Dan Hardy File Photo: Stephen Albanese/Tailstar.com
If the Gods deem my pleas worthy, these are the fights that will be next on the horizon for some of the notable notables from UFC 115.
Rich Franklin vs. Forrest Griffin
A title eliminator match between Lyoto Machida and Quinton Jackson could be inevitable at this point, which means Franklin’s road to a title shot will be long, winding and full of scary men wishing to cause him grievous bodily harm.
After his gutsy knockout of Chuck Liddell, Franklin deserves a quality matchup. No man fits the bill better than Griffin. While it’s far from a guaranteed win for the reformed math teacher, it would be a fun scrap and the sort of fight Franklin needs to win if he’s to be considered a serious contender.
Martin Kampmann vs. Dan Hardy
Until Josh Koscheck and incumbent champion Georges St. Pierre go through the motions on the next season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the UFC welterweight crown is on hold. This means Kampmann will likely need at least two wins to solidify himself as the division’s No. 1 contender.
Logic and a love of violence say match him up with Hardy and let the winner fight whoever walks away from the Thiago Alves/Jon Fitch rematch in one piece. Not only does this set up a sellable matchmaking narrative, it also gives us a fascinating style clash between Kampmann and Hardy.
After losing to Paul Daley via TKO at UFC 103, Kampmann needs to prove he can hang with the division’s elite strikers and Hardy will give us an answer to that question one way or another.
Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim
First things first, Rory MacDonald is about 2,367 times tougher than any 20-year-old should be. The show he put on for two rounds and the guts he showed in the last round will ensure he gets a fair shake from the UFC.
Lost amidst all the fresh hype on MacDonald, however, is the fact that Condit manned up and put a cringe-worthy beating on the youngster. Unvarnished manliness like that demands a move up the ladder, and a bout with Kim would be a quality addition to any card.
Evan Dunham vs. George Sotiropoulos
Both the UFC lightweight title and the division’s No. 1 contender will be decided at UFC 118, which means Dunham won’t be challenging for the title before 2010 comes to a close. The same goes for Sotiropoulos, who, at least in my estimation, will run game on Kurt Pellegrino at UFC 116.
If there is a better usage of these two brilliant talents than matching them against each other for a title shot, I’d like to hear it and you better have a quantum computer handy to prove your point. Besides reigniting the race for the lightweight title, the fight would likely land on more than a few Fight of the Year ballots. That right there is reason enough to make it happen.
Mac Danzig vs. Matt Wiman Part Deux
Yves Lavigne is rightly being criticized for his decision to stop the fight between Danzig and Wiman at UFC 115. In his post-fight interview, Danzig did a much better job than I ever could of explaining why the call was so patently wrong, and he managed to do so with a level of class and eloquence rarely seen in sports.
At bare minimum, both fighters deserve a chance to resolve what was developing into a great fight. The brief action we did get only cemented the notion that this matchup will always make for excitement executed at the highest level. It’s up to the UFC to do the right thing here: Make a rematch ASAP.