UFC 134 was a very entertaining event marking the return of the UFC to Brazil for the first time in over a decade. Now once again it’s time to ask: what’s next? What does the future hold after both Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mauricio Rua brought their careers back from the brink, while Anderson Silva further cemented his legacy of greatness? Here’s my answer to just that: a new edition of my “What’s Next for the Winners and Losers” series of articles, now featuring UFC 134.
Next for Rousimar Palhares: Currently, Palhares has won five of his last six fights. So I think he’s earned a shot against a higher-level opponent. If he’s willing to wait, I think the loser of Brian Stann vs. Chael Sonnen would be a great fighter for Palhares to face. If he’s willing to wait longer, the loser of Michael Bisping vs. Jason Miller also has a lot of potential.
Next for Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: Nogueira still has a lot of ground to cover before he works his way back up to a title shot, that should be made clear. However, I think Nogueira does deserve a major name for his next opponent. I’d love to see Nogueira get in there with Shane Carwin and try to find a way to deal with Carwin’s power. Roy Nelson also stands out as a potential next opponent for Nogueira, and that would probably be a good fight as well.
Next for Brendan Schaub: It’s tough to say where Schaub goes from here, since just like when he lost to Roy Nelson, this loss made him look very human. I think it’d be interesting to see Schaub face the loser of the upcoming Pat Barry vs. Stefan Struve bout. Another Heavyweight that I think would be an interesting test for Schaub is Christian Morecraft.
Next for Mauricio Rua: Rua continued his record of hot-and-cold performances in the UFC with a brilliant win over Forrest Griffin. Personally, I think the time is right for a third and final encounter with Lyoto Machida. The two men have an incredible history, and I think they’d like to end their rivalry. Another possible opponent that would interest me a lot is Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Next for Forrest Griffin: Griffin just hasn’t looked like himself since he lost the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. Depending on how far the UFC thinks Griffin has fallen, he may be put up against Stanislav Nedkov. If not Nedkov, it’ll be another fight where Griffin plays the role of a gatekeeper. Until he starts winning fights again, Griffin may find himself stuck in that role.
Next for Yushin Okami: I’d like to see Okami get in there against Rousimar Palhares, if that’s an option. If not, like Palhares I think the loser of Stann/Sonnen would be a very interesting encounter, especially a rematch with Chael Sonnen.
Next for Anderson Silva: He can say it’s a rumor all he wants, but trust me: if there’s even the slightest possibility that UFC President Dana White could convince Silva to fight Dan Henderson at Light Heavyweight for the UFC’s debut on Fox, then that’s exactly what’s going to happen. If not, Silva can bide his time and wait for the winner of the upcoming Brian Stann vs. Chael Sonnen fight. It’s possible that Silva could bounce back up to 205 for a specialty fight, and while it’s not likely, the dream fight with Georges St. Pierre is always out there.