What started off as one of the most bizarre nights in mixed martial arts that I have ever witnessed ended in a potential fight of the year with serious championship implications.

We all know that Junior dos Santos has probably lined himself up for another title shot if Cain Velasquez cannot return and is stripped of his UFC heavyweight championship. I can see the pay-per-view now: UFC heavyweight champion (now interim) Fabricio Werdum vs. former champion Junior dos Santos in a sold out arena in Brazil.

Dana White has already said that Rafael dos Anjos will be next for lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and that Joanna Jedrzejczyk will most likely be the next challenger to newly-minted women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza, so let’s skip past those as well.

We’re here to make the fights that we don’t already know are going to happen.

Matt Mitrione vs. Alistair Overeem

If you were to tell me five years ago that “Meathead” from The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights would one day be on a three fight win streak, fighting on network television, and possibly fighting Alistair Overeem in his next bout, I would have said that you were insane. Yet here we are.

Mitrione has gone from an athletic big guy who can punch to become a mixed martial artists worthy of a spot in the UFC’s top 10 within the division.

While one of these heavyweights is starting the run of his life, the other probably just saved his job with a brutal TKO finish over Stefan Struve. Overeem is still looking to earn a UFC title shot and a win over Mitrione to go along with the win over Struve would probably give Overeem the resume for another fight with a top-5 opponent.

John Moraga vs. Joseph Benavidez

Both of these guys are more than worthy of their respect in the bantamweight division, both both have been decisively beaten (twice for Benavidez) by the champion, Demetrious Johnson.

Barring a new champion, both are probably a couple fights away from another title shot and it’s dangerous to match them up with guys like John Linaker or Jussier Formiga because you don’t want to create fewer viable contenders for Johnson.

Keep Moraga and Benavidez relevant and make this matchup. Plus, there’s little doubt it would be an awesome fight to watch.

Henry Cejudo vs. Brad Pickett (flyweight) or George Roop (bantamweight)

Ah, the ole’ fashioned gatekeeper matchup…

Depending on which weight Cejudo decides to fight at next, both of these fighters present the classic veteran that he can put his resume for a future title shot.

If Cejudo were to lose to either, they are both big enough names to not ruin his career and they’d be good tests for the rising prospect. He’d just have to work his way back to the beginning of that ladder.

About The Author

Blane Ferguson
Associate Editor/Senior Staff Writer

Blane can trace his MMA roots, like many others, to the finale of the first Ultimate Fighter season between Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin. After watching that incredible fight and cleaning the local Blockbuster of any recorded UFC pay-per-views they had, Blane was hooked on watching the sport and he carried that passion with him to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Blane is a four-year broadcasting veteran of ASU's campus radio including a founder and co-host of the station's combat sports show, The Final Round.