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What’s Next For UFC 164 Main Card Winners?

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What's Next For UFC 164 Winners?

MMA
Gary A. Vasquez-USA Today Sports

UFC 164 kicked off this weekend in Milwaukee and featured a dynamic card from top to bottom. Heading the card was a lightweight championship bout between two of the best in Anthony Pettis and Ben Henderson. Coming into this bout Henderson was the champ, and he was out for redemption as the last time they fought Pettis was able to win the fight thanks to a head kick he landed off the cage. In the second meeting, Pettis was able to lock up an armbar, forcing Henderson to verbally tap out. It was an impressive finish, and it's a great thing to see a hometown kid in Pettis deliver on the biggest stage in MMA.

Also, Josh Barnett was able to put on an exciting performance with Frank Mir as he was able to get the stoppage within the first round. Earlier in the fight, Barnett pressed the action, forcing Mir up against the cage. Mir was eventually dropped with a knee and never fully recovered. The bout may have been stopped prematurely, but it's a sterling win for Barnett who made a statement in the heavyweight division.

Chad Mendes, Ben Rothwell, and Dustin Poirier were also able to pick up much-needed victories, proving they are some of the best fighters in their respective divisions. Mendes was able to stop Clay Guida in decisive fashion in the third round, solidifying his status as being one of the best featherweights in the world. Just like with every event, it's important to see where the winners go from here. In this slideshow, you will see what's next for the main card winners.

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Anthony Pettis

MMA
Benny Sieu-USA Today Sports

One of the most impressive performances of UFC 164 was when Anthony Pettis locked up an armbar, forcing Ben Henderson to verbally tap out. It allowed him to capture UFC gold, and he proved he is one of the best fighters on the planet. So, what's next for him? He has two really good options. Either he can face Jose Aldo at featherweight, which would be an excellent super fight, or he can stay in the division and defend his belt against T.J. Grant.

Personally, a bout with T.J. Grant makes the most since right now. Before Pettis was scheduled to face Henderson, Grant was granted a title shot. An injury forced him out of the bout, so it would be awesome to see the UFC give him another shot against Pettis. Meanwhile, Aldo would be able to defend his belt against Chad Mendes or Ricardo Lamas. If Aldo and Pettis are still champions, then that's a viable bout for the UFC to make.

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Josh Barnett

MMA
Gary A. Vasquez-USA Today Sports

Josh Barnett put on an impressive performance against Frank Mir, who is one of the best submission artists in the heavyweight division. Barnett was able to clip Mir with a knee, ending his night early. Now, Barnett is a viable threat to anyone in the heavyweight division. An excellent match for him would be against Antonio Silva. Silva is also known to have power in his hands with a good ground game, and it would be a great test for Barnett, who is still proving to be an exceptional fighter.

Another bout that makes sense for Barnett would be against Ben Rothwell. Both fighters were victorious on the night, and the winner would move up the heavyweight rankings in hopes of challenging for a title.

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Chad Mendes

MMA
Benny Sieu-USA Today Sports

Chad Mendes prove last night that he is one of the best featherweights on the planet after beating Clay Guida in the third round by way of TKO. It was an amazing performance from Mendes, proving he is ready to challenge Jose Aldo again.

There is only one opponent that makes sense for Mendes, and that's Aldo, who is the featherweight champion of the world. Aldo is currently without an opponent, so a Mendes bout makes sense for his career. If this bout isn't booked for some reason, then another good opponent would be Frankie Edgar. Edgar has long been considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, and a win over Edgar would be a huge feather in Mendes' cap.

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Ben Rothwell

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Paul Abell-USA Today Sports

Ben Rothwell scored another impressive TKO finish over the dynamic striker in Brandon Vera. Early in the fight, Vera was able to land some good shots, but Rothwell responded well in the third, finishing him by way of TKO in the third.

An excellent bout that makes sense for him would be a fight with Travis Browne, who he called out in his post-fight interview. Both of these heavyweights love to strike, so it could end violently for one fighter. Also, a bout with Josh Barnett makes a lot of sense. Both have been fighting in MMA since the beginning, so it would be a good throwback fight where the winner makes a case to challenge for the heavyweight title.

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Dustin Poirier

MMA
Josh H. Holmberg-USA Today Sports

Dustin Poirier scored one of his most impressive wins at UFC 164 over a dangerous striker in Erik Koch. Dustin was in trouble earlier in the bout, having to fight out of a triangle. Once he did, he would land good punches, rocking Koch. From there, he would control him on the ground, even locking up a da'arce choke. Then, Koch would threaten with a submission of his own, but Poirier kept his cool, winning a unanimous decision.

This was a back and forth war, which certainly proved that Poirier is still improving as a fighter. A good bout for him would be a rematch with either Chan Sung Jung or Cub Swanson. A win over either of these two fighters gives him the chance to avenge a loss, and both fights would be equally entertaining to watch. The featherweight division is becoming one of the most stacked divisions, so Poirier has a lot of options at his disposal.