Five Fights to Make After UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida

Jon Jones vs. Lyoto MachidaTaking a look at what’s next for the winners and losers of UFC 140

JON JONES vs. RASHAD EVANS: Evans will obviously have to beat Phil Davis next month at UFC on Fox in order to secure his long-awaited bout with Jones, and that’s no guarantee because Davis is a tough out for anyone. But if Evans does get past Davis, it will set up a title challenge for one of the few guys who people believe have any chance at all of beating Jones. Evans will be more motivated than you’ve ever seen him and we’ll see the best version of Rashad we’ve ever seen. Is that enough to beat Jones? Only time will tell, but it’s an intriguing fight and one we’ve waited far too long to see.

FRANK MIR vs. BROCK LESNAR/ALISTAIR OVEREEM: With Junior dos Santos on the shelf for an undetermined amount of time after knee surgery, it only makes sense to pit Mir against the winner of the UFC 141 main event. There are a few things bubbling under the surface, rumors circulating surrounding Overeem’s current situation with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and we won’t know how those issues (whether real or imagined) are resolved until Monday morning’s commission meeting in Las Vegas. But barring any situations where Overeem is forced to pull out, it only makes sense to match Mir up with the winner of this bout. If Overeem can’t fight, then you slot Mir in for a third bout with Lesnar. No matter how you slice it, Mir’s arm-destroying performance against Nogueira brought him back into the heavyweight title picture.

CHAN SUNG JUNG vs. DUSTIN POIRIER: The Louisiana native has to get past Erick Koch, of course, but if he’s able to do that, a bout with the Zombie seems like a perfect pairing. Jung proved he has the power to be a devastating striker in the featherweight division with his seven-second knockout of Mark Hominick, and Poirier represents another power and technique striker. This would be dynamite and violence all wrapped up in one nice little fight.

BRIAN EBERSOLE vs. RORY MACDONALD: This was the fight that was supposed to happen at UFC 140 before MacDonald was forced to pull out with an injury, so it only makes sense to throw these two back together. Ebersole wasn’t stunning in his performance at UFC 140, but defeating a tough and game fighter like Claude Patrick is no easy task. MacDonald could use a bout against someone who can test his durability, and Ebersole will certainly provide that.

LYOTO MACHIDA vs. FORREST GRIFFIN: Griffin’s been avoiding this fight in the press for years. Both are established stars, former champions and both are coming off devastating losses. Pair them up, cut them loose and let them decide which guy goes permanently barreling down the ladder and which guy ends up sticking around as a gatekeeper.