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MMA Analysis: Where Do Stars of UFC 144 Go from Here?

UFC 144 is now just a beautiful memory and Zuffa is as happy as can be at the results of their much-ballyhooed return to Japan. Dana White was so thrilled that he invited every winner on the card to attend the post-fight press conference.

Now it’s time to decide what to do with the fighters that had their hand raised in victory on Saturday night.

Benson Henderson

The smart money is on the new UFC Lightweight champion having a rematch with he of the Showtime kick, Anthony Pettis. Pettis won in devastating fashion over Joe Lauzon and White seemed eager to match the two WEC opponents together again. White will be doing so over the protests of Frankie Edgar’s camp however, who are gunning for an immediate rematch and will sit down with White when they are all back in Vegas.

Ryan Bader

“Darth” Bader scored what some considered a huge upset and defeated Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, giving Bader the biggest victory of his career and putting him “in the mix” as White likes to say. Bader now looks to maintain that momentum and move forward to the top of the division. Maybe a fight with Phil Davis is in order? Both are young, hungry wrestlers touted as part of the next generation at 205 pounds and the winner of a potential Bader-Davis fight could go on to fight a Lyoto Machida or Dan Henderson.

Jake Shields

Shields got back on track after a rough 2011 with a win over Yoshihiro Akiyama. This was an important victory for Shields to keep him relevant in the welterweight division. With his credibility intact, Shields can now wait to do battle with the winner of the upcoming Johny Hendricks-Josh Koscheck fight for a potential title eliminator.

Tim Boetsch

The man known as “The Barbarian” had the Rocky moment of the night when he came back after being outclassed for two rounds to knock out Yushin Okami. While some are pushing for Boetsch to fight someone at the top of the division, he may be better served to wait for a fighter like Brian Stann, who is expected to defeat Alessio Sakara in April.

Mark Hunt

The “Super Samoan” was able to upset Cheick Kongo, giving the 37 year old a somewhat improbable three fight winning streak. While he’s still not near contender status, Hunt has shown that he’s committed and a fun fighter to watch. Having him fight another exciting heavyweight like Pat Barry would guarantee fireworks, or if he insists on fighting someone higher up the ladder then a fight with Roy Nelson or Matt Mitrione would give the fans a chance to see two heavy guys throw heavy hands.


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