Top 5: Future Fights After UFC 166

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5 matchups stand out as ones to put together in the wake of UFC 166

Cain Velasquez
Andrew Richardson USA TODAY Sports

It was a terrific night of action at UFC 166. It featured a number of highlights including a dominant performance by heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez in his trilogy fight against Junior dos Santos. Daniel Cormier showed he will be a handful for anyone whether it be in the heavyweight or light heavyweight division. Lightweights Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez thrilled fans by producing an instant classic in their brutal three-round war, while heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga stayed relevant with another quick stoppage and flyweight John Dodson showed he’s intent on working his way back to another title shot in the 125-pound weight class with an impressive "Knockout of the Night" performance.

There was also some intrigue on the preliminary portion of the card, with Hector Lombard making an explosive debut in his new weight class and Jessica Eye and Sarah Kaufman putting on a fine show in their women’s bantamweight fight.

The UFC has set it itself up for a terrific end to the 2013 calendar year with some great fights lined up in November and December. If the remaining events can deliver the types of fireworks that were produced in Texas, then fight fans will definitely be in for a treat. As I like to do after a major UFC event, we will take a look at some of the attractive matchups that should be made. In the wake of UFC 166, let's put on the matchmaker’s hat. In my opinion, here are the top-5 future fights to make, moving forward.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports

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5. John Dodson vs. Ian McCall/Scott Jorgensen Winner

John Dodson
Andrew Richardson USA TODAY Sports

Dodson is one of the rare flyweights who packs a serious punch and he had a solid bounce-back effort against Darrell Montague at UFC 166. “The Magician” has terrific speed and power. A fight against the winner of the December bout between Scott Jorgensen and Ian McCall would definitely produce a title contender. Dodson is hoping to get another title shot after failing to wrest the belt from Demetrious Johnson at UFC on FOX 6.

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4. Daniel Cormier Vs. Phil Davis

Daniel Cormier
Andrew Richardson USA TODAY Sports

Cormier was much more solid in his decision victory against Roy Nelson at UFC 166, than he was in his Octagon debut against Frank Mir. Cormier is heading down to 205 pounds to compete at light heavyweight, and a fight against “Mr. Wonderful” would definitely produce a title candidate. Davis is currently ranked No. 3 in the weight class and most recently, recorded a decision win over Lyoto Machida. The standout wrestling pedigree of both and their skill sets would make for an exciting matchup.

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3. Diego Sanchez Vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Diego Sanchez
Andrew Richardson USA TODAY Sports

“The Dream” definitely showed he intends to make some serious noise again at lightweight after an amazing display of courage in a brutal war with Gilbert Melendez. The instant classic will leave Sanchez needing time to heal from the battle scars, but a matchup against the unbeaten Russian would be another sure fire thriller.

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2. Gilbert Melendez Vs. T.J. Grant

Gilbert Melendez
Andrew Richardson USA TODAY Sports

Melendez got the decision victory against Sanchez in their epic war and remains high on the list of title contenders in the 155-pound weight class. The hard-hitting Grant has had two title opportunities denied because of concussion issues. There’s no word as to when he may return, but this would have the makings of another war. Both fighters want to get back into immediate title contention. Having them face each other would not only produce a sensational fight, but the next title challenger.

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1. Cain Velasquez Vs. Fabricio Werdum

Cain Velasquez
Andrew Richardson USA TODAY Sports

Velasquez seems to be getting even scarier as the UFC heavyweight champion. Once again, he brutalized Junior dos Santos and finally stopped the determined challenger at UFC 166. The emphatic end to the trilogy will now lead to fresh title contenders. The veteran Werdum has patiently been waiting for his title shot and brings plenty of danger in his submission game. Velasquez though, is clearly on another level when it comes to his cardio and the pace he sets in the heavyweight division.

1 of 6

5 matchups stand out as ones to put together in the wake of UFC 166

Cain Velasquez
Andrew Richardson USA TODAY Sports

It was a terrific night of action at UFC 166. It featured a number of highlights including a dominant performance by heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez in his trilogy fight against Junior dos Santos. Daniel Cormier showed he will be a handful for anyone whether it be in the heavyweight or light heavyweight division. Lightweights Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez thrilled fans by producing an instant classic in their brutal three-round war, while heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga stayed relevant with another quick stoppage and flyweight John Dodson showed he’s intent on working his way back to another title shot in the 125-pound weight class with an impressive "Knockout of the Night" performance.

There was also some intrigue on the preliminary portion of the card, with Hector Lombard making an explosive debut in his new weight class and Jessica Eye and Sarah Kaufman putting on a fine show in their women’s bantamweight fight.

The UFC has set it itself up for a terrific end to the 2013 calendar year with some great fights lined up in November and December. If the remaining events can deliver the types of fireworks that were produced in Texas, then fight fans will definitely be in for a treat. As I like to do after a major UFC event, we will take a look at some of the attractive matchups that should be made. In the wake of UFC 166, let's put on the matchmaker’s hat. In my opinion, here are the top-5 future fights to make, moving forward.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports

2 of 6

5. John Dodson vs. Ian McCall/Scott Jorgensen Winner

John Dodson
Andrew Richardson USA TODAY Sports

Dodson is one of the rare flyweights who packs a serious punch and he had a solid bounce-back effort against Darrell Montague at UFC 166. “The Magician” has terrific speed and power. A fight against the winner of the December bout between Scott Jorgensen and Ian McCall would definitely produce a title contender. Dodson is hoping to get another title shot after failing to wrest the belt from Demetrious Johnson at UFC on FOX 6.

3 of 6

4. Daniel Cormier Vs. Phil Davis

Daniel Cormier
Andrew Richardson USA TODAY Sports

Cormier was much more solid in his decision victory against Roy Nelson at UFC 166, than he was in his Octagon debut against Frank Mir. Cormier is heading down to 205 pounds to compete at light heavyweight, and a fight against “Mr. Wonderful” would definitely produce a title candidate. Davis is currently ranked No. 3 in the weight class and most recently, recorded a decision win over Lyoto Machida. The standout wrestling pedigree of both and their skill sets would make for an exciting matchup.

4 of 6

3. Diego Sanchez Vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Diego Sanchez
Andrew Richardson USA TODAY Sports

“The Dream” definitely showed he intends to make some serious noise again at lightweight after an amazing display of courage in a brutal war with Gilbert Melendez. The instant classic will leave Sanchez needing time to heal from the battle scars, but a matchup against the unbeaten Russian would be another sure fire thriller.

5 of 6

2. Gilbert Melendez Vs. T.J. Grant

Gilbert Melendez
Andrew Richardson USA TODAY Sports

Melendez got the decision victory against Sanchez in their epic war and remains high on the list of title contenders in the 155-pound weight class. The hard-hitting Grant has had two title opportunities denied because of concussion issues. There’s no word as to when he may return, but this would have the makings of another war. Both fighters want to get back into immediate title contention. Having them face each other would not only produce a sensational fight, but the next title challenger.

6 of 6

1. Cain Velasquez Vs. Fabricio Werdum

Cain Velasquez
Andrew Richardson USA TODAY Sports

Velasquez seems to be getting even scarier as the UFC heavyweight champion. Once again, he brutalized Junior dos Santos and finally stopped the determined challenger at UFC 166. The emphatic end to the trilogy will now lead to fresh title contenders. The veteran Werdum has patiently been waiting for his title shot and brings plenty of danger in his submission game. Velasquez though, is clearly on another level when it comes to his cardio and the pace he sets in the heavyweight division.


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