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Playing fantasy matchmaker is one of the most enjoyable things to do for mixed martial arts (MMA) fans, and with UFC on FOX 6: "Johnson vs. Dodson" behind us, we put ourselves in Joe Silva's shoes to play matchmaker for both event's main card winners.
UFC on FOX 6: "Johnson vs. Dodson" is in the books and in the organization's first network television event of 2013, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) delivered a scintillating night of mixed martial arts (MMA) action.
Demetrious Johnson, Glover Teixeira, Anthony Pettis and Ricardo Lamas were the big winners Saturday night (Jan. 19, 2013) at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, as each picked up a victory over their respective opponents on the main card, which aired on FOX.
After every fight card, fans wonder who the winners will be matched up with next. With another night of heart-racing fights in the rear-view mirror, it's time to look forward and put ourselves in Joe Silva's shoes to play UFC matchmaker.
Winner: Ricardo Lamas
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar at UFC 156
Why They Should Fight: After violently knocking out Erik Koch for his fourth consecutive win since dropping to the UFC featherweight division, Ricardo Lamas deserves to fight for the featherweight championship against the winner of the UFC 156 main event between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar.
Why does Lamas deserve the shot? It's pretty simple.
The 30-year-old is 4-0 in the weight class with back-to-back-to-back wins over Cub Swanson, Hatsu Hioki and Koch. Victories over those fighters are nothing to shake your head at. Swanson has reeled off three knockout wins in a row since losing to Lamas and is flirting with title contention himself, which should prove how significant that victory was for "The Bully." Hioki was one win away from fighting for the UFC belt until he ran into Lamas and had his title aspirations derailed. Koch was scheduled to fight Aldo for the 145-pound strap on two separate occasions in 2012 before the fights were scrapped due to injury. Lamas just knocked out "New Breed" in devastating fashion.
If that isn't a good enough case for a title fight, nothing is.
There is a contingent of people who say Chan Sung Jung should get the next title shot, but "The Korean Zombie" simply doesn't have the same amount of quality wins when comparing his resume to Lamas. He does, though, have the bigger name -- something that has proven to be more than enough to get title fights in the past.
Hopefully Lamas gets his opportunity, because he has earned it.
Winner: Anthony Pettis
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez at UFC on FOX 7
Why They Should Fight: After knocking out Donald Cerrone with a liver kick in just over two and a half minutes, it appears Anthony Pettis will be the next man to challenge for the UFC lightweight title against the winner of Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez, who collide in the main event of UFC on FOX 7 on April 20, 2013.
UFC President Dana White told FUEL TV correspondent Ariel Helwani in a post-fight interview there is "no doubt" Pettis will get the next title shot, and frankly, it's overdue. Pettis has had promises of a title shot twice before, the first upon his arrival to the UFC, but he suffered a key loss to Clay Guida in his Octagon debut. The second, in February 2012 before the UFC decided to book a Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar rematch after their controversial bout at UFC 144.
Of the two potential match ups, Pettis vs. Henderson would be the far bigger fight for the lightweight division. The two faced off one before for in back in 2010 for the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) lightweight championship. Pettis earned a five-round decision victory that night, wining a spectacular contest that was capped off by the "Showtime Kick." Pettis is the only fighter that owns a victory over "Smooth" in the last five years, and there's no doubt the champion wants to avenge that loss.
A fight with "Showtime" and Melendez would still be intriguing, as it would pit the final WEC champion against the final Strikeforce champion, but the match up definitely doesn't have the same luster as a bout with Pettis and Henderson.
Winner: Glover Teixeira
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156
Why They Should Fight: Glover Teixeira proved his legitimacy as a contender in the light heavyweight division with a unanimous decision win over Quinton Jackson at UFC on FOX 6. With the win, the Brazilian pushed his UFC record to 3-0 and has fans clamoring to see him in another meaningful fight at 205-pounds.
Teixeira said at the event's post-fight press conference (watch it here) that he has no interest in waiting around for a shot at the belt or any other shenanigans and simply wants to stay active.
If Evans were to defeat Nogueira, a match up between "Suga" and Teixeira would be a big step up for the Chuck Liddell protégé. Teixeira has yet to run into a talented wrestler since joining the UFC ranks, and Evans' prowess in that are would present a threat unlike anything Teixeira has dealt with before.
A Teixeira vs. Nogueira bout may be a bit more difficult of a sell, as Teixeira has spent a lot of time training with Lyoto Machida in the past, a fighter who runs in the same circles as Nogueira. It's unknown if the two Brazilian countrymen would have any problems facing off, but assuming they didn't, it would certainly be a bout worth watching.
Regardless of which man Teixeira faces next, there is another fascinating match up in the light heavyweight division on the horizon.
Winner: Demetrious Johnson
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall at UFC 156
Why They Should Fight: The flyweight division is extremely thin on contenders for Demetrious Johnson's belt right now with only a few 125-pound match ups confirmed for the coming months. Coincidentally, the most significant of those match ups takes place next week at UFC 156: "Aldo vs. Edgar" when Joseph Benavidez meets Ian McCall.
Both men are ranked in the top five in the world at 125-pounds, and despite suffering losses to Johnson within the past year, "Joe-Jitsu" and "Uncle Creepy" have a very good chance of earning a title shot with a win next Saturday night.
For a lengthy explanation on why Benavidez vs. McCall winner should fight "Mighty Mouse" next, read "Who Is Next For Demetrious Johnson?"
That ends this edition of Joe Silva's shoes. What do you think of these potential match ups? Do you agree? Disagree?
Let us know in the comments section below what fights you would make if you were in Joe Silva's shoes and played the role of UFC matchmaker.