Contenders in Waiting

Lightweight:

Up Next: Gray Maynard.  His win over Kenny Florian assured him a chance at UFC lightweight champion Frank Edgar.  It should be an interesting fight since Maynard has a win over Edgar in the UFC.  I would expect that Maynard may even come into that fight as the favorite.  However, some time has elapsed since their first fight and it is clear that Edgar is not the same fighter he was.  Maynard does boast an impressive 8-0 record inside the UFC and his wrestling is second to none in the UFC lightweight division.  He will certain have a size and strength advantage over Edgar.  The problem is that this will not be the most marketable fight for the casual fan.  I like it though.

In Line: There is no number one contender clearly defined after Maynard, but one would have to expect that a number one contender bout could be formed with guys like Evan Dunham, George Sotiropolous, Takanori Gomi, and Clay Guida.

Welterweight:

Up Next: Josh Koscheck.  In December Josh Koscheck will face the champ Georges St. Pierre in a re-match.  The two welterweights faced off as coaches of the Ultimate Fighter season 12 which will air on September 15th.  Koscheck never lacks confidence and certainly has a real chance against St. Pierre.

In Line: Jon Fitch.  While Fitch won a fight with Thiago Alves which was dubbed a number one contender fight, it is still not certain he will get the winner of GSP vs. Koscheck.  A strong case could be made for Jake Shields if he gets by Martin Kampmann at UFC 121.  Also, if Koscheck were to win it is not certain that Fitch would want to face his American Kickboxing Academy teammate. Furthermore, I am not sure a strong case could be made for Fitch vs. GSP II.

Middleweight:

Up Next: Chael Sonnen.  Many of the fans wanted a re-match and the timing makes sense.  It appears that this fight could take place in December or January.  I have to think that because of the way the last fight ended and the smack talk of Sonnen that this will be a huge fight.

In Line: Winner of Belfort vs. Okami. If it was not for Sonnen showing so well against Anderson Silva Vitor Belfort would have received a shot at Silva.  However, Belfort now will face Yushin Okami in November.  Both guys have been longtime contenders.  Okami had previously earned a title shot, but injury ruined that shot.  Okami also has a win over Anderson Silva in his career.  Beflort would be a much bigger draw because of his flashy striking abilities.

Light Heavyweight:

Up Next: Rashad Evans.  Evans is on hold until mid-2011 as he waits for “Shogun” to recover from knee surgery.  Evans doesn’t mind waiting.

Heavyweight:

Up Next: Cain Velasquez.  He will get has chance against Lesnar on October 23 at UFC 121.  This will be a huge fight.  Cain deserves the title shot and poses a real threat to Lesnar.

In Line: Junior Dos Santos.  He will wait for the winner of Velasquez vs. Lesnar.  He has earned his title shot the hard way with wins over Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve, Mirko Cro Cop, Gilbert Yvel, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Roy Nelson.

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