Prior to his Oct. 8 match up against champion Frankie Edgar at UFC 136, former lightweight number one contender Gray Maynard was sitting atop the pile of fellow 155-pounders. He was viewed by many to be "neck-and-neck" with Edgar, after their razor thin bout at that ended up as a draw.
One punch changed everything.
In the fourth round of the historical rubber match between Maynard and Edgar, "The Bully" was clipped by a solid strike to the jawline that sent him plummeting to the mat, unconscious.
It was decisive. There was no controversy. Edgar won, fair and square. He will now go on to face his next challenger and continue to defend his belt. Is it back to the drawing board for Maynard?
Let's take a look.
It changed the lightweight division picture.
Also featured on the Houston fight lineup, Anthony Pettis showed mixed martial arts (MMA) fans that "Showtime" is not a thing of the past by winning a conclusive decision victory over Jeremy Stephens.
With all the other divisional shaking and moving, it seems like everybody forgot about Maynard.
It's a given that his recent loss has taken him out of the picture. You've got to earn your way back in. He'll certainly need a win or two before that's even a conversation we can have.
But is it back to square one?
It shouldn't be. Don't forget, Maynard is still the only man alive who can say he's beaten Edgar in an MMA contest. He's still an incredible wrestler whose stand up skills have come a long way since he started fighting professionally in 2006.
In addition to his win over the current champion, he's also beaten names like Dennis Siver, Jim Miller, Nate Diaz and Kenny Florian. It's hard to believe that with one loss, he could be in a position where he needed to fight any of those names again.
So what's next for Maynard?
Lauzon and Pettis would seem to have their dance cards reserved for each other. While that fight has not been officially confirmed, it looks like it will happen.
Jim Miller is available, but we've been there and done that. It's not out of the question. Both are coming off losses and rematches are fun. It just seems unlikely at this point in time.
The same exact paragraph could be written concerning a rematch with Florian. This match up is even less likely, as the last time these two tangled, Maynard won handily, essentially forcing "Ken Flo" to switch divisions and re-think his career.
Sean Sherk is an interesting name, but he probably will need to notch one more decent victory before he is given someone like Maynard.
Matt Wiman is another possibility. He's coming off a nice win over Mac Danzig on Oct. 1. While Wiman did lose to Siver, a guy that Maynard beat, many felt like the decision could have gone "Handsome Matt's" way.
Those are possibilities, but none of them hold the prospective drawing power as would a match up between Maynard and Guillard.
Granted, it's entirely possible that Maynard takes Guillard down and lays on him for three rounds. It really depends on which Gray Maynard you get on that given night. Maynard seems to be aggressively working on his hands and looking to use them as a more prominent tool in his fights. A slugfest between him and Guillard could end up being a firework-filled affair for fans.
Are you Maniacs interested in a match up between "The Young Assassin" and "The Bully?" Got a better idea? We're all ears!