With the hype behind us, it is now time to look at what the UFC’s return to the MGM Grand Gardens Arena has left for the evening’s major players. Strap on your thinking caps, MMA fans, it’s time to play armchair matchmaker for the stars of UFC 148.
Anderson Silva: The pound-for-pound king has done it again. After once again being soundly dominated by Chael Sonnen in the opening stanza, Silva was able to rebound in the second frame, earning a TKO victory over his greatest rival to date.
While there is no shortage of opposition for the long-reigning champion, there is an utter lack of an opponent that would make sense. Realistically, all roads lead to Michael Bisping. The Brit is the only viable option for Silva’s next bout, which given his two fights per-year schedule places him square on the New Year’s show, the only problem is the fact that he is coming off of a loss to the man Silva demolished last night. Bisping has stated that his sole interest at this point is getting a title shot, calling out Brian Stann and Alan Belcher for UFC 152 in the process. Assuming a match with either gets made, it is there where Silva’s next opponent should be determined.
Logically: Winner of Michael Bisping‘s potential bout with either Alan Belcher or Brian Stann
Chael Sonnen: For the second time, Chael has come up on the losing end against Anderson. This time around, however, it was much more convincing. Regardless of the fact that he was unable to wrest the title from the hands of Silva, The Oregonian is still the second best middleweight in the world. With a middleweight match-up between Chris Weidman and Mark Munoz taking place this Wednesday, it’s likely there where you find the next step for the man from West Linn.
Remember, before Bisping came in as a late replacement to face Sonnen at UFC on Fox 2, Mark Munoz was penciled in to face Sonnen. Perhaps a meeting between the Olympic alternate and loser of this bout would make the most sense.
Ideally: Loser of Mark Munoz vs. Chris Weidman
Forrest Griffin: Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t inform you that, for a tad bit, I had absolutely no idea what to do with Griffin. It’s pretty clear that the first Ultimate Fighter is no longer anywhere near the top division, but he’s not a throwaway in any sense of the word. While there are whispers of a third (and frankly quite unnecessary) bout with Stephan Bonnar, it simply seems nonsensical at this point. There is one rematch that has potential to draw eyes, however, and that’s a second meeting with the man Forrest took the title from, Quinton Jackson. Given Forrest’s recent knack for inactivity and “Rampage” pulling out of the “Shogun” Rua fight to have knee surgery, a rematch between the two seems to line up perfectly. “Rampage” has long stated an interest in “beating Forrest’s ass” since losing the title in a fight he felt he was robbed in. If it is to be Rampage’s last dance, let it be one he wants that people will at the very least interested in.
Next stop: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
Tito Ortiz: We already know the answer to this one. Now in the UFC Hall of Fame, Tito has officially retired from active competition. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” fancies himself quite the businessman, and will likely continue to be involved with the sport in his retirement, possibly doing enough in recent years to get a corner office in the Zuffa headquarters, preferably far away from Chuck Liddell. While it’s doubtful that Tito will be enjoying his retirement in Florida like so many others, he now has time to spend with his family, which is the most important thing to the former champion at this point of his life.
Next up: Nothing, he’s retired.