UFC 168 provided its competitors with a huge platform to perform on and advance their careers. Chris Weidman, Ronda Rousey, and Travis Browne already have the next steps in their careers set taking on Vitor Belfort, Sarah McMann, and Fabricio Werdum respectively. Let’s take a look at what could be next for other notable performers on the card.
Dustin Poirier: Poirier was one of the card’s top performers putting away Diego Brandao with hammerfists in the first round. Poirier is angling for a rematch with Cub Swanson but given how recent their first fight was I think the UFC will have other plans. I think Poirier gets a matchup with fellow UFC 168 winner Dennis Siver in a battle between two top ten featherweights.
Uriah Hall: It’s hard to rate Uriah’s Hall UFC 168 TKO over Chris Leben. Was he that good or was Leben just that bad? I’d like to think it was more the former than the latter. In this fight Hall showed what people saw in him on the Ultimate Fighter: A devastating striker with good head movement and a diverse set of skills. The UFC needs to build Hall up slowly before throwing him into the deep of the middleweight division. Hall should get matched up with Brazilian Caio Magalhães.
Michael Johnson: Johnson put on the best performance of his career when he became the first person to knockout Gleison Tibau since Nick Diaz did at UFC 65. Johnson showed vastly improved takedown defense, great footwork, and excellent hand speed. I think it’s time to put Johnson up against a top-notch opponent. Michael Johnson should face another UFC 168 winner Jim Miller sometime in early 2014.
John Howard: John Howard showed a diverse offensive attack in his unanimous decision win over Siyar Bahadurzada. After being cut from the UFC it seems as if Howard took the time off seriously and worked on many holes that were in his game. We’re seeing the most complete version of “Doomsday” we have ever seen in the Octagon and I think he would be a great fight for rising star Brandon Thatch.
William Patolino: William “Patolino” Macario rebounded from a disappointing UFC debut with a three round bludgeoning of Strikeforce veteran Bobby Voelker. Patolino was the quicker fighter between the two and used his speed to rock Voelker multiple times throughout the bout. The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Season Two finalist is still very green and should get a fighter like Zak Cummings in his next bout.
Robbie Peralta: After losing a decision to Akira Corassani in his last bout, Robbie Peralta found himself in a hole once again as he was likely down two rounds to nothing against Estevan Payan. Peralta made that a non-issue as he laid out Payan with punches just twelve seconds into round three. “Problems” could use some work on the mat but his ability to end a fight should never be counted out. A bout with Jimy Hettes would help each fighter get much closer to cracking the top ten.
Siyar Bahadurzada & Bobby Voelker: The UFC should match these knockout artists in a loser goes home match. Who wouldn’t want to watch this fight?