Highlighted by some pretty one-sided performances, the UFC’s return to San Diego was a fun one. That said, it’s already in the rear-view mirror. It’s time to look to the future.
Here are the fights we’d like to see next for San Diego’s big winners:
Frank Mir vs. Andrei Arlovski
There’s a very exciting trend thriving in the world of MMA: down-and-out veterans bursting back into relevance when they’re supposed to be slaughtered by younger, stronger, faster men.
First it was Mark Hunt. Then it was Andrei Arlovski. Then it was Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. In San Diego, it was Frank Mir who, after 1:13 of Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots, removed the batteries from Todd Duffee with a comet of a punch.
Of course, Mir’s days as a title challenger are most likely done. That’s a hard thing to deny. That said, the former champ does appear to have some gas left in the tank, and will need a suitable opponent in his next bout. There’s no better choice in that regard than a fellow resurgent veteran, and considering Mir and Cro Cop put on one of the worst fights in history back in 2012, the obvious choice for Mir seems to be Arlovski. Both are former UFC heavyweight champions. Both recently knocked out powerful strikers in hectic, heavyweight slugfests. Best of all, it’s a fight that could have, but never did happen in their competitive younger years. Now’s the time, Joe.
Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis
After losing his belt to Rafael Dos Anjos and pulling out of a comeback fight with Myles Jury, Anthony Pettis will need to shine in his next fight. To do so, he’s going to need an opponent who can really challenge him. Who better in that regard than TUF: 13 winner Tony Ferguson, who beat the brakes of Josh Thomson in San Diego? He will, after all, be looking for a top-10 opponent in his next bout, and as the former champ, Pettis is certainly that.
Though they come from starkly different martial arts backgrounds, they’re both consistently entertaining, and a collision of the two would undoubtedly be one for the history books.
Book it, Joe.
Holly Holm vs. Cat Zingano
After beating Marion Reneau in San Diego, Holly Holm is now 2-0 in the UFC and 9-0 overall. Those numbers speak for themselves, but the tepid nature of her first two bouts in the organization have entirely deflated our once-expansive belief that she might be a good test for reigning champ, Ronda Rousey.
If Holm ever hopes to win back the imagination of the fans, she needs an opponent that will bring out the best in her, a harbinger of violence that will force her to fight. To this end, there’s no better choice than the ever-entertaining Cat Zingano, who is undoubtedly eager for the chance to put a recent 14-second loss to Ronda Rousey behind her.
Yes, we know this one resides in the jurisdiction of Sean Shelby. We figure Joe will forward our requests to him.
Alan Jouban vs. Lorenz Larkin
Outside of Frank Mir and perhaps Tony Ferguson, in San Diego, few fighters shone as brightly as Alan Jouban. Against Matt Dwyer, the dude was as hot as the California sun. Of course, he is a former male model, so that should surprise nobody.
After his Fight of the Night scrap with Dwyer, he’ll need not just a step up in competition, but also an opponent who will oblige him in the kind of barn-burner to which he’s grown accustomed. Besides, he’s probably getting used to post-fight bonus checks.
It’s hard to imagine a more suitable dance partner for the thriving Jouban than Lorenz Larkin, who recently knocked out Santiago Ponzinibbio in Hollywood, Florida. The former middleweight has found new life at welterweight, and just like Jouban, is ready for a step up. Let them trade leather and see who ends up supine.