When will Scarface fight next? Well, that question has been answered. It will be at UFC 149 on July 21 at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Against who? Who knows. Your guess is as good as mine at this point.
It's funny because usually when a title fight is announce, most hard core fans can limit the possible contenders down to one or two guys. In this case, however, I'm baffled. The problem is no one featherweight sticks out as a clear title contender.
The long list of fighters at the top of the featherweight contender ladder who have yet to face Aldo include Deigo Nunes, Erik Koch, Dustin Poirier, Yuri Alcantara, Chan Sung Jung, Hatsu Hioki, Ross Pearson, and Dennis Siver.
The most obvious choices are Hatsu Hioki, who has long been considered the number two featherweight in the world and Dustin Poirier, who is on a five fight winnning streak, including a win over former top contender Josh Grisipi.
Hioki has an impressive resume which include wins over top featherweights and Bellator products Ronnie Mann and Marlon Sandro. He also has two wins over the former title contender, the one of which may have given Aldo his toughest fight in the octogon, Mark Hominick. The problem is Hioki is fairly new to the UFC, posting a 2-0 promotional record with wins over George Roop and Bart Palaszewski. So his name, at least with the casual fans, is relatively unknown and may hender the UFC's ability to sell the fight. On top of that, Hioki has publicly said that he would like one or two more fights before facing Aldo. With this being said, us Manaics may have to wait a little longer before we see the number one and number two featherweighs in the world go at it.
After losing the first fight of his career in his WEC debut against lightweight Danny Castillo, Dustin Poirier has been on a major hot streak. Since that time he has rattled off 5 straight, four of which has been in the UFC's featherweight division. The problem, however, is Poirier is set to headline the upcoming UFC on Fuel TV 3 event on May 15 against fellow contender Chan Sung Jung. Since this fight is a little over two months before the UFC 149 card, it may be a quick turn around for the winner especially against a dominate champion like Aldo. I think the time frame might be a workable huddle, but only if the winner takes minimal damage.
Since Poirier is one of the more likely opponets for Aldo, it could be possible to see the UFC yank him from the fight against Jung in favor of another contender. This however would be a difficult decision for them, since Poirier and Jung headline the card. It is likely, but the UFC has pulled fighters on rare occasions before so it's not out of the realm of possibility.
Another less likely choice is Erik Koch, 5-1 Zuffa, who does not have a fight schulded. He, however, has a loss to Aldo's recent victim Chad Mendes. This coupled with the fact that his only wins are against middle of the road fighters such as Jonathan Brookins and Raphael Assuncao and the fact that he is the middle of a 6 month layoff, makes him very unlikely choice.
Another possiblity is the winner of the Dennis Siver and Deigo Nunes fight which takes place at the next Zuffa event, UFC on Fuel TV 2 Gustafsson vs. Silva on April 14. Both fighters are unlikely choices. Nunes, because he loss to former title contender Kenny Florian and Siver, because the April 14 fight is his featherweight debut. With the lack of possible opponets, however, an impressive win by either might be enough to launch them in a championship bout by default.
Another more likey canidate is Yuri Alcantara. The Brazilian product is currently riding a thirteen fight winning streak and has wins over Ricardo Lamas, Michihiro Omigawa, and Felipe Arantes. The problem with Alcantar is similar to that of Hoiki. He is a relative unknown and may be hard for the UFC to promote so quickly.
Another very slim possibility is Mark Hominick. The only reason I include him in the discussion is because he is from the host country and had a fairly decent showing against Aldo in their first fight at UFC 129 back April 2011. Since his loss, however, Hominck was brutally Ko'ed in seven second by Chan Sung Jung.
Ross Pearson who is listed at the top now has no chance unless plans drastically change. He was recently signed to fight fellow featherweight Cub Swanson less than a month before UFC 149 at UFC on FX 4 on June 22.
Of course there are a few option outside of the current UFC Featherweight roster.
For a while the possibility of someone dropping from lightweight and getting an immedate shot seemed very plausible. This idea was all but squashed though when Frankie Edgar, signed a contract for a Lightweight title rematch with Ben Henderson and when Anthony Pettis announced plans to undergo surgery for ongoing nagging injuries.
Who knows there could also be a major singing on the horzion. Right now though no names jump out as a possibilities. The two top featherweights outside the UFC, Marlon Sandro and Pat Curran, appear to still be under Bellator contracts.