Pettis got a legitimate test in his UFC debut and passed, though not necessarily with flying colors since Campuzano had the advantage at certain times in the tilt. Still, the 20-year old Pettis beat a seasoned veteran on short notice no less, so he definitely deserves credit. He’s not ready for the upper-echelon of the division yet but an explosive, polished prospect like Pettis is perfectly suited for another solid adversary. Assuming the UFC is open to putting him up against an opponent who has recently lost, Tim Elliott and Darrell Montague would both work since each man looked sharp prior to the stumble. After all, it’s not like the company has a ton of 125ers to pick from. Cerrone is hit-or-miss when it comes to success. He looks untouchable in some scraps and pedestrian in others. Against Dunham, it was the former, as “Cowboy” touched his foe’s face up with strikes before ultimately submitting him in the second stanza. Cerrone has stated he plans to move down to 145 pounds for his next fight, though personally I’d prefer to see him stick around as a lightweight. He seems fairly drawn out as a 155er to begin with and it seems like shedding another ten ticks off the scale might have a negative impact on his performance. At lightweight, fights with Jorge Masvidal and Tony Ferguson make sense based on availability, divisional standing, and the pairings’ potential to entertain, while featherweight possibilities could include Dennis Bermudez or the winner of Nam Phan-Takeya Mizugaki (December 7) since neither would represent an overwhelming challenge while still retaining upside in terms of recent performance and fan recognition. It’s been fun to watch Woodley’s development since showing up in Strikeforce a little more than four years ago. He’s gone from an apt wrestler with shaky stand-up to a power-packing grappler aiming for the knockout as much as an easily-obtained decision win. His knockout of Koscheck was one of the most definitive defeats of the curly-coifed veteran’s career and put some fog around his future. Woodley has shown he can hang with Top 15 foes and deserves another ranked opponent as a result. Rick Story is an option worth considering, since he’s a known commodity fresh off an instance of success and has a skill-set similar to Woodley’s. Dropping down to 170 pounds after struggling at middleweight in Strikeforce was clearly the right move for Lawler. He’s 3-0 in the Octagon with a pair of knockouts and an outpointing of MacDonald, the man many consider to be an uncrowned champion who would have already fought for the belt were it not for his friendship with Georges St-Pierre. While Lawler’s name has been thrown around for a potential title-shot, he needs another high-profile win to truly cement his status as a top contender. The one name standing out above all others in that regard is Hector Lombard. Like Lawler, he comes to bang and is always looking for a finish. The former Bellator champ looked fantastic in his welterweight debut, plus he has the right kind of resume as a man who could either be a stepping stone for Lawler en route to a championship clash or earn one himself with a convincing performance against “Ruthless” Robbie. “Sugar” ‘Shad was in fantastic shape and took out an overmatched, less athletic adversary in Sonnen. Sonnen’s lack of speed costs him against explosive opponents and it only took a few solid shots before he started folding. Since the win over Sonnen did little for Evans’ reputation other than add another win to his record, he needs an opportunity to showcase his skills against a respectable foe if interested in making one last run at the belt. Sadly, the light heavyweight division is thinner than ever these days and there aren’t a lot of fresh match-ups out there for Evans. The best thing Evans can do right now is stay in shape and hope either Jimi Manuwa or Alexander Gustafsson go down before fighting in March so he can take a spot, or pray Ryan Bader beats Anthony Perosh next month so there’s a well-known 205er out there for him to face at some point in the future. There’s not much more that can be said about GSP’s win over Hendricks. Rather than make Alistair Overeem hungry by beating a dead horse, let’s fast-forward to looking at what St-Pierre’s future may hold instead. I firmly believe he will fight again in 2014. Beyond the overwhelming amount of public pressure to award Hendricks a rematch based on how his victory came about, St-Pierre’s competitive desire and belief in doing what’s right will ultimately draw him back into the Octagon. That being said, his need for time is off is completely logical. Over the past year he’s been in three major match-ups including two all-out wars after having spent the previous eighteen months working his way back from a major injury. On top of that, he spent some time on set due to a small role in the new Captain America film and undoubtedly had countless other media obligations to deal with as well. Throw in TMZ’s recent report regarding an unplanned pregnancy and his father’s grave health and St-Pierre’s hiatus is even more understandable. With a nice six-month break to unwind, the UFC could shoot for a Canadian event in September/October for his return and give Hendricks the option to fight against first or hold out until getting his rightful shot at redemption.
Every victory at
was notable for one reason or another. Ironically, the biggest win at the show was awarded to the least deserving competitor when welterweight champion UFC 167 Georges St-Pierre received a controversial Split Decision nod despite appearing to come up short against contender Johny Hendricks. Take a look at what might be next for GSP as well as some of his UFC peers who happened to exit the event with a raised hand. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)