Gray Maynard vs. Gilbert Melendez
Gray Maynard is a great fighter, but he may be at a stalemate in the division. He professes to want a shot at the title, or a rematch with Frankie Edgar. The problem is everyone has seen that fight twice in the last year. Also, as long as Frankie still stands near title contention it is hard for Maynard to inject himself in there. Given that if Benson retains the belt against Edgar he does have some clout to continue toward the title, but why not have him fight the odd man out in the top 4 of the division. Melendez sits without a decent opponent in Strikeforce, and it is well known the UFC offered BJ Penn to a title shot. We have to see if Melendez is a legitimate contender by the time he makes his way to the UFC. Plus, it would be a great fight for the fans to watch.
Sam Stout vs. Jim Miller
Sam Stout showed signs of an ever evolving MMA game with his win over his nemesis, Fisher. He states that he wants someone in the top of the division, and Miller fits that request. While Miller may only be 1-2 in his last three fights he has proven he only fails against the best of the best. He would be able to test Stout on the ground, and is no push over on the feet. If Stout wants to make it to the title fights, he will only get tougher opponents from here on and needs to continue to prove he can handle that step up in competition.
Brian Ebersole vs. Anthony Pettis
While it seems crazy that any fighter would want to drop weight while on a four fight win streak, not everyone is Brian Ebersole. The man with an arrow trimmed out of chest hair is not an ordinary fighter. He told Ariel Helwani that he’s tired of being the smaller man and will drop to 155 if his body will allow it. If Ebersole does make the drop he should not be eased in, because with 50 wins and over 60 fights he does not need to prove himself. Anthony Pettis still needs a few fights before the title, and Nate Diaz was already promised a title shot. Ebersole would fit the bill as a test for Pettis, who fell to Guida in his debut. Ebersole is a gritty fighter with a different style. His ground game could take Pettis out, and Pettis needs to prove he can hang on the ground when he reaches the top fighters int he division.
Cub Swanson vs. Dustin Poirier
Everyone has talked about Cub’s potential, but he never seemed to be able to attain it in the cage. He was starting to look a lot like Joe Riggs, trading wins with losses, but always reportedly displaying promise in camp. It is safe to say that he may finally be showing signs of that potential since he has earned to spectacular knockouts two fights in a row. Dustin is coming off a title eliminator bout with The Korean Zombie, and a fight between Poirier and Swanson has fireworks written all over it. Plus, Swanson needs his ground game tested since three of his five losses have come by submission. Poirier is known for his stifling ground game which is a test Swanson may need.