The UFC’s latest event opened the eyes of fight fans to the type of action that lighter divisions can offer on a regular basis. These divisions, once thought to hold just quick fighters who could offer exciting yet long fights, proved there’s some finishing power within its ranks. Action from the main card on FOX included some dominant performances as well as exciting finishes and it leaves the door open for a bright future for all four winners.
JOE LAUZON vs DIEGO SANCHEZ – MYLES JURY winner: Lauzon defeated Mac Danzig via unanimous decision (30-27 on all scorecards). Lauzon has long been considered near the top half of the UFC’s lightweight division and now he may be given the opportunity to prove that he’s more than just an exciting fighter. The dominant win ended a two-fight losing streak and showed he can fight a smart fight. Now is his time to take on the bigger names of the division. There’s two ways to go for Lauzon. The most exciting option would be to face the winner of Diego Sanchez vs Myles Jury, which hopefully will be Sanchez.
CHAD MENDES vs JOSE ALDO – RICARDO LAMAS winner: Mendes showed the power and speed that fans have become familiar with in the first round of his bout against Nik Lentz, but he quickly faded. It was later learned that Mendes had been suffering through flu-like symptoms and still pulled off the unanimous decision victory. After 4 straight victories, Mendes finds himself back in title contention. If Aldo wins it’ll give him an opportunity to avenge his lone loss in the UFC. Either way, Mendes has proven to be the best featherweight not currently in a title match.
URIJAH FABER vs DOMINICK CRUZ – RENAN BARAO winner: Just like Mendes, Faber is on a four-fight win streak of his own. 3 of those victories have come via submissions including Saturday’s against Michael McDonald. Faber has seemed to have found a fountain of youth and gotten better with age. He has thrust himself back into title contention and even UFC President Dana White told Ariel Helwani that Faber is the #1 contender for the bantamweight title. Whether it is Barao or Cruz, Faber has worked hard to get back into title contention and has earned the moniker of top contender.
DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON vs ?????: Johnson has taken out every top contender thrown at him in the flyweight division. He’s defeated Ian McCall during the flyweight tournament, defeated Joseph Benavidez (twice), John Dodson and John Moraga. So, what’s next for the defending champion? Well, with an ever-growing flyweight division it is hard to say. Brad Pickett is adding his name to the mix and will make his divisional debut on March 8 against McCall. The winner of that match could find himself in a title bout. Sure, it’ll give the champ plenty of time to rest but Johnson has had an incredible 2013. He defended his title 3 times and deserves a little break. Waiting for the winner of McCall vs Pickett could give him the time he needs.
Nitesh Dutt is a contributor for VINCIT Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @NiteshDutt.