UFC 140 Results: Top 5 Fights to Make After Jones vs. Machida
UFC 140 is now in the books, and Light-Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones has made history by becoming the first person to successfully defend the Light-Heavyweight Championship more than once in over six years. This has prompted many to ask if Jon Jones will eventually go down as the greatest champion in UFC history.
The biggest question right now is what comes next for the big names of the card. Who should Jones defend his title against next? How can Machida work his way back to a title-shot? What's the best way Frank Mir can continue his climb back to the top of the heavyweight division?
Now take the time to see answers to these questions, and more, from the No. 1 source for UFC news and editorials.
Honorable Mention: Antônio Rodrigo "Big Nog" Nogueira
Probably more so than any other fighter on the card, even Tito Ortiz, Rodrigo Nogueira needed a win last night. Some even went so far as to say win or lose, he should still retire so as to keep his legacy in tact.
There aren't too many fights Big Nog could take that don't run the risk of jeopardizing the way he will be remembered.
With Cro Cop out of the UFC, Roy Nelson coming off a win, and Randy Couture retired, it just doesn't make sense for Big Nog to take on a fight against someone else in the division and create a situation in which a win won't get him a title shot and a loss only hurt hims and makes a start out of someone else.
Big Nog has put on some of the greatest fights we've ever seen, from his three-round battle with Couture to his trilogy with Fedor. Let's hope he hangs 'em up now so those are the fights he is remembered for.
Tito "The Peoples Champion" Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin III
It is possible that Tito Ortiz will be finally cut following his first-round TKO loss to Lil Nog, but considering the face that he's already stated he plans on retiring after his current contract—which now has just one more fight on it—expires, it is just as likely he will be granted his wish and have one more fight.
The likely opponent should be none other than Forrest Griffin. The fighters are currently 1-1 against each other, and everyone loves a rubber match. Both fighters are also coming off of first-round losses, so it makes perfect sense to see which of the two still has a future in fighting and who should become a retired ambassador for the sport.
The only other fight which would make sense for a high-profile fighter like "The People's Champion" would be a rematch with either Lyoto Machida or Stephan Bonnar.
Both are unlikely, as Machida will be looking to face a top-10-ranked fighter to work his way back to a title-shot, and Stephan Bonnar is riding a three-fight win streak and is more likely to fight someone like Lil Nog or the winner of Alexander Gustafsson versus Vladimir Matyushenko.
Antônio Rogério "Lil Nog" Nogueira vs. Stephan Bonnar
A fight with Stephan Bonnar makes sense, as it would be a good test for Bonnar, and a step up from the kind of competition he has faced in his last five outings.
This fight also makes sense for Rogerio Nogueira as it would afford Lil Nog the chance to go against another well known UFC fighter and raise his own stock in the division and visibility to fans.
Both guys are sound veterans and match up well. This fight could also tell us which fighter still can makes waves in the division and which one will be forever relegated to journeyman status.
The winner of Gustafsson vs. Matyushenko would also make for a good matchup, especially since Lil Nog is currently 1-1 against "The Janitor." There would be a score to settle in a rubber match.
Gustafsson makes sense as Lil Nog has cemented himself as the proving ground for up-and-comers in the division since he was bested by Phil Davis and Ryan Bader, who have both been afforded No. 1 contender matches following their victories over the smaller Nogueira brother.
Frank Mir vs. Cain Valasquez
After Mir was bested by top wrestlers and overall behemoths Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin, many wrote him off as the perpetual gatekeeper of the division.
But following his submission win over a legend who has 20 submission victories and had never been submitted, it is possible we are witnessing the resurgence and third coming of Frank Mir.
While his KO win over Cro Cop wasn't the most impressive as the fight was generally uneventful, it did come at a time when Cro Cop was coming off of two wins. Further, despite his inability to finish Roy Nelson—something current champ JDS couldn't do either—he did show he can still hang with the best of 'em and go into deep water if need be.
A fight with fellow former champ Cain Valasquez is perfect, as it could either be a great way for Valasquez to rebound following his loss to current champ JDS, or we can see if Mir has learned how to deal with an elite level wrestler since his losses to Carwin and Lesnar.
Not much else makes sense since no one is crying for a rematch with Cheick Kongo, and a rematch with Carwin appears even more unlikely at this point.
Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua III
If anyone was supposed to be able to dethrone Jon Jones, it was Lyoto Machida. For the first round it even appeared that might be a very real possibility. If Machida could keep up his pace of avoiding Jones' striking and take the fight into the later rounds, he was likely to find an opening and end it.
Unfortunately, the second round told a different story and we saw the champion slay "The Dragon" via standing guillitone choke. That said, Machida did expose some vulnerabilities in Jones' game, but for a young fighter who continues to evolve it is unlikely those vulnerabilities will exist for long.
Finishing business with Mauricio Rua should be at the top of Machida's list if he ever plans to fight for the title again. The score is currently 1-1, and with Shogun coming off one of the greatest fights in UFC history against Dan Henderson, this fight has five-round pay-per-view headliner written all over it.
The winner will go on to work his way back to the title, while the loser will have to take a hard look at his future in the division.
Considering that their previous bouts lasted five rounds, the third should be no exception, with five-rounders no longer limited to title fights. No other fight truly makes sense for either former champ, and it should happen as soon as possible.
Jon "Bones" Jones vs. Dan Henderson
Yes, Rashad Evans has been waiting a long time for his shot at Jon Jones and the title. Yes, the winner of Rashad Evans versus Phil Davis will likely become the No. 1 contender. Yes, Alexander Gustafsson is right on the cusp of contendership.
But none of that matters because Dan Henderson has made his return to the UFC, and his recent wins over Babalu, Feijao, Fedor, and Shogun trump the accomplishments of any other 205er in the world
A win for Henderson will cement his place in history, without a doubt, as one of the greatest of all time. A loss would be a symbolic passing of the torch to the next generation.
Sound off Below, Who Should Challenge the Champ?
Does Evans deserve a shot at Jones before Henderson? Should Tito and Machida fight instead? Let your voice be heard and comment below.
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