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 164: Henderson vs. Pettis 2, which took place on Aug. 31 from the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Anthony Pettis vs. T.J. Grant

A new lightweight champion was crowned at UFC 164 on Saturday. Milwaukee’s own Anthony Pettis defeated Benson Henderson by submission in the opening round to claim the strap. Pettis was put on his back by the former champion, but he locked up an arm to force Henderson to tap.

Now that the lightweight division has seen a change at the top, who should Pettis face for his first title defense?

The talk following the bout surrounds a superfight between Pettis and featherweight champion Jose Aldo. “Showtime” called out Aldo after his victory, and many people in the MMA community have jumped on this claim.

Although it would be a great fight to make, it shouldn’t happen just yet. Pettis should have to defend his belt at least once before any superfights are made with him. There are other names in both divisions waiting in line for their chance at a title shot.

At 155 pounds, T.J. Grant deserves to fight Pettis next. Grant was expected to fight Henderson at UFC 164, but was forced out due to injury. The 29-year-old has been on a roll since moving to lightweight, winning all five fights in the division. After wins over Evan Dunham, Matt Wiman and Gray Maynard, Grant has earned his chance in a main-event title fight.

There’s a lot to like about the match-up of Pettis-Grant also. Grant is a wrestler, like Henderson, but is much more aggressive in that he comes straight forward to his opponents. This could cause problems for Pettis, or at least keep the new champ on his toes.

If Pettis can get by Grant, then we can look more into superfight possibilities.

Josh Barnett vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva

In the co-main event of the evening, Josh Barnett returned to the UFC for the first time since 2002. “Warmaster” defeated Frank Mir in the first round by TKO and has now won 10 of his last 11 fights dating back to 2008.

A possible match-up for Barnett for his next appearance could be against Brazilian Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, who is coming off a loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 160 in May.

Considering Silva hasn’t fought since May, it’s likely he’ll be back by either year’s end or early 2014. This is probably about when Barnett will return, so the timing should work well for the UFC. Even though “Bigfoot” is coming off a loss, he is still one of the top heavyweights in the UFC. Barnett is a clear-cut top-10 guy as well, so in terms of rankings, this fight makes perfect sense.

Chad Mendes vs. Frankie Edgar

It wasn’t the first-round stoppage that he is accustomed to, but Chad Mendes added another finish to his record against Clay Guida. In the third round, Mendes scored the TKO of Guida, who had previously never been defeated by knockout.

Mendes has looked very impressive since losing to Jose Aldo in January 2012. He is still sitting at the top of the rankings behind the champion. However, with the featherweight division being so crowded, “Money” will likely have to wait before getting another crack at Aldo.

Ricardo Lamas appears to be the next man in line, and rightfully so after winning four fights in a row, three of which came against top contenders at the time. This leaves Mendes with a possible fight against former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.

Edgar is coming off a win over Charles Oliveira in his last fight—his second fight at 145 pounds—and also wants another shot at Aldo. Both men are among the top contenders in the division, and one more win for either fighter will likely earn them another title shot. The only problem is the fact the 145-pound division is the most stacked in the UFC.

Ben Rothwell vs. Stipe Miocic

Heavyweights stepped inside the Octagon on Saturday as Ben Rothwell defeated Brandon Vera by TKO in the third round.

Rothwell improved his UFC record to .500 and will now look to stay consistent.

Following the win, “Big Ben” called out Travis Browne. It’s admirable that he is trying to get his name out there, but Browne just knocked out Alistair Overeem. Rothwell and Browne simply aren’t on the same level in the heavyweight division.

Up next for Rothwell could be a fight against Stipe Miocic, who defeated Roy Nelson at UFC 161. Miocic certainly helped his stock by topping Nelson, but let’s not forget that Rothwell also has a win on his resume over “Big Country.”

Rothwell and Miocic want to be considered legitimate top-10 fighters, and this match-up will help one of them get there.

Dustin Poirier vs. Darren Elkins

Dustin Poirier and Erik Koch kicked off the pay-per-view main card, and earned “Fight of the Night” honors. Poirier edged out Koch by unanimous decision to improve his UFC record to 6-2.

Poirier missed out on his chance for a title shot by losing to Chan Sung Jung in May of last year, and he had another setback when he met Cub Swanson in February. A win over Koch certainly keeps Poirier in the mix, but he needs a couple more wins before his name comes up for a title fight.

Up next for “The Diamond” should be a fight against Darren Elkins, who defeated Hatsu Hioki by unanimous decision last week in his hometown of Indianapolis. Elkins is often overlooked in the stacked featherweight division, but the guy is 6-1 as a featherweight (7-2 overall). His win over a former top contender in Hioki was impressive, and he now deserves another quality opponent.

Poirier can serve as another tough adversary for him, but it would be a tough fight for Elkins against someone who is very well-rounded.

Photo: Anthony Pettis (L) celebrates his victory as Benson Henderson looks on (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

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.