With UFC 103 in the books fans will start to wonder what’s next for the key fighters from the event. These guys are now available (barring injury) to be scheduled for their next fight. Some of the guys could fight before the year’s end, but most will wait until the begining of the year. With that said who is next for these guys?
The UFC 103 Winners…
Vitor Belfort – I do not think there is much question about who is next for Vitor. Fans may remember before Vitor was even signed and before Affliction had even collapsed Dana White mentioned Vitor Belfort’s name as a possible opponent to really challenge Anderson Silva at middleweight. The UFC has not hidden from the fact that an impressive UFC 103 performance may net him a middleweight title shot. I believe there is no avoiding it…Anderson Silva is next and it may take place in December or early January.
Junior Dos Santos – He is now officially in the mix in the UFC heavyweight division and may only be a win or two away from a title shot. Heavyweight contenders are many now. Carwin gets Lesnar next. If Cain Velasquez gets by Ben Rothwell he could be after Carwin. Nogueira also has a case for a shot following his win over Couture. One could also argue that the winner of Mir vs. Kongo would be in the mix. My opinion is that Dos Santos needs another big fight. The Mir fight is not official yet. They could make Mir vs. Nogueira 2 and meanwhile make Kongo vs. Dos Santos. I also think that Gabriel Gonzaga could be next in line for Dos Santos. One other potential fight is a bout with Heath Herring. I would say one of those three makes the most sense for Dos Santos.
Paul Daley- Daley earne d ahuge upset win over Martin Kampmann. His win was impressive, but it also threw confusion into the race for the new number one welterweight contender. Daley should draw a top 10 guy following his performance. Matt Serra or Chris Lytle would make an exciting bout. I also think there is a strong possibility of the UFC making Daley vs. Swick happen sooner than later for a number one contender fight. We could see that fight take place on the England card at UFC 105 in November.
Josh Koscheck- Kos looked impressive against Trigg. He has said he is ready to go. He has called out Matt Hughes in the process. He very well could get Hughes. It is a match that many have wanted. Hughes is re-signed and ready to go. Perhaps the January card would feature this bout. If Hughes is not the guy why not Matt Serra or Carlos Condit?
Tyson Griffin- Griffin dominated Hermes Franca and is now in the top heap of the liughtweight divison. I see three options for Tyson. Sean Sherk, Jim Miller or Nate Diaz. I believe one of those will be next for him with the winner in serious title contention. We may see a problem with him and teammate Gray Maynard in the top 5-10 in the divison.
Efrain Escudeo- He earned a big win over Cole Miller. He could get Mac Danzig next or even Sam Stout who is ready to go. I wouldn’t mind seeing the originally slated bout between him and Jeremy Stephens either.
Rich Franklin – No more catchweight fights, but a bout with a top 20 guy at 205 makes sense. Perhaps a guy like the winner of Luis Cane. vs. Little Nog’.
Cro Cop – Retirement. Perhaps fighting scrubs in Japan.
Martin Kampmann – I’d like to see Kampmann vs. Brock Larson or Jake Ellenberger.
Frank Trigg – Matt Hughes 3? Maybe Serra would be a better fight.