After a long layoff, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) re-emerged on the mixed martial arts (MMA) scene with UFC 152, which took place LIVE from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario on Sat., Sept. 22, 2012.
The pay-per-view (PPV) event ended up being one of the stronger cards fans have seen in a good, long while, culminating with two very exciting title fights as the main and co-main events, respectively.
UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones avoided early danger to defend his belt for the fourth consecutive time, in an explosive match up versus MMA legend Vitor Belfort. A decision on Jones' next opponent has yet to be announced, though it will likely either be Dan Henderson, Lyoto Machida or possibly the winner of a fight pitting the two against each other.
Demetrious Johnson made history, becoming the promotion's first ever Flyweight champion, after darting around the cage and picking Joseph Benavidez apart for five full rounds. The fight ended up going to a split decision by the judges, and it was "Mighty Mouse" who ended up having his hand raised, after it all was said and done.
But what about the rest of the UFC 152 main card winners?
Swanson has now won three in a row, all by way of (technical) knockout, and he looks the Swanson of old, totally re-energized and full of fire.
I say, stop wasting Swanson's time. He needs a top tier guy. If it turns out that he wilts under the pressure of title contention, so be it. But we need to find out just what he's made of.
The title picture is a little congested, unfortunately. Right now, you've got four guys in Jose Aldo, Erik Koch, Frankie Edgar and Chan Sung Jung who make up the top four of the division. (You can disagree with Edgar being included, but you know I'm right. I'm not saying he deserves it, but the UFC wants him in a title fight ASAP.)
More than likely, Swanson won't get paired up with any of those fighters. I'd love to see him fight Edgar, but that probably won't go down.
As a second best option, I nominate Chad Mendes. "Money" recently was considered to be a number one contender. He's coming off a win, and I believe he's one step up from his recent competition.
Plus, Mendes' wrestling game would be a different look and true test for Swanson.
Admit it. You like it.
Matt Hamill was next to hop aboard the "win wagon" with a three round decision win over Roger Hollett, a last second replacement who looked like he had jumped right off the couch in the middle of a TV dinner to fight "The Hammer."
He beat him, and it was convincing, but it was a total yawnfest.
I gotta be honest. I don't care who Hamill fights next, but if he insists on sticking around and stinking up PPV cards, make him fight a tough guy.
My suggestion: Ryan Jimmo. He's a newcomer with knockout power and great quickness. If Hamill beats him, I'll lay off. If he loses, let's call it a day and make that retirement a done deal.
"The Count" wants a title shot. He's said as much to anyone who would listen for months now. He beat a very tough guy. I just don't see him getting what he wants. Not yet, anyway.
First off, his fight before this one was a loss. You can argue with the decision, and I'd have a hard time telling you that you're totally wrong, but it's still a loss. At best, he barely beat Sonnen. Then, quite frankly, he eeked out a very close and tough fight versus Stann.
I have issues with putting that resume up against Chris Weidman, a guy who is now a perfect 9-0 and is coming off an absolute thrashing of Mark Munoz at UFC on Fuel TV 4 in San Jose, Calif., on July 11, 2012.
The argument is that Bisping's resume, over time, is more impressive, in the big picture. You could also say that he's fought and beaten tougher opponents over the course of his career.
You should know by now that that isn't how it works in the big show. It's all about what you've done for me lately.
The rub is that Weidman is signed up to fight Tim Boetsch at UFC 155 in "Sin City" on Dec. 29, 2012. The feeling in the MMA community is that the UFC is basically holding Anderson Silva with kid gloves, keeping him in safe fights and out of the mainstream, so that they can wait and see what happens between Georges St. Pierre vs.Carlos Condit at UFC 154.
Should "GSP" win, it would pave the road for a "superfight" between him and "The Spider." In all likelihood, the UFC will not do anything with Silva until then, just to see what happens.
Of course, you can't look past Stephan Bonnar.
Except, you totally can.
So, what to do with Bisping, then?
Let's keep it simple. Alan Belcher is fighting Yushin Okami at UFC 155 in December. If it were up to me, I'd rather see him fight Bisping. Not sure if that's even an option, but it wouldn't be the first time the UFC played musical chairs to bring the fans a more exciting fight.
If that can't happen, it leaves "The Count" in lurch, somewhat. And, it doesn't make sense to have him on the shelf until next year. Once again, the UFC has painted itself into a bit of a corner here.
Those are my pairings. Feel free to try and do better in the comment section below!