Morning Matchmaker: Jones-Gustafsson II is the only thing clear after UFC 172
Jon Jones put on a show in the main event, bloodying up Glover Teixeira and retaining his UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 172 in Baltimore. Jones is sure to see rival Alexander Gustafsson across from the Octagon from him next.
That much is clear, but nothing else really is. What should be in the near future for Teixeira, Anthony Johnson, Phil Davis and more? Find out below.
Was Jones’ dominant, unanimous decision victory over Glover Teixeira his most impressive victory yet? Maybe. Jones just brings a whole toolbox of abilities into fights compared to his peers, who can do just two or three things really well. "Bones" is basically the entire package combined with freak athleticism. That’s why he’s the best in the world.
Who’s next: Alexander Gustafsson
This one is obvious. Jones didn’t want to talk about Gustafsson after beating Teixeira on Saturday night, but he’s going to be answering plenty more questions about the Swede real soon. Look for this rematch to happen sometime in the fall, possibly in Sweden. It’ll be hard to top last year’s Fight of the Year, but it’s difficult to imagine these guys not putting on an excellent show. Their styles just click.
Teixeira didn’t prove he was the best guy in the UFC’s light heavyweight division Saturday night, but he might have proven he was the toughest. It’s hard to hang around for five full rounds with Jones. Teixeira injured his shoulder and ribs and his face was sliced up. Yet he was still throwing bombs in the fifth round. The Brazilian should feel no shame.
Who’s next: Daniel Cormier-Dan Henderson loser
The winner of the fight at UFC 173 on May 24 between Cormier and Henderson will be in line for a title shot. The loser? Kind of in no-man’s land, which is where Teixeira finds himself now. Cormier is a heavy favorite over Henderson and he’s likely to win. A Teixeira-Henderson fight would be fun. Both guys have good chins and love to stand in the pocket.
Welcome back, "Rumble." Cut in 2012 for failing to make weight on multiple occasions at welterweight and middleweight, Johnson is back in the UFC at light heavyweight and he was very impressive in a rout of Phil Davis on Saturday night. With his powerful striking, athleticism and improved defensive wrestling, Johnson is trouble at 205 for almost anyone.
Who’s next: Daniel Cormier-Dan Henderson winner
If Cormier beats Henderson, he’ll be next in line after Alexander Gustafsson for a shot at Jon Jones’ light heavyweight title. However, that means Cormier might not get a shot at the belt until sometime in 2015. You’d imagine he would want to fight once more before that. And Johnson makes the most sense, even though "Rumble" said he didn’t consider himself a title contender yet. He better. Because he is after beating a top-five caliber guy like Davis.
The key for Davis against Anthony Johnson was getting him to the ground, because "Rumble" isn’t great off his back. Well, that never happened and Davis ate some big punches in a unanimous decision loss. UFC president Dana White bashed Davis two weeks ago for not speaking up about a title shot. There won’t be any chance of "Davis" and "title shot" being spoken together in the same sentence together now for a while.
Who’s next: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
The good news for Davis is that after the top five, the light heavyweight division thins out quite a bit. Rua is coming off a knockout loss to Dan Henderson last month. He’s ripe for the plucking, giving Davis a chance to get back on a winning track. And it isn’t like there’s anyone else out there at 205 who would be a logical next opponent for "Mr. Wonderful." "Shogun" it is.
Rockhold might not have won a Performance of the Night bonus, but he looked as dominant as anyone Saturday in a submission victory over Tim Boetsch. Rockhold completely outclassed Boetsch on the ground, applying a reverse triangle and then getting Boetsch to tap to a kimura. Rockhold had the sturdy veteran tied up like a pretzel.
Who’s next: Yoel Romero
Chris Weidman is defending his middleweight title against Lyoto Machida. Vitor Belfort is in limbo with regards to getting cleared to fight in Nevada. Rockhold has already beaten Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo Souza. So who’s next? Not Michael Bisping, who Rockhold has a running feud with. Give him Yoel Romero. Rockhold’s technical striking and underrated Brazilian jiu-jitsu against Romero’s Olympic wrestling, brute strength and knockout power? Yeah, sign us up for that.
Miller is not flashy, but he’s still one of the toughest guys in the lightweight division. He can beat everyone at 155 except the elite of the elite and you just don’t want to get into a ground scramble with the guy, because you might either get choked out or your arm torn off.
Who’s next: Bobby Green
Miller called out everyone above him in the lightweight rankings, but let’s face it. He’s a gatekeeper. The New Jersey native was supposed to fight Green at UFC 172 until Green got hurt. Re-book that fight as the co-main event of the UFC’s return to Atlantic City in July. You’re welcome, Joe Silva.
"The Joaconstrictor" guillotine choke was a thing of beauty. Benavidez was actually getting beaten in the wresting game by Tim Elliott until he got a hold of Elliott’s neck and darn near tore his head off his body. Benavidez is the best guy in the world at 125 not named Demetrious Johnson.
Who’s next: Zach Makovsky
Benavidez already knocked off one very good 125-pound wrestler, how about a challenge against another one? It’s going to be awhile until Benavidez gets another title shot since he’s already lost to Johnson twice, so it’s time for him to play gatekeeper to the stars. If Makovsky beats Benavidez, he probably gets Johnson afterward. Benavidez is in no-man’s land.
Correia had the advantage in speed and technical striking over Jessamyn Duke and, surprisingly, when the fight got to the ground, Correia was better, too. Duke has to go back to the drawing board, but the undefeated Correia has a chance to be a problem in the women’s 135-pound division.
Who’s next: Shayna Baszler
C’mon. This one sells itself. Correia called out the entire "Four Horsewoman" group after beating Duke and has already challenged Baszler, telling her she’s next on Twitter. A star was born Saturday night in the women’s bantamweight division, if not for her fighting ability, but her spunk outside the Octagon.