Five fights we’d like to see featuring the stars of UFC 137
Welcome to our newest feature here at HeavyMMA.com. On the Monday after each major UFC event, we’ll put on our amateur matchmaker hat, pretend we’re Joe Silva and give you five different fights we’d like to see. Let’s get started by making some fights after Saturday’s UFC 137 event.
Donald Cerrone vs. Nate Diaz
This one isn’t just a pipe dream any more – it’s a reality. Diaz and Cerrone will square off at UFC 141 in late December, and I couldn’t be happier.
The fight pits two guys who absolutely love fighting in its most raw element, which is to say that there’s a very good chance we’ll see an exciting standup war. In fact, this is my early pick for Fight of the Night at UFC 141. Unless Lesnar and Overeem engage in a war for the ages, Diaz and Cerrone should go home with some sweet Fight of the Night cash in their pockets.
Diaz doesn’t like Cerrone, and Cerrone seemingly doesn’t like anyone outside of his inner circle. Throw in a little trash-talking from both sides and a possible UFC lightweight title shot on the line for Cerrone, and you’ve got a recipe for something memorable and awesome. You’ve also got Cerrone going for his fifth UFC win in 2011; that may not be a record, but it’s gotta be close.
Roy Nelson vs. Travis Browne
The re-invention of Roy Nelson should continue in the gym over the next few months. He’s no closer to a title shot than he was before soundly beating and retiring the legendary Mirko Cro Cop, which means he’s certainly not going to get the title fight against the winner of Dos Santos/Velasquez that he requested during his interview with Joe Rogan. But he looked like a new man in the cage and, if he sticks with his new conditioning program, he’ll look even better the next time out.
A fight with Cheick Kongo would be a bad style match-up and would likely produce a fight that isn’t very exciting. That’s why I’d rather see Nelson fight someone like Travis Browne. Browne is an interesting prospect and Nelson would obviously present his sternest challenge to date, so a win over Big Country would actually mean something. On the flip side, a Nelson win over Browne still wouldn’t give him a title shot, but it would go a long way towards proving that Nelson can handle bigger, more athletic and faster heavyweights.
Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski
Hioki underwhelmed in his UFC debut, but he still earned the all-important win. Palaszewski made quite the impression with his first-round destruction of Tyson Griffin. The featherweight contender ranks are quite thin, at least for the moment, and an emphatic win for either one of these guys could make them a credible title contender for the winner of Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes.
Hioki would be forced to deal with a powerful and accurate striker, while Palaszewski would need an improved ground game to avoid being smothered like George Roop. It would be an interesting test for both fighters.
Scott Jorgensen vs. Joseph Benavidez
Benavidez has been on the shelf since August, so he needs a fight. But UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby is in a difficult position with Benavidez. He doesn’t want to put him against a possible contender because, well, Benavidez beats everyone in the world not named Dominick Cruz. If you’re trying to build a contender, you can’t feed him to a guy who would most likely derail his hype train. You also can’t give Benavidez another title shot. Not yet. He’s lost twice to Cruz and it’ll be some time before he gets a third crack, if ever.
Jorgensen showed a much-improved wrestling game in his decision win over Jeff Curran. He lost to Cruz less than a year ago, which means he’s not getting a title shot any time soon. Both guys are top bantamweights, which makes this an important fight in the division.
What makes the fight intriguing is that both fighters are friends. They’re both sponsored by Form Athletics and spend plenty of time together. There wouldn’t be any “teammate vs. teammate” problems, though; both guys train at different camps and have said in the past that they would be willing to fight each other. If Benavidez doesn’t want to wait around until the flyweight class debuts, so let’s give him a fight with some meaning while he waits.
Ramsey Nijem vs. Matt Wiman
You just never know what you’re going to get with Wiman. In one fight he’ll look extremely technical and talented, and in the next he’ll look lost and confused. He’s coming off a win over Mac Danzig earlier this month and will no doubt look to stay active.
Nijem scored his first official UFC win by utterly dominating Danny Downes at UFC 137, even earning a score of 30-25 in the process. His wrestling game was drastically improved since his days in the Ultimate Fighter house, and a bout with Wiman would go a long way towards telling us exactly where Nijem stands and what he could be in the future.