It's time to put on my UFC matchmaker hat and predict what's next for UFC 135's winners and losers. If Joe Silva and/or Sean Shelby is reading this, consider these suggestions on the house.
Jon Jones: Rashad Evans
This was supposed to be Jones' first title defense until he pulled out of the fight due to an injured hand. In the end, though, everything worked out for the UFC, as they first got Jones vs. Rampage and now we'll get to see the fight pitting the former friends and training partners once and for all.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson: Muhammed Lawal
Following his loss to Jones, Jackson said he wanted to fight "Shogun" Rua in Japan. Rua is scheduled to meet Dan Henderson on Nov. 19, and while he could conceivably return to fight Jackson at the end February, I would like to see Jackson fight a fresh opponent. Enter "King Mo." Lawal and Jackson have been verbally sparring for the last couple of years, and when you consider their popularity in Japan, I think this would make for a fun fight.
Josh Koscheck: Chris Leben
Sept. 27, 2011: Josh Koscheck and Nate Diaz talk to the press about their UFC 135 victories, and what lies ahead.
Koscheck still seems interested in testing the waters at 185 pounds, so why not have him fight his long-time pal Leben when he moves up to middleweight? Yes, I'm aware Leben is fighting Mark Munoz in November, but win or lose, this fight would make sense for both men.
Matt Hughes: Retirement
One of the things I dislike most about this great sport is how cruel it can be to legends. Matt Hughes is one of the best fighters to ever fight in the UFC. He has nothing left to prove to anyone, especially himself. I know he wants to go out on top, but sometimes the script doesn't write itself out that way. Now, far be it for me to tell a legend when to hang 'em up, but here's hoping the UFC can convince Hughes to sail off into the sunset in a brand new tractor. Yeah, maybe that will entice him to say goodbye.
Travis Browne: Mark Hunt
A battle between the men who huffed and puffed their way to victory on Saturday. One thing's for certain, Hunt's next fight must be held in Japan, considering the success he had there in K-1 and PRIDE.
Ben Rothwell: Brendan Schaub
Both big men are in desperate need of a win to remain relevant at heavyweight.
Nate Diaz: Edson Barboza
Tell me you wouldn't pay top dollar to watch these two dynamic strikers go toe-to-toe? Plus, if this one does go to the ground, I would like to see how Barboza would fare against Diaz's BJJ.
Tim Boetsch: Jared Hamman
Boetsch is 2-0 and has looked impressive since dropping down to 185 and Hamman looked great in his middleweight debut against C.B. Dolloway in August. This fight would be a good test for both men.
Tony Ferguson: Jacob Volkmann
Ferguson was dominant in his lightweight debut. A fight against the gritty Volkmann, who will surely test his ground game, would gauge just how good he can be at 155.
UFC President Dana White (above) embarrassed after Gray Maynard beat Clay Guida by split decision to win a lightweight bout and the main event of the UFC card in Atlantic City.
Can anyone top the big three of Silva, Jones, and GSP as the best pound-for-pounder fighter?