By Joe Osborne
Any knowledgeable MMA fan could tell you that UFC 124 wasn’t the best card on paper. It was an event being carried by its main event with the other fights lacking any type of title implications, but it didn’t matter. The event was full of exciting finishes and dominant performances. Here’s what could be next for UFC 124’s stand-out participants.
Georges St. Pierre: GSP was able to get some critics off his back last night, by putting on a dominant striking performance against a well rounded opponent in Josh Koscheck. It’s all but written in stone that GSP will take on Jake Shields at UFC 131 in April in Toronto, where he should be able to further display his new look boxing skills against a fighter who isn’t exactly known for his stand up ability. Dana White wouldn’t commit to the date follow last night’s event, but it wouldn’t really make sense to not have GSP in the main event of what will be the biggest UFC event ever that just happens to be taking place in Canada. Baring any type of injury, expect this fight to be announced early next year.
Josh Koscheck: While St.Pierre’s next opponent might be obvious, the same can’t be said for Koscheck who was completely dominated by the welterweight champion. Most of the big names in the welterweight division already have fights lined-up, and with a rumored bout between Diego Sanchez and Martin Kampmann, there’s not too many options left. Fans would love to see a fight between Koscheck and Dan Hardy, as the war of words leading up to the fight would be just as entertaining as the fight itself, but Hardy has lost two fights in a row and the UFC probably doesn’t want risk having one of its top draws from the UK lose three fights in a row. Save that fight for when Hardy gets back on track. Koscheck is a guy who likes to fight a lot and stay active, but he might consider taking some time off to heal both mentally and physically after the Ultimate Fighter and the biggest loss of his career. If he does chose to jump right back into the octagon, a rebound fight against Ricardo Almeida probably makes sense as Koscheck will once again have to start over in his quest for a title.
Stefan Struve: Struve made easy work of Sean McCorkle and cemented himself as one of the more well- rounded fighters in the division by showing some great ground skills and submission defense. Following the fight, Dana White said that Struve is in the mix, but the UFC would be wise not to rush him into anything. In previous bouts with proven UFC heavyweights Roy Nelson and Junior Dos Santos, Struve was simply out-classed and was flat out beaten up both times. Struve isn’t exactly green, but he’s still only 22 and his best days are clearly ahead of him. Before throwing him to a top five contender, he should face off against a fighter who’s in a similar situation to him. Enter Brenden Schaub. Much like Struve, Schaub’s destined for a fight against a big named opponent, but he’s not quite there yet. Let these two face off and the winner will move up to the next level.
Thiago Alves: The pitbull reminded everybody that he’s not just one of the best strikers in his division, but in all of MMA with an elite level performance over John Howard who will have a tough time walking over the next few days. In post fight interviews, Alves was quick to call for a fight with Jake Shields, but that’s not realistic right now, due to Shields’ number one contender status. In a division where most of the top fighters already have something lined-up, Alves might be forced to wait for the winner of an upcoming bout. The UFC could go a few different directions with him. Alves vs. the winner of Nate Diaz and Dong Hyum Kim on January 1st would make sense as would a fight with Amir Sodollah , in what would be a fan friendly stand up war.
Jim Miller: Not many fighters in the UFC have a hot streak as good as Jim Miller’s right now. Six victories in a row, including four in 2010, but still, where’s the love? It’s obvious that Miller has to be paired with a top contender, but similar to the welterweight division, most of the top names are spoken for. A fight with Kenny Florian would make lots of sense, depending on the severity of Florian’s injury which forced him to pull out of a fight with Evan Dunham. Other than that, he’ll probably have to wait for another contender to emerge in one of the early bouts of 2011, or maybe even fight the loser of Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard.
Sean Pierson: The most impressive Canadian on the card not named Georges St. Pierre was definitely Sean Pierson. Pierson emerged victorious in what was the most exciting fight of the night. Although his pace slowed down considerably in rounds two and three he still fought smart and used some great technical boxing skills to keep the aggressive Matt Riddle from inflicting too much damage. Pierson’s exciting, balls out style is built for a TV audience, not an under card and he should be paired up with Ultimate Fighter season 11 winner Court McGee in what would be a great co-main event for a card on Spike TV.
So that’s it for UFC 124, the last UFC event for 2010. Although none of the results from the event will cause any type of shake up as far as a title fights are concerned, the victorious fighters will be an important part of their division’s blueprint for 2011. Now it’s your turn to play match maker and voice your thoughts on who you think the above fighters should square off with next. Have fun, and get ready to do it again soon as UFC 125 is only a few short weeks away.
Joe Osborne is a sports and entertainment enthusiast who resides in Halifax, NS. To read more articles like this, visit WhatUpSports.com, or you can contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org.