It’s probably a pipe dream at best but 2014 would be a great time to book Diaz-Lawler II. In fact, April will mark the ten-year anniversary of their showdown at UFC 47. In the bout, the uncompromising up-and-comers went toe-to-toe until Lawler fell a little more than 90 ticks into the second stanza. To date it’s the only knockout loss of his career. Diaz wants back in the game at the top of the division, and since that isn’t likely to happen without picking up at least one big win, why not throw him in the Octagon with Lawler? “Ruthless” Robbie is on a three-fight run including wins over Josh Koscheck and Rory MacDonald, plus he represents the type of fighter Diaz loves to tussle with in terms of moving forward rather than simply attempting to score points. MacDonald’s stock took a huge hit after being beaten by Robbie Lawler at UFC 167. While the loss came via Split Decision, the Canadian youngster never showed off the polished skill-set or level of improvement that were so prevalent in past outings. It was if he bought into his own hype, put it in cruise control, and didn’t fully respect Lawler’s skill-set. In Condit’s case, he’s a win removed from falling to Georges St-Pierre and is looking to pick another up next month when he meets Matt Brown. Even with two victories in tow, a rematch with MacDonald would work on multiple levels. There is some personal heat between the two, adding a layer to the bout not necessarily present in all pairings, and the ending of their 2010 match-up still stands out to this day. For those who have yet to see the scrap and aren’t afraid of spoilers, “Ares” appeared to have a decision in hand before Condit stormed him with seconds left in the third round and picked up a TKO. They’re also both well-rounded, strategic scrappers so the clash would undoubtedly be entertaining from a competitive standpoint as well. There hasn’t been a huge call for these two to throw down again based on how definitive Pettis’ win was when they met for the belt in August. After all, he tapped Henderson out in the fight’s first frame. That being said, anyone can get caught and Henderson is absolutely in a position to push for a shot at redemption in the final quarter of next year. He’s 19-1 against opponents other than Pettis, plus he’s filling in for “Showtime” against top contender Josh Thomson in a January effort. If Henderson beats Thomson – definitely a distinct possibility – and can knock off T.J. Grant or Gilbert Melendez (again) before Pettis returns to 100% after an upcoming surgery, expect him to slide into a spot opposite his rival to give beating him one more go. Though the result wasn’t as head-scratching as St-Pierre/Hendricks, plenty of frustration still stemmed from Jones’ narrow outpointing of Gustafsson at UFC 165. “The Mauler” lived up to his nickname by testing the light heavyweight champ as no opponent had before, doing a valiant job when it came to defending takedowns and busting him up over the five-round fight. Though he lost on the scorecards, enough support for Gustafsson emerged to earn him a rematch so long as he beats Jimi Manuwa in March. Jones will also need to get by Glover Teixeira, but his subsequent scrap should absolutely involve Gustafsson regardless of how he fares against the Brazilian bomber. It is possible St-Pierre will take off enough time to force Hendricks to accept another fight, potentially against Robbie Lawler or Matt Brown for an interim belt. However, it appears he’s already cleared his head some since having it rattled at UFC 167 and it seems realistic to think he’ll be itching to fight again in 6-9 months with a return date in late 2014. Assuming he’s healthy and doesn’t suffer a loss beforehand, Hendricks is 100% locked in as St-Pierre’s next foe and rightfully so since he and the MMA world at large deserve some closure. If Diaz doesn’t like the idea of Robbie Lawler, more than a few fans would love to see him collide with Condit again and he might be enticed by the thought of avenging a previous loss. Their initial encounter had high expectations based on each man’s reputation for throwing down. However, Condit caught folks off-guard by taking a tactical approach to beating Diaz instead of delivering the sort of duel folks were hoping for. There’s always a chance Condit would do the same the second time around, but at least Diaz would be better prepared for the possibility. If Weidman beats Silva a second time when they square off at UFC 168 this match-up becomes a moot point. However, if “The Spider” rises to the occasion and finds a way to connect on Weidman early, fend off takedowns, or sink in a surprising submission from the bottom, then a third match-up has to be made. Of course, the second “if” is a lot bigger than the first given Weidman’s relative dominance in their first meeting and overall ability.
The fire has downed down surrounding the controversy involved in Saturday night’s showdown between
UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre and title-contender Johny Hendricks now that a number of days have passed since the bout’s questionable outcome. Despite St-Pierre’s decision to take off an undetermined amount of time, UFC President Dana White has assured fans “Rush” and Hendricks will rumble again in hopes of seeing a clear-cut winner determined. Their rematch is one of many the organization will look to make at some point next year. Here are some others worth considering as well… (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)