Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has closed the books on yet another pay-per-view (PPV) mixed martial arts (MMA) event, as UFC 152 rolled through Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Sat., Sept. 22, 2012.
In the main event, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones finally got back into the cage to defend his belt after failed attempts to set him up with challengers Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen and Lyoto Machida -- all inside a one-month window.
His opponent, MMA legend Vitor Belfort gave it his best, but, sadly, "The Phenom" was unable to measure up against a clearly superior adversary.
"Bones" proved, once again, that he is a worthy champion. Unfortunately, the fight was a "lose-lose" situation for Jones. If he lost, he would have been clowned to no end by his many haters and critics, alike. If he won (which he did), the choirs would surely be singing choruses of how Jones merely beat up an aging, oversized middleweight.
At the end of the day, all you can do is beat who they put in front of you, and that's just what he did.
The co-main event showcased the very first UFC flyweight championship bout, ever, as Alpha Male product Joseph Benavidez and possibly the nicest guy in all of MMA, Demetrious Johnson, put on a tremendous show for the many in attendance at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
But, just like "Highlander," there can only be one toughest tiny fighter. That man ended up being "Mighty Mouse," as his speed and elusiveness were just too much for Benavidez to keep up with.
Follow me after the jump, where we'll take a look at what's next for the UFC 152 big winners, Jon Jones and Demetrious Johnson:
Jones has beaten a proverbial "Who's Who" list of MMA legends. After adding Belfort to the pile of rubble in his championship wake, the question should be: "What can the UFC put together for this guy that will actually be competitive and exciting?"
Sadly, there are two tiers to this discussion: 1) What should happen, and 2) What probably will happen.
Glover Teixeira is a guy who is on most MMA fans' radar, right now. After a violent and impressive debut versus Kyle Kingsbury at UFC 146 in "Sin City" on May 26, 2012, there was an instant outcry to catapult Teixeira to the front of the line, or at least somewhere close to that.
Teixeira has won 16 fights in a row. Out of those 16, only one came by way of a decision. The rest were violent knockouts or submissions. The guy is sick, plain and simple.
The problem is that he's still way too new. You gotta earn a title shot, and he just hasn't. However, Teixeira will fight fellow Brazilian Fabio Maldonado, next month, at UFC 153. If he can notch yet another impressive win, he'll be knocking on the door.
Unfortunately for Teixeira, he was really screwed over when his original opponent, Quinton Jackson, withdrew due to injury. If Teixeira were to have gone in and destroyed "Rampage," as many predicted would be the case, it would have garnered him the mainstream attention he deserves. A win over Maldonado just doesn't do the same thing. Teixeira will be fighting for a UFC title. It will happen. Mark my words.
He just isn't next in line.
Next, you've got Alexander Gustafsson. He's won five fights in a row against very tough opponents. His game actually reminds a lot of people of Jones, mainly due to his lankiness and somewhat unorthodox striking style.
Don't get me wrong. It's no foregone conclusion that the lanky Swede is going to walk over "Shogun." But, if he does, because of the ill-thought-out scheduling by the UFC, he'll still have to win one more fight before he can get a shot at Jones' belt.
Finally, there's the super fight between Jones and middleweight champion Anderson Silva. It's quite simply what should happen. But, it won't. It won't happen next. It won't happen ever.
That's a summary of what should happen. How about what will happen?
Jones will either fight Henderson or Machida. It's almost a for-sure lock. Forgive me if neither of those match ups have me jumping for joy.
It's cool if you tricked yourself into thinking "Hendo" was going to have a chance before he hurt his knee. We just don't see eye to eye on that one.
It's also cool if you've managed to make yourself believe that Machida had Jones in real trouble when they first fought at UFC 140, and that "Bones" simply got lucky. You can believe all of that. If you do, I'd like to direct your attention to a bridge in Brooklyn that I'm willing to part with for a very reasonable price.
Demetrious Johnson's situation is a lot different than that of Jones', in that he doesn't have the same cast of characters waiting at his doorstep.
The UFC currently has 14 flyweights on its roster. Of that group, less than half are fighters you're probably even very aware of. It's still kind of a novelty. We're all figuring out which of these guys are true flyweights, and which ones are just Bantamweights who couldn't cut it.
I'd absolutely never say no to seeing Ian McCall fight anybody. His fights just cannot be boring. But, an instant rematch doesn't make a lot of sense. He'll need to win at least one more fight before he's back "in the mix."
I'll cut to the chase.
I think it would be fair to say whoever wins the most impressively, out of those two fights, will emerge as the number one contender.
Anything else is pure speculation. I think it's the only way to do it that doesn't involve throwing names in a hat and picking blindly.
Those are my picks and best guesses. Think you can do better? Prove it in the comment section!