July has been hot fire when it comes to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
We've gotten some weak cards as of late, but these past two events have been stellar. UFC Fight Night 45: "Cerrone vs. Miller" took place at Revel Resort & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey last Wednesday (July 16, 2014), and in the main event, Donald Cerrone stopped Jim Miller in the second round by way of strikes.
"Cowboy" was confirmed to duke it out against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 178, but the latter suffered an injury just 20 minutes after accepting the fight.
Also victorious on that card was Edson Barboza and Rick Story.
Fast forward to UFC Fight Night 46: "McGregor vs. Brandao," which took place this past Saturday (July 19, 2014) at O2 Arena in front of a raucous crowd in Dublin, Ireland, who witnessed hometown boy Conor McGregor crush Diego Brandao in the first round of their main event battle.
Also victorious in Europe was highly touted prospect Gunnar Nelson and flyweight Ian McCall.
Without further ado, let's match them up.
Winner: Rick Story
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Patrick Cote vs. Stephen Thompson at UFC 178
Why They Should Fight: Story looked impressive under the tutelage of Arizona's MMA Lab, and he'll definitely be looking for consistency this time around.
He may possess a grappling advantage against both the "Predator" and "Wonderboy," but can he hang with them on the feet?
Don't rule out a bout against the winner of Kyle Noke vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama in Japan, either, because both of those dudes could be an exciting fight for Story.
Winner: Edson Barboza
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Jorge Masvidal vs. Daron Cruickshank at UFC on FOX 12
Why They Should Fight: After dismantling Evan Dunham with his notorious kicks, Barboza looked somewhat rejuvenated this past Wednesday, with more lightweight success in mind.
Two fellow divisional sluggers will meet this upcoming weekend, as Daron Cruickshank trades blows against Jorge Masvidal, in what should be an awesome encounter. The victor could very well be Barboza's next opponent, and based on "Detroit Superstar's" stand up, along with "Gamebred's" striking style, the winner of their encounter could be a great opponent for the Brazilian.
Quite a scintillating pair of bouts, whichever one it may be.
Winner: Donald Cerrone
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Josh Thomson vs. Bobby Green at UFC on FOX 12
Why They Should Fight: Obviously, Nurmagomedov would be the ideal opponent, but since he got injured and there's no timetable for his return just yet, it seems fair to go on without him for the time being.
That doesn't mean "Cowboy" won't wait on the sidelines for him to return, since it could be an option. But if the Denver boy wants to get back inside the cage as soon as possible, Josh Thomson or Bobby Green could be a good opponent for him.
Perhaps Thomson is the sweeter deal, seeing how he's been on a tear in his return stint. Though, if Green -- a winner of seven straight contests -- can get the job done, why not him?
Winner: Ian McCall
Who He Should Fight Next: John Lineker
Why They Should Fight: After having to deal with the news that Chris Cariaso is going to be Demetrious Johnson's next opponent, it left Lineker and the winner of McCall vs. Brad Pickett in dire need of a great performance to be considered as a title challenger directly afterward.
Since ZUFFA pretty much jumped the gun on that one, there isn't a better reason for McCall to square off against Lineker in order to prove who the second best flyweight in the world is. "Uncle Creepy" did fairly well in his first bout against "Mighty Mouse," and if it weren't for a set of fail scales, "Hands of Stone" could have acquired a title shot months ago.
This bout seems fit, and it would be a doozy.
Winner: Gunnar Nelson
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Tyron Woodley vs. Dong Hyun Kim at UFC Fight Night 49
Why They Should Fight: This writer isn't one to have a prospect fight lower level opponents to gain notoriety in their respective division, and quite frankly, "Gunni" seems more than ready to take it up a notch.
With Woodley set to face Kim in Macau, the winner of this bout could be a perfect candidate when anticipating Nelson's next opponent. Dana White didn't want to rule out Rory MacDonald for the Icelandic fighter; however, that's a scrap we could look forward to in the future when both guys will have no choice but to meet inside the Octagon.
After his win over Zak Cummings, Nelson seems more than ready for an opponent who can pose real problems for him, and we've got two tough guys right here for him.
Then again, if his original opponent Ryan LaFlare could be ready soon, that's another option, too.
Winner: Conor McGregor
Who He Should Fight Next: Dustin Poirier
Why They Should Fight: This match up is all but confirmed for UFC 178, since "Diamond" wasn't too impressed with McGregor's performance on Twitter, which led to "Notorious" demanding for the bout to take place.
Winner of three straight, Poirier would be an ideal match up for the blossoming McGregor, who needs to face an opponent of "Diamond's" caliber to really get the ball rolling if he wants to be pitted in a title fight in the near future.
"Notorious" hasn't been tested too much thus far inside the Octagon, and the Louisiana-based combatant could be just what the doctor ordered. Let's get this one in ink as fast as possible.
That just about does it.