After another great night of fights at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, it’s that time again to step into the shoes of Joe Silva and Sean Shelby and see what’s next for the winners from UFC on FOX 12. There are plenty of critical bouts to be made with their rankings after their victories.
Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks 2
Since UFC President, Dana White confirmed that the winner of Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown would get the next title shot after the fight was announced, it wasn’t so hard to pick the winner’s next opponent. After a grueling 5-round fight in the UFC on FOX 12 Main Event, it was Lawler who picked up the Unanimous Decision, ending Matt Brown’s 7-fight winning streak. As a result, “Ruthless” gets his rematch with Johny Hendricks for the UFC Welterweight Championship.
Lawler has won five of his last six fights since his return to the UFC and welterweight division. Of course, the one loss came from the close vacant title fight between him and Hendricks, where some even believed Lawler should have earned the decision. “Ruthless” defeated Josh Koscheck, Bobby Voelker, Rory MacDonald, and Jake Ellenberger prior to beating Brown.
Hendricks defeated Lawler at UFC 171 in his hometown of Dallas, Texas to become the first UFC Welterweight Champion since Georges St. Pierre took a break from the sport. Many believed Hendricks should have been champion when he fought St. Pierre back in November at UFC 167. Though it was a close fight, it was labeled as one of the most controversial decisions that “Big Rigg” should have won. Prior to that fight, he defeated TJ Waldburger, Mike Pierce, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Martin Kampmann, and Carlos Condit.
In their first fight, Lawler and Hendricks earned a Fight of the Night bonus. Chances are the sequel will be just as good, if not better, especially with Hendricks fighting without a torn bicep.
Anthony Johnson vs. Ovince Saint Preux/Ryan Bader
It only took forty-four seconds for Anthony Johnson to knock Antonio Rogerio Nogueira out. “Rumble” earned his eighth straight win. His last seven were in the Light Heavyweight Division. Since Alexander Gustafsson is injured, Daniel Cormier is challenging for the title, Rashad Evans is injured and Johnson’s teammate, and everyone else coming off losses, the next best opponent for Johnson is the winner of Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ryan Bader.
Johnson defeated Phil Davis in his return to the promtion at UFC 172. Not many expected the Blackzilian to have this kind of success due to his first stint in the UFC. He missed weight several times, both at welterweight and middleweight, and was finished every time he lost. Two years and two weight classes later, Johnson is now a fight away from fighting for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Saint Preux is on a five-fight winning streak, coming off a Verbal Submission over Ryan Jimmo. Since the Strikeforce Veteran entered the UFC, he defeated Nikita Krylov, Cody Donovan and Gian Villante.
Bader has won five of his last seven, only losing to title contenders, Glover Texeira and Lyoto Machida in that span. The TUF 8 Winner defeated former Strikeforce Champion, Rafael Cavalcante, and Anthony Perosh before that in his last two bouts.
After Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson challenge for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, the fight between Johnson and the winner of Saint Preux vs. Bader – which is on the next card – could determine who’s the next challenger.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Chan Sung Jung
With his Second-Round Rear Naked Choke over Clay Guida, Dennis Bermudez extended his winning streak to seven. “The Menace” broke into the Top 10 UFC Featherweight Rankings with that performance. During his post-fight interview, Bermudez asked for a title shot or a Top 5 opponent next. Unfortunately, a title shot is unlikely. Instead, his next opponent should be Chan Sung Jung.
Bermudez defeated Pablo Garza, Tommy Hayden, Matt Grice, Max Holloway, Steven Siler, and Jimy Hettes prior to submitting Guida. To win seven in a row in a division as deep as the Featherweight Division is already an accomplishment.
Jung hasn’t fought since August of last year when he challenged Jose Aldo for the UFC Featherweight Championship. “The Korean Zombie” dislocated his shoulder and suffered a Fourth-Round TKO loss in that fight. Before that, he submitted Leonard Garcia with the first Twister in the UFC, knocked out Mark Hominick in seven seconds, and was the first to finish Dustin Poirier.
A fight with Bermudez would be a good return for Jung, as Bermudez could become a Top 5 UFC Featherweight with a win over a former title challenger. If Jung is still recovering, Lamas would be the perfect alternate if he doesn’t fight Frankie Edgar.
Bobby Green vs. Donald Cerrone
On two weeks notice and going through personal issues and injuries, Bobby Green earned the biggest win of his career when he edged Josh Thomson for the Split Decision. Controversial or not, “The King” upset the #3 UFC Lightweight to get his eighth straight victory. As a result, he skyrockets the rankings from #13 to the Top 10, possibly Top 5. Because of the upset and the streak, Green should face #5 UFC Lightweight, Donald Cerrone.
Green has won four in a row since entering the UFC, including the Thomson win. He has defeated Jacob Volkmann, James Krause, and Pat Healy since his promotional debut.
Cerrone is on a four-fight winning streak. All four wins in the streak ended before the third around and came with at least one bonus. “Cowboy” defeated Evan Dunham, Adriano Martins, Edson Barboza, and most recently, Jim Miller.
With Khabib Nurmagomedov out with a knee injury, Green may be next for Cerrone. The winner could fight for the UFC Lightweight Championship, depending on the outcome of Benson Henderson vs. Rafael dos Anjos.