Following every UFC and Invicta FC event, The MMA Corner will break down the event and suggest fights the promotion should make in the future. This week, our focus is on UFC on Fox 9, which took place on Dec. 14 from the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif.

Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall-Brad Pickett winner

Who says flyweights can’t hit hard?

UFC 125-pound champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson shut the critics up on Saturday in the main event by knocking out top contender Joseph Benavidez in the first round.

This was the first knockout victory for Johnson since 2010, but more importantly, it is the third successful title defense for the champion in 2013. “Mighty Mouse” has to be considered a “Fighter of the Year” candidate following his reign as champion.

When looking at the UFC’s slim flyweight division, there aren’t any names that stand out as being the next man in line to challenge Johnson. So, for Johnson’s next defense, the best option for the promotion has to be the winner of the fight between Ian McCall and Brad Pickett.

The fight is expected to take place on March 8 in England. McCall has fought Johnson twice in his career and is coming off a win over Iliarde Santos. Pickett, meanwhile, will be making his debut at 125 pounds after posting a 3-3 record in the UFC’s bantamweight division.

Like McCall, Pickett has fought, and beaten, Johnson, so there would be interest no matter who wins in March. Even though Pickett would have only fought once at the weight class, he is an exciting fighter that has been in big fights before. Look for either “One Punch” or “Uncle Creepy” to put themselves at the top of the rankings soon.

Urijah Faber vs. Dominick Cruz-Renan Barao winner

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Urijah Faber is back in line for a title shot.

Yes, “The California Kid” has without a doubt earned a crack at the bantamweight strap following a second-round submission win over Michael McDonald in the co-main event.

Faber has now won four in a row since a title defeat against Renan Barao. He will now eye the winner of the title unification bout between Renan Barao and Dominick Cruz, who fight at UFC 169 on Feb. 1.

Even though he has had two UFC title fights already, Faber cannot be denied a third.

No matter where a Faber vs. Barao or Faber vs. Cruz bout is held, fans will go out of their way to see it. Maybe the third time will be the charm for the 34-year-old who still has “kid” in his nickname.

Chad Mendes vs. Jose Aldo-Ricardo Lamas winner

It may not have been the stunning knockout performance we are accustomed to seeing out of Chad Mendes, but regardless, his win over Nik Lentz on Saturday is another victory in the direction towards another title shot.

Mendes went the distance with Lentz, who withstood the shots “Money” was throwing. Now, with five consecutive wins under his belt, Mendes can prepare for a five-round fight in the future.

Featherweight champion Jose Aldo, who Mendes lost to in 2012, defends his belt on Feb. 1 against Ricardo Lamas. Whoever wins that bout should most definitely fight Mendes next.

Even in a stacked 145-pound division, Mendes has separated himself from the rest. With a wrestling background to go along with power in his hands, the Team Alpha Male member would be a handful for either Aldo or Lamas.

Joe Lauzon vs. Nate Diaz

Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon looked to be in top form on Saturday after dominating Mac Danzig for three rounds.

Lauzon was in a must-win situation following back-to-back defeats against Jim Miller and Michael Johnson. But after the overall performance he had over Danzig, we can now put the Boston native’s name back in the mix at 155 pounds.

Following The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale, I put a question mark next to Nate Diaz’s name in my Fight Destiny predictions. After Lauzon’s performance on Saturday, though, I have a name to replace that question mark. Sign me up for Diaz vs. Lauzon.

Stylistically, the match-up makes perfect sense. Both men are better known for their grappling games, but can also display spot-on striking. With Diaz without an opponent in a crowded lightweight division, a fight with Lauzon is the logical next step for him while the division clears up a bit.

Edson Barboza vs. Bobby Green

The bonus match-up of the week involves two men who got their hands raised on the preliminary card.

After three rounds of fighting, Edson Barboza edged out Danny Castillo by majority decision in what many considered a draw. However, Barboza picked up the win, which is his third straight dating back to 2012.

Don’t look now, but Bobby “King” Green has won seven fights in a row since July 2011. On Saturday, Green upset Pat Healy by unanimous decision to state his case as a future contender in the making.

It’s difficult not to like the possibility of Barboza vs. Green. Both bring well-rounded games to the table, and this fight could turn into a back-and-forth affair.

Photo: Demetrious Johnson (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.