Joe Silva's shoes: Who should be next for UFC 160 main card winners?

Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting

Playing fantasy matchmaker is one of the most enjoyable things to do for mixed martial arts (MMA) fans, and with UFC 160 behind us, we put ourselves in Joe Silva's shoes to play matchmaker for the event's main card winners.

UFC 160: "Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2" is in the books and in one of the most anticipated pay-per-view (PPV) cards of the year; the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lived up to the hype in a big, big way.

Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, Glover Teixeira, T.J. Grant and Donald Cerrone were the big winners Saturday night (May 25, 2013) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, as each picked up a one-sided victory over their respective opponents on the main card.

After every fight card, fans ponder about who the winners of each bout will be matched up with next. With another night of heart-racing fights in the rear-view mirror, it's time to climb into a pair Joe Silva's shoes, look forward and play UFC matchmaker.

Winner: Donald Cerrone
Who He Should Fight Next: Pat Healy
Why They Should Fight: Following his double-bonus winning breakthrough performance at UFC on FOX 7, it seemed big things were in store for Pat Healy. But with a positive drug test from the fight, an overturned win and a loss of well of $100,000 in earnings, it doesn't seem likely "Bam Bam" is going to get the top three or top five opponent he may have without the drug test.

Healy should not be punished too much further for his mistakes, but considering he is no longer coming off a win and instead a "No Contest," he may have to take a fight with someone in a lower half of the top-10, and that's where Donald Cerrone comes in.

How would Healy deal with the crafty striking of Cerrone? Could "Cowboy" avoid getting grinded down like a majority of Healy's opponents? This fight makes all the sense in the world.

Winner: T.J. Grant
Who He Should Fight Next: Benson Henderson
Why They Should Fight: In the most important fight of his career, T.J. Grant barreled through Gray Maynard to earn a title shot and 155 pounds and continue what is truly an incredible story for the Canadian.

After putting together an average 3-3 record to start his UFC career, Grant made the decision to drop down from the welterweight division and has looked like a new man ever since.

The 29-year-old has reeled off five-straight victories and became just the second man to ever defeat Maynard, which made him more than deserving of a crack at the Benson Henderson's lightweight strap.

Henderson enjoys staying active and Grant said he wants a quick turnaround, meaning this title fight could take place before the end of the summer.

Winner: Glover Teixeira
Who He Should Next: Winner of Mauricio Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 161
Why They Should Fight: Teixeira said at the UFC 160 post-fight press conference (watch it here) that he wants the winner of Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson at UFC 161 for his next fight. And while that would be a perfectly suitable match up, this writer would prefer to see Teixeira take on winner of the co-main event from that very same card between Mauricio Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

If Rua were to defeat Nogueira, a match up between "Shogun" and Teixeira would be an interesting storyline to build up due to the fact Rua declined a fight with Teixiera in June 2012, claiming he was not well known enough. Now that Teixeira is 4-0 in the UFC and holds a win over a former champion like Quinton Jackson, it's impossible to make that claim.

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 due to the superb boxing and jiu-jitsu skills possessed by both.

Regardless of which man Teixeira faces next, there is another fascinating match up in the light heavyweight division on the horizon.

Winner: Junior dos Santos
Who He Should Fight Next: Cain Velasquez
Why They Should Fight: Just as UFC President Dana White said after the event, a trilogy fight between dos Santos and Velasquez is a "no-brainer" after the way both men performed in "Sin City."

Dos Santos knocked out Mark Hunt in a fashion no one could have predicted and proved why he should be the next challenger to the belt, and it's hard to find anyone with legitimate reasoning who disagrees.

"Cigano" and Velasquez have split their first two matchups at UFC on FOX 1 and UFC 155, and now the time has come to determine once and for all who the best Heavyweight in the world is.

Winner: Cain Velasquez
Who He Should Fight Next: Junior dos Santos
Why They Should Fight: Essentially the same explanation as above. Velasquez was very open to the idea of fighting dos Santos against at the UFC 160 post-fight press conference and that's pretty much all that needs to be said.

Sure, there are some other interesting heavyweight fights out there, but at this stage no one has proven their worth quite like dos Santos.

For a lengthy explanation on what's next for the 30-year-old champion, read "Who's Next For Cain Velasquez?"

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.

For more news and notes on UFC 160: "Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2," check out our complete event archive here.

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