Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz: Self explanatory - Diaz is number 1 contendor!
Frankie Edgar vs. Chan Sung-Jung: I really think its time for Edgar to drop to 145 pounds. Dana has said that if he does, he'll need a fight before he fights for the title. Asides from Koch who is fighting Aldo, i think Sung-Jung is next in line, after coming off a great win over Poirer a couple of months back. This would be a great fight on paper, and the winner would fight the winner of Aldo/Koch for the title.
Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis: Both the figherts want this fight, and i think it makes perfect sense in the division to book it as a number 1 contendor fight. Cerrone is 8-1 in his last 9 zuffa fights, and Pettis is 7-2. Both are coming off impressive knock out wins, and on paper this fight would be a barnburner!
Melvin Guillard vs. Rafael Dos Anjos: After losing (and getting finished) in 3 of his last 4 fights, Guillard needs to start near the bottom and work his way up again. Dos Anjos is a lot further down the pile than most of the guys Guillard has been fighting lately, but he's still won 6 of his last 8 fights, including wins over Sotiropoulos, Njokuani & Etim. The winner would be propelled back into the top 10, top 15 of the lightweight rankings.
Jake Shields vs. Constantinos Philippou: Another UFC fight for Shields, and another disappointing performance. Shields hasn't looked 'good' for over 2 years now since his comeback win over Dan Henderson. I think he needs another win before he starts fighting the guys at the top like Bisping, Belcher, Boetsch etc, so i'd give him a man on a mission - Philippou. After dropping his first UFC fight, he's won 4 in a row with solid wins. This would be a good clash of styles in a classic striker v grappler fight.
Ed Herman vs. Chris Leben: 2 of the longest serving UFC fighters, and somehow their paths have never crossed. Both guys look to get back on track after Hermans dissappointing loss, and Lebens drugs ban. Both guys bring it, this would be a decent fight for 2 gatekeepers.
Yushin Okami vs. Hector Lombard: Okami has fought many of the guys in the middleweight picture already - Silva, Sonnen, Boetsch, Munoz etc, so lets give him another guy in the picture in Hector Lombard. Lombard says he was injured in his octagon debut, so another big fight gives him the opportunity to put things right. With 2 top fighters, the winner would be 'in the mix' again at middleweight.
Buddy Roberts vs. Karlos Vemola: In all honesty, Roberts wasn't ready for someone like Okami. Before this his biggest fight was against Tony Lopez or Caio Magalhaes, which says everything. We saw glimpses of a good stand up game in this fight, and he needs to fight someone nearer his level next. Karlos Vemola comes to fight, and this would have the potential to be a super prelim fight.
Max Holloway vs. Steven Siler: Hollaway is a stud at just 20 years old, but its important he has time to progress and isn't thrown into the deep end straght away again as he was against Poirer last year. After starting his career with a 5-7 record, he has since gone 16-2, including 3-0 in the UFC.This would be a good test for both in a classic striker v grappler fight.
Justin Lawrence vs. George Roop: The wonderkid from TUF live has failed to live up to expectation again, losing by TKO in round 2. He is still young at 22 years old, and hopefully produces his potential in the future. George roop is the gatekeeper of the 145 pound division, and i think he'd be a good test for Lawrence. He's in need of a win himself after going 2-4 in UFC/WEC.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Rani Yahya: Bermudez is a fighter i really like and i think will be in the UFC for a long time. Since losing at the TUF finale, he's won 2 fights dominantly and is in need of a stiffer test than guys like Garza & Hayden. Rani Yahya returned last week with a dominant win, and this would be a huge step up for Bermudez, and a good test to see where he's at.
Michael Kuiper vs. Daniel Sarafian: Although he won in dominating fashion, i'm not impressed by Kuiper. His stand-up looks sloppy, and his cardio didn't look great; and if he wasn't in there with an injured Hamann i think many other guys would beat him. I think it would be the perfect show off fight for the guy that many thought would win TUF Brazil (but got injured), Daniel Sarafian. Would be a good chance for Kuiper to prove me wrong too!
Erik Perez vs. Bryan Caraway: Perez once again expesed Stone's questionable chin and looked good in the process to put himself on the map at 135 pounds. Now 2-0 in the UFC and on a 7 fight win streak, a step up in comopetition is in order. Caraway is also 2-0 in the UFC after winning each of his 2 fights by submission. The winner of this would move onto fight a top 15 bantamweight.
Chico Camus vs. Roland DeLorme: Another new guy at 135 pounds, Camus looked solid yet unspectacular in beating Pague last night. Next up i'd have him fight DeLorme, a man himself who was on a bit of a streak before Francisco Rivera put an end to it. This would be a fun fight.
Nik Lentz vs. Mike Brown: At 145 pounds, Lentz looked awesome and he's found the right weight. After the fight he said he changed everything up and the future looks good. Now 6-2 in the UFC, i think he moves straight into a top 20 featherweight, and should get a tough fight. Mike Brown recently won 2 in a row for the first time since being champion, and this would be a brutal fight for both with 2 grinders in there.
I like this list a lot. I have only once change, and then just one thing to point out.
Change - I think Okami should fight Sheilds, it's time for that rematch and I think Okami gets revenge this time around.
and... Leben and Herman are actually great friends. In a lot of Leben's pre UFC fights you'll see Herman in the ring post victory, after cornering Chris. They trained together in Orgeon for years. Having said that, both guys are warriors and Leben has been in Hawaii for several years now... so they may be up for it, but I would doubt it.