Fights To Make After UFC on Fox 9: The Losers Edition

By Raphael Garcia

UFC on Fox 9 was the last free event from the UFC in 2013, and it was a good show from start to finish. While not every fighter was able to get his hand raised at the end of the night, the fighters who fell short can still find something valuable to take from every bout. These are some suggestions for how the card’s losers should be matched up going forward:

Joseph Benavidez vs. Tim Elliott

With his second defeat at the hands of Demetrious Johnson, Joseph Benavidez finds himself in a very peculiar position within the flyweight division. He may be one of the best 125-pounders that the organization has to offer, but he will not receive a shot at the title for an extended period of time. Now, he will be kept busy fighting mid-level competitors whom he should be favored against. Tim Elliott is one of those individuals. 

Benavidez vs. Elliott should be booked as a main card opener for an event on Fox. They both fight at an extreme pace that will keep those viewing interested in the action from start to finish. Benavidez would be expected to win, but Elliot is the type of opponent that can push the former title challenger. 

Michael McDonald vs. the loser of T.J. Dillashaw vs. Mike Easton 

At 22 years old, Michael McDonald is one of the true bright spots on the UFC roster. He faced a major test in Urijah Faber, and while he couldn’t answer the call at this point in his career, it’s clear that he has the ability to be something great as he continues to grow. He should be matched against the loser of the UFC Fight Night 35 fight of Mike Easton vs. T.J. Dillashaw.

Easton and Dillashaw represent the second tier of bantamweight fighters who are looking to obtain a title shot in 2014. While the winner would move up, the loser would have to be able to defeat someone like McDonald to get in front of him in line. This fight would best work as a main card opener for a PPV event in early 2014.

Nik Lentz vs. Clay Guida 

Whether it was attributed to a sinus infection or not, Nik Lentz fared much better against Chad Mendes than many anticipated. While he was unable to win the bout, he did stay aggressive, and he weathered the kind of early storm that had toppled multiple opponents in the past. Matching Lentz against Clay Guida would help determine where the winner should be placed in the top 5-10 of the weight class.

Guida and Lentz share a very similar style in that they both can use wrestling for both offensive and defensive measures. It would be interesting to see which competitor would be able to better cement his position in the fight. Guida vs. Lentz should be positioned as a preliminary bout on Fox Sports 1 leading into a main card UFC event.

Pat Healy vs. Gray Maynard

Pat Healy is in a very precarious position within the UFC. He went from earning his biggest win against Jim Miller and wrapping up two major bonuses to losing that money and dropping two straight fights. The former Strikeforce standout may be one more defeat away from losing his position as a Zuffa fighter. Gray Maynard is in a similar position after being stopped by Nate Diaz last month. Placing these two competitors against each other as a main card opener to a Fox Sports event next year would determine which lightweight should stay on the roster, and which should be removed.

Scott Jorgensen vs. Ryan Benoit 

Scott Jorgensen has had a continued string of tough losses in the UFC. Dropping down to flyweight was supposed to offer him a new look in his career, but he dropped a close bout to Zach Makovsky, who was making his UFC debut. 1-4 in his last five, it will be interesting to see if the UFC keeps him around. If they do, matching him against Ryan Benoit should be the next move for both of these fighters. Benoit is coming off of a defeat to Joshua Sampo at The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale, but he put up a tough fight in that show opener. They both have some promise in the flyweight division, but this fight would show who deserves to be on the roster, and who should look for other employment.

UFC on Fox 9 was a very solid show for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Demetrious Johnson kept a strong grip on the flyweight division, and other important fights were held. While everyone could not get their hands raised, these should be the next fights that the unsuccessful few should take in 2014.


UFC on Fox 9: Johnson vs. Benavidez 2 took place on December 14, 2013 at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California.

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