Nunes
In front of his Canadian fans, Mark Hominick suffered an embarrassing defeat at UFC 140, where he was knocked out in a UFC-record seven seconds.
Despite the loss, Hominick remains a fan favorite for his performance against Jose Aldo. Hominick will likely continue to compete against big-name featherweights, but he'll have to take an opponent who is coming off of a loss in his next bout.
The loser of a UFC 141 bout between Manny Gamburyan and Diego Nunes would be going through a similar drought as Hominick, which would allow the winner of their potential fight with Hominick to get back on track.
Chan Sung Jung vs. Winner Manny Gamburyan/Diego Nunes
With his upset victory over Mark Hominick on Saturday, Chan Sung Jung has become at serious contender at 145 pounds. Unfortunately, the "Korean Zombie" may have to pick up another win before he can get a title shot eliminator bout.
At the moment, most of the top featherweights are locked into other bouts. Since he didn't absorb any damage at UFC 140, Jung will likely take a fight with the highest-ranked opponent he can get in the near future, which is probably the winner of a UFC 141 bout between Manny Gamburyan and Diego Nunes.
Brian Ebersole vs. Rick Story
Brian Ebersole's previously fast-rising stock slowed at at UFC 140, as he needed a slightly controversial decision to remain undefeated in the UFC. Still, Ebersole deserves to continue climbing the ladder until he is handed a defeat.
Two straight losses have bumped Rick Story out of a contender role in the welterweight division, which makes him a good test for a rising fighter like Ebersole.
Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin
At UFC 140, Tito Ortiz lost his second straight fight due to strikes to the body. With one fight remaining on his UFC contract, the loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira pushed Ortiz another step closer to retirement.
Ortiz has expressed interest in a rubber match with Forrest Griffin. Since both fighters are coming off of losses and the two traded split decisions in their first two meetings, a meeting between Ortiz and Griffin would be a good way for the MMA legend to end his storied career.
Antonio Rogerio Nogeuira vs. Thiago Silva
With his victory over Tito Ortiz at UFC 140, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is back on a path toward contending for the light heavyweight title. The timing could now work out for Nogueira to welcome Thiago Silva back to the Octagon in a potential bout that would catapult the winner into the mix for a title shot.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Josh Barnett
Needless to say, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will be out of action for an extended period of time due to a broken arm he suffered in his bout with Frank Mir at UFC 140.
Finding success in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Josh Barnett may have done enough to earn himself one last shot in the UFC, something that seemed would never happen after he was stripped of the heavyweight title for a failed steroid test.
Nogueira and Barnett have split the two meetings they have had with one another. A rubber match between the two would bring some intrigue and, if he so chooses, would make for an excellent retirement fight for Nogueira.
Frank Mir vs. Cain Velasquez
With his highlight-reel submission over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 140, Frank Mir is back in line for a heavyweight title shot. Due to the shallow nature of the heavyweight contender pool, former champion Cain Velasquez is also only one or two big wins from a title fight.
Therefore, a bout between Mir and Velasquez could determine the next top contender behind the winner of a fight between Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem.
Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio Rua
Though he failed to reclaim the light heavyweight belt, Lyoto Machida found more success against Jon Jones than possibly any other fighter has. Since both fighters are now a long way from another title fight, a rubber match between Machida and Mauricio Rua could make sense in 2012.
Jon Jones vs. Winner Rashad Evans/Phil Davis
A victory over Lyoto Machida moved Jon Jones one step closer to greatness. At the age of 24, Jones is already making a case to become the greatest light heavyweight of all time.
Jones' next test toward becoming one of the sport's greatest fighters will likely come against the winner of the UFC on FOX 2 main event between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis.
Sean Smith is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. For the latest insight and updates on everything MMA, you can follow Sean on Twitter @SeanSmithMMA.
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