Unfortunally my fight vs Bisping @ufconfox 2 is not gonna happen. I m very sad cause it would be a very important fight for me. @ufc
Though Mark Muñoz’s injury-forced removal from the impending UFC on FOX 2 fight card put together an intriguing match up between Michael Bisping and Chael Sonnen that should at least offer some entertaining pre-fight banter, it left top-tier 185’er Demian Maia without an opponent.
Maia was slated to take on Bisping, but is now left facing an uncertain future. Will the UFC come up with a legitimate replacement opponent for Maia in the two weeks left before UFC on FOX 2? Can they?
To do my part in finding Mr. Maia someone to fight on January 28, I’ve compiled a list of possible replacement opponents.
-Rousimar Palhares: As soon as it was announced that Maia was opponent-less, Palhares’ name came up. The two Brazilian submission specialists make for an intriguing match up on paper, the only hold up is how Palhares feels about fighting just ten days after submitting Mike Massenzio at UFC 142.
-Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza: Another Brazilian submissions wizard, Jacare last competed in September, losing his Strikeforce title to current champ Luke Rockhold. Though technically on the Strikeforce roster, Souza competes under the Zuffa umbrella, so Dana White and company shouldn’t have too much trouble plugging him into a UFC card.
-Alan Belcher: Considered to be a rising prospect when a detached retina threatened his career, Belcher returned to action this past September with a quick defeat of Jason MacDonald. Who knows what kind of shape he’s in, but The Talent matches up well against Maia.
-Chris Weidman: After his quick and decisive submission defeat of Tom Lawlor this past November at UFC 139, rising prospect Chris Weidman was forecast to be ready for a step up in competition. Maia represents just that; with a victory over the seasoned Brazilian, Weidman would up his stock at middleweight considerably.
-Tim Kennedy: As long as we’re assuming that the UFC can pull Strikeforce fighters in to fill spots, let’s give Tim Kennedy some love. Though an injury pushed him out of a talked about shot against Luke Rockhold earlier this month, maybe Kennedy is feeling well enough to finally make his UFC debut.