One of the most anticipated cards in recent history, UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier, has come and gone with little to no surprises (Josh Burkman surviving Hector Lombard being the biggest one for me).

A quick summary: Jon Jones is still the light heavyweight champion and will await the winner of Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. Daniel Cormier will need to probably win at least two more times before getting another shot at Jones. Donald Cerrone gets frustrated by fighters who don’t want to fight. Myles Jury isn’t ready to be in the top-5 yet. Brad Tavares saved his job and Nate Marquardt is probably close to losing his. Kyoji Horiguchi and Hector Lombard need a step up in competition.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s embrace the New Year and move forward. It’s time to play Monday Morning Matchmaker.

Hector Lombard vs. Rory MacDonald

Lombard and MacDonald are riding four and three-fight win streaks respectively. A win in this bout would give either of them a strong case for a title shot.

The only problem is that the welterweight division is impossible to predict.

It’s looking like the UFC is going to go for the trilogy between welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and the former champ Johny Hendricks. I could see that fight taking place in either April or May, but whatever happens after that depends on the decision of one man.

That man is former welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.

If he’s not ready to challenge for the title by the end of the year, I’d expect the winner of a hypothetical fight between Lombard and MacDonald to be next in line for the championship.

Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Chris Cariaso

The flyweight division isn’t loaded with a ton of challengers for Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. John Lineker and Ian McCall fight in a rescheduled bout at UFC 183, the winner of which would probably be the next man up for Johnson.

After that, the division is thin. Cariaso is still trying to get back into contention and stopping the rising Horiguchi would certainly help his case to get back into contention.

For Horiguchi, he’s currently on a 9-fight win streak and is 4-0 since joining the UFC in 2013. It’s time for him to take on somebody in the top 10 of the division and Cariaso would certainly be test for the former Shooto bantamweight champion.

Donald Cerrone vs. Nate Diaz

This one probably isn’t the most likely fight, but I think it could make sense.

If Khabib Nurmagomedov was healthy, I’d think a fight with him and Cerrone would be almost a lock, but he isn’t and Cerrone is already campaigning to fight in February. Cowboy isn’t going to wait until April for Khabib to be ready because he wants to make as much money and be as active as he possibly can before he gets a title shot.

Nate Diaz looked like a shell of himself in December against Rafael dos Anjos. He wasn’t close to making weight, missed an open workout, and was never really close to defeating dos Anjos. He’s lost three of his past four and could be on his way out of the UFC if he keeps going down this path and losing. A win over Cerrone, something he has already done, would put an emphatic end to a lot of that criticism.

Cerrone would get the chance to avenge a loss where Diaz pretty much dominated, make some money, and possibly win a performance bonus. I can guarantee that Cerrone won’t have to kick Diaz on the ground out of frustration because Diaz was backing away throughout the fight. Say what you will about Diaz, but he doesn’t produce boring fights.

But it probably won’t happen. All we can do is hope.