Your newest champion has a line of 125'ers ready to test themselves against the best
• Jon Jones
Jon Jones is just having fun out there. Say what you want about him outside of the cage, and oh, we will. He's a treat to watch at work. And the freaky thing is - he's still learning on the job.
There just aren't a whole lot of fighters right now that are chomping at the bit to square off against Jones. Credit to Vitor Belfort for stepping up and not pulling out. It's come to our attention that he had a couple of injuries heading into this one including a broken hand. Shogun doesn't want any part of Jones right now. Machida says he does, but will likely have to get past another opponent first after turning down the rematch when he had the chance. But the most interesting man, a guy who could really be an competitive match up for Jones in the stand up game would be Alexander Gustafsson.
The best thing that can happen for the UFC, and Gustafsson would be for "The Mauler" to destroy Shogun at UFC on FOX 5 in December. It'd introduce him to a bunch of new fans thus setting up a high profile pay-per-view (or even FOX) headliner in the spring of 2013. While that's the most interesting scenario, Dan Henderson may still be the frontrunner at this time. In the words of the man himself - "We'll see what happens."
• Demetrious Johnson (pictured)
Apparently Demetrious Johnson didn't get the memo that either Benavidez or McCall were supposed to win the UFC flyweight tournament. Here's a newsflash for everyone out there, myself included. Demetrious Johnson isn't a good fighter, nor is a he a good athlete. He's GREAT. Mighty may even be a word you could use to describe him. The way he handled himself after being told he beat Ian McCall then having to beat him again, (which he did - decisively) he followed it up with quite the encore. Johnson humanized a Joseph Benavidez at 125 that was supposed to beat him last night - this guy isn't going away. And he's only 26. Speed kills. But without the talent and drive to back it up you won't get very far. "Mighty Mouse" is the total package.
So what's next for the champ? He'll get the winner of Jussier da Silva vs. John Dodson. The Shooto and Tachi Palace import will be making his UFC debut against the TUF 14 bantamweight winner at 'UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot' on October 5th. Don't think we won't see Johnson vs. Benavidez II or even Johnson vs. McCall III at some point either.
• Michael Bisping
Michael Bisping is now 9-3 since his middleweight debut just four years ago. So he's fighting at a four fight a year clip, and he's the most recognizable Brit in the company, maybe even one of the most recognizable fighters period. Everyone has an opinion about this guy. But has he done enough to earn a title shot? My answer in one word - YES! Shout out to Daniel Bryan.
If Carlos Condit spoils the Silva vs. St. Pierre super fight at Jerry's House, go ahead and make Silva vs. Bisping in England. He's earned it. The winner of Weidman vs. Boetsch would be the next option in a true #1 contenders fight.
• Cub Swanson
Another Jackson's fighter. Another success story. Going into 2012 Swanson had dropped 3 of his last 5. In hindsight that doesn't look so bad when you consider those men are currently ranked 1-3 in many pundits featherweight standings. Now, after an impressive, violent 3-fight win streak, Swanson will likely have a chance to get right back in there against the best of the best. I say give him a chance for revenge against Chad Mendes while he's hot. If not Mendes, go ahead and give him a former #1 contender in Manny Gamburyan who finally got off the schneid against Michihrio Omigawa last month in Cali.
• Vinny Magalhaes
Pezao has now won six in a row. He also celebrates a 100% finish rate in professional competition. This guy is dangerous, and he's right back where he belongs - in the UFC. You don't to give him a top ten guy just yet, although I believe he could handle the Ryan Bader's and Lil Nog's of the world. A fight against the winner of Stanislav Nedkov vs. Thiago Silva would be an intriguing fight for the 205 division. Keep an eye on that fight, it goes down in Macau on November 6th as part of the 'UFC on Fuel TV 6: Franklin vs. Le' main card.
• Seth Baczynski
Just like Magalhaes, "The Polish Pistol" has reeled off six in a row as well, five out of six of them coming via finish. There will be no more Simeon Thorsen's or Clay Harvison's for Mr. Baczynski. He'll get a top 25 guy for his next dance. Hey, Kyle Noke just knocked Charlie Brenneman right out of the rankings, (he can't live off that Rick Story win forever) and this helps me kill two birds with one stone because I was just about to get to Noke next.
• Kyle Noke
See Seth Baczynski, get punched in the face, punch him back - collect fight of the night bonuses.
• TJ Grant
The Nova Scotia born lightweight came out the victor in a 15 minute war with Evan Dunham that will easily go down as one of the best fights of the year. Now Grant is $65,000 richer, thanks to his fight of the night bonus, and he also leapfrogs Dunham in the most stacked division the promotion has to offer right now. So who's next for Grant? How about what's next? I have an idea. First off why don't we get this guy on a pay-per-view main card? What was Hamill vs. Hollett doing on last nights money broadcast over this fight?
Back to who's next. This weekend undefeated submission specialist Paul Sass will be representing Liverpool against Matt "Handsome" Wiman on Fuel TV. If Wiman wins I like that fight for Grant. Another great pairing for Grant would be whomever emerges from Bocek vs. Dos Anjos at UFC 154 with their hand raised.
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