There are far worse ways to lose than falling to a talented youngster like Perez on the scorecards. However, for Figueroa the defeat on Saturday night marked his third straight stumble and will almost certainly spell the end of his UFC run. He’s tough, going the distance with Michael McDonald a few years back, but isn’t likely to improve to the point of being a consistent threat. Look for Bellator or WSOF to sign Figueroa since he was 9-1 prior to his recent slide.
It’s hard to say where Ebersole stands in the eyes of his employers. On one hand, he’s tough as nails and has enough ability to make most match-ups competitive. On the other, he’s far from explosive and doesn’t seem likely to crack the Top 10 anytime soon. He deserves another shot in the Octagon after enduring some stiff shots from Story and holding on despite spending more than a year on the sidelines due to injury. The company needs to weed out substandard talent, so giving Ebersole a match-up with a rising star in need of a victory like Erick Silva would work, as would a veteran on the cusp of release a la Paulo Thiago.
Dunham’s defeat was his third in four fights and second straight. He clearly can’t afford another stumble if hoping to remain on the UFC roster. That being said, he’s established enough to receive a legitimate opponent instead of an easily beatable adversary. Jorge Masvidal comes to mind as a solid candidate. Both are well-rounded and would likely produce an entertaining effort. Additionally, each is coming off a loss and needs to remind the public of his place in the upper-tier of the division.
It’s time for Koscheck to consider following original Ultimate Fighter cast-mates Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar into retirement. He’s 35 years old, is financially sound, and has come up short in three consecutive clashes including back-to-back knockouts. “Kos” can still be competitive in the cage but, without any real hopes of another run at a title-shot, he’s at risk of tarnishing his career. The UFC should give him one more fight out of respect for what he’s contributed to the company over the past eight years with the understanding he’ll call it quits if beaten again. Demian Maia or Martin Kampmann would be perfect for the pairing given each man’s name-value and respective abilities.
MacDonald’s decision loss to Lawler may have been on the “split” variety but in the eyes of many “Ruthless” Robbie did enough to earn nods in all three frames of the fight. For whatever reason, MacDonald wasn’t able to handle Lawler’s strength and had a hard time finding an advantage while standing. Surprisingly, “Ares” didn’t attempt takedowns with any real frequency despite five of Lawler’s nine career losses coming via submission. He’s still one of the best 170ers out there and will learn from the situation, so there’s no issue with throwing him back in the Octagon against a tough opponent. Rick Story and Jake Shields are both intriguing options who are free of any future obligations.
Fortunately, Sonnen’s stint at 205 pounds is over. His submission of Mauricio Rua was an anomaly rather than an indication of his promise as a light heavyweight. With TUF Brasil 3 and Wanderlei Silva already on tap, Sonnen’s next move is already set in stone barring some sort of injury. However, it should be said there’s a significant chance his fight with Silva will be the last of his career. Sonnen, who turns 37 next April, seems ready to move on into broadcasting and is running out of interesting adversaries.
It’s painful to see Hendricks’ name on this list considering the bearded brawler did everything necessary to beat St-Pierre other than finish him. He blasted GSP with a number of powerful blows, wobbling “Rush” at one point, and left St-Pierre so damaged he couldn’t even recall the evening’s action when interviewed after the bout. His face was bloodied, bruised, and swollen, while Hendricks’ only obvious injury was a significantly broken heart. If GSP plans to sit out for more than six months as expected, Hendricks should be handed an interim title and be left to defend it against whomever the UFC determines is top contender. Robbie Lawler seems like a frontrunner at this point, though the winner of Carlos Condit-Matt Brown could also emerge as #1 (especially in the case of Brown).
There were twelve losers emerging from the carnage at
, though most folks would argue one of the involved men was a victim of circumstance rather than his adversary’s abilities. In the evening’s main event, welterweight UFC 167 Johny Hendricks gave it his all against champion Georges St-Pierre over a 25-minute tilt only to have two of the three judges scoring things see things differently than the rest of the world. What’s next for Hendricks, or the other eleven fighters who lost more decisively, remains to be seen but one thing is for sure – fans will be talking about the event for years to come! (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)