Well, that sure was surprising wasn’t it? UFC 118 was filled with awesome fights, big winners, and big losers. From Nate Diaz choking out Marcus Davis to James Toney getting choked out by Randy Couture, UFC 118 lived up to just about all of its potential. Looking forward, here’s what I think is next for some of the big winners, and even some of the big losers, of UFC 118: “Edgar vs. Penn 2”.
Next for Nate Diaz: A fight with another good technical striker: Dan Hardy. Even if it’s not Hardy, look for Diaz to get a shot at a top-tier opponent. Perhaps even Thiago Alves should be the next challenge for Nate.
Next for Marcus Davis: Once again Davis has been stopped in dominating fashion. While I don’t see him losing his job anytime soon, if ever, I also think that this fight permanently moved Davis to mid-level gatekeeper status. Look for him to receive a steady stream of UFC newcomers for his next several fights.
Next for Kenny Florian: He needs to come to grips with the fact that he’s a divisional gatekeeper if he doesn’t improve his ground game from the bottom. When fighters are able to take “KenFlo” out of his element, Florian has always looked downright lost in the Octagon. Florian is still one of the best fighters in the Lightweight division, but his inability to come back when the odds are stacked against him is a real hindrance.
Next for Demian Maia: In Maia’s continued quest to regain his Middleweight relevancy, his domination of Mario Miranda was a big step in the right direction. I think Maia is ready for a rematch with Nate Marquardt. If not Marquardt, I say give Maia another good striker, like Chris Leben, in order to highlight the submission skills that made him so famous and/or to highlight his admittedly improving striking.
Next for Randy Couture: Why not Jon Jones? Couture has had nothing left to prove for the last several years and he’s still had more wins than losses. Now that he’s got a three-fight win-streak under his belt, why not welcome Jon Jones to the UFC’s elite in a big way with a very tough opponent? I think it would be amazing to see how Jones’ wrestling holds up to Couture’s, and if Couture can stand up to the dynamic striking of Jonny Bones.
Next for James Toney: Kimbo Slice in a boxing ring. I don’t see James Toney going anywhere near an Octagon for at least a couple of years. If he ever does return to the UFC, he’ll likely face a predominantly striking-based fighter, someone like Cheick Kongo. I think Kimbo vs. Toney is very likely if only because the fight will generate a lot of interest and make everyone involved a boatload of money. Look for Toney to take the KO, by the way.
Next for BJ Penn: It’s tough to say. Has the Lightweight division finally caught up to BJ Penn, or is Frankie Edgar simply his kryptonite? If BJ stays at Lightweight, he’s got to learn how to deal with today’s version of the dominant wrestler, as opposed to someone like Sean Sherk, who Penn outright dominated. This issue is even further heightened if Penn moves to Welterweight, since it’s practically controlled by dominant wrestlers. Tough times are ahead for BJ Penn, whether he or his fans or anyone else wants to admit it or not.
Next for Frank Edgar and Gray Maynard: Each other, obviously. Look for this to be heavy on the wrestling, with Maynard trying to nullify Edgar’s impressive speed and off-the-charts cardio by holding him constantly and trying to grind out a decision. I think Edgar will be a wholly different fighter for this rematch, so I’m betting that Edgar evens it to 1-1. Maynard impressed against Florian and I have no doubt that he’s ready for his shot at the gold, but Frankie Edgar simply impressed me far, far more.
But what do you think, fans and friends? Where do people like Penn, Edgar, Couture, Florian and Maynard go from here?