Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) provided us with yet another great card from Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., last Saturday night (Dec, 14, 2013) with UFC on FOX 9: "Johnson vs. Benavidez 2."
In the main event, Demetrious Johnson scored a shocking knockout over Joseph Benavidez in their Flyweight championship rematch, with "Mighty Mouse" defending his title successfully for the third time this year.
The main event was not the only fight to have title implications attached to it, however, as Urijah Faber and Chad Mendes find themselves in positions they have both been in before ... at the top of their respective weight classes.
Indeed, after every fight card, mixed martial arts (MMA) fans are already thinking about what the future holds for the stars of the show. With another night of action-packed fights, let's peer into our crystal ball and predict possible matchmaking scenarios.
Here we go, from top to bottom:
Winner: Demetrious Johnson
Who He Should Fight Next: John Lineker
Why They Should Fight: The truth is, maybe they should not fight, because of Lineker's failure to make weight a whopping three times (especially since he has only had five fights in the organization). However, to avoid another rematch for "Mighty Mouse," with names like John Dodson and Ian McCall coming to mind, Johnson should anticipate new blood in his next fight, making the challenges as fresh as possible in the growing division.
Lineker is pretty much the only guy who makes sense in that regard.
After knocking out Benavidezlittle more than two minutes into the main event, it is safe to say Johnson does not have to worry about Benavidez for a very long time. And with fighters such as Lineker and even Ali Bagautinov looking for their chance at stardom, it makes sense to have someone new than to recycle previous bouts ... even if they make even more sense somewhere down the line.
Will this fight materialize? Who knows, since the promotion seemingly cannot grant someone a title shot after multiple weight failures; however, it may not have a choice based on the dearth of suitable current contenders.
Winner: Urijah Faber
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Dominick Cruz vs. Renan Barao at UFC 169
Why They Should Fight: Like Dana White said at the UFC on FOX 9 post-fight press conference, Faber is in a "Vitor Belfort" situation, which more or less means no other alternative makes sense but to put him in another title fight.
If Dominick Cruz or Renan Barao should win in February at UFC 169, Faber would have no problem meeting either competitor even though he already lost title fights to each of them in UFC. Of course, Faber would prefer the rubber match with Cruz since there is bad blood there, meaning that even with a loss, Cruz could be up next for "California Kid."
Winner: Chad Mendes
Who He Should Fight Next: Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas at UFC 169
Why They Should Fight: Mendes is also someone who should be included in the title conversation, having done enough to prove he deserves a second crack at the Featherweight title. He is not exactly in the same position as Faber is in, but he is pretty damn close.
It is true that Mendes had his night cut short at the beginning of 2012 against Aldo when he lost via a brutal flying knee at UFC 142 in Brazil; however, he has improved and learned from that, as we have witnessed Mendes string together five wins afterward, including four stoppages due to strikes.
A bout with Frankie Edgar is also very interesting, yet why not have Mendes prove his worth once again and let Edgar get a few more wins in the division since he has only won one fight at 145 pounds to date.
Winner: Joe Lauzon
Who He Should Fight Next: Edson Barboza
Why They Should Fight: Lauzon could be matched up with almost anyone in the Lightweight division at the moment because he is one of its most entertaining fighters to watch.
His win over Mac Danzig may not have been reminiscent of the slugfests Lauzon has been involved in before, yet it was a solid victory to get him back on track after losing two straight.
The thought of Barboza duking it out with Lauzon is pretty exciting to say the least.
Call it the classic striker versus grappler, but both men have a complete arsenal to trouble one another, in a battle where the winner becomes closer to have his name included in the Top 10.
For more on UFC on FOX 9 be sure to check out our comprehensive story stream right here.