The present is never quite good enough for mixed martial arts (MMA) fans and pundits alike, as the collective community is always itching to know what is next. Just mere seconds after a fighter's glorious win inside the Octagon, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) analysts Joe Rogan or Jon Anik are asking the victor who they want to fight next in their post-fight interview.
With UFC returning to Brazil this Saturday night (March 21, 2015) for UFC Fight Night 62 live on FOX Sports 1, fight fans will enjoy a full slate of free action from the Ginásio do Maracanãzinho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In the main event of the evening, ranked welterweights will try to make a statement as Demian Maia looks to accrue his 14th career Octagon victory when he faces off against the undefeated Ryan LaFlare.
The co-main event features Brazilian berserker Erick Silva, as he takes on former Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season one veteran Josh Koscheck -- who stepped in for the injured Ben Saunders on just two weeks' notice.
With plenty on the line for all four marquee competitors this weekend in Brazil, let's take a glimpse into the future and predict what a win could potentially do for their careers moving forward.
It is very intriguing to follow the storyline of a veteran who is past their prime and yet continues to fight.
Although Demian Maia is not that far removed from his three-fight winning streak over ranked opponents in 2012-2013, his back-to-back losses to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald in his next two outings showed the Brazilian's best days were likely behind him.
While Maia is probably aware he won't be sniffing a UFC title shot anytime soon, the jiu-jitsu ace continues to fight either for the love of competition or to please his plethora of fans in his native country.
Either way, Maia picked up a much-needed victory over Alexander Yakovlev last May, and now the Brazilian finds himself ranked No. 7 in the division and looking down the barrel of a stiff test in Ryan LaFlare this weekend.
If Maia is able to pick up the victory, I highly doubt he would retire, but what would be the harm in hanging up his gloves at 37-years old by taking out a formerly undefeated opponent in his native Brazil?
As you know by now, storylines very rarely work that way in MMA, and Maia will likely continue to fight top-level competition, and I would reckon he is far outmatched against anyone in the top five today.
Prospect is a term used far too often (and far too loosely) in MMA.
Ryan LaFlare was a prospect back when he made his Octagon debut at 29 years old and boasting a record of 7-0. Just about two years later, LaFlare is a ranked contender with four UFC victories, and yet many (including myself) have been culprits in labeling the New York native a "prospect."
LaFlare has looked impressive in his Octagon performances, but he is hindered greatly by his inability to sell a fight, to finish a fight, and to stay healthy.
Ironically, Conor McGregor made his Octagon debut on the very same day as LaFlare two years ago, and at this point "The Notorious" one has claimed five fights, headlined two cards, and is the current No. 1 contender in the featherweight division.
Ultimately, LaFlare needs to dominate Maia this weekend to prove the savvy veteran has no place inside the Octagon with him. If the exciting grappler can do that, and then get on the mic afterward and call out another top-10 opponent, he will be on his way up the division ladder.
If there's one thing we've all learned from watching Erick Silva, it's that the Brazilian is consistently inconsistent.
In nine Octagon appearances, Silva has won five times and lost four, exchanging wins and losses in every successive bout.
The fights the Brazilian has won inside UFC have been violent, with all five coming via first-round finish. His losses have been sporadic, losing twice by (technical) knockout, once via decision, and once by disqualification.
If Silva is able to pick up the victory over Josh Koscheck this weekend, it will be the Brazilian's first winning streak inside the Octagon, and will help him move up the division ladder.
Silva has shown time and again that he cannot hang with the top-half of the welterweight division, losing to Matt Brown, Dong Hyun Kim, and Jon Fitch in his UFC career, but he has a penchant for putting on exciting fights.
I am all for continuing to feed Silva exciting match-ups until he proves he is worthy for one more crack at a ranked opponent.
You have to believe one way or the other that this will be Josh Koscheck's farewell performance in UFC.
Then again, you likely shared the aforementioned sentiment when Josh took on Jake Ellenberger at UFC 184 only three weeks ago -- and that was before he was viciously choked out by "The Juggernaut."
"Kos" stepping in for Saunders on short notice must mean the former UFC bad boy saw an opportunity to give it one more crack inside the cage, even if the odds are severely stacked against him.
The former No. 1 contender has not won a fight in three years, and has been finished in his last three fights. If the American interloper somehow pulls out the victory in Brazil this upcoming weekend, expect him to retire on top.
Or maybe he will fight next month when some other welterweight gets injured.... who knows?!
Enjoy the fights!
For more information on UFC Fight Night 62, including the full fight card, results, news, and more, click here.