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Winners' Paths Clear After UFC 168

    Mon, 2013-12-30 11:46 — Benjamin Bieker

     While the top three fights at UFC 168 had major implications on their respective divisions, the turnaround for the winners seems to be short and sweet. Chris Weidman stopped Anderson Silva by checking a leg kick that broke his leg and the internet. Travis Browne became on of the only men to stop veteran Heavyweight fighter Josh Barnett and it only took one minute. Also, Ronda Rousey put down Miesha Tate for the second straight time with an armbar although it took a bit longer. Two of these fighters will go on to defend their belt again, and Browne looks to have one more fight and if he wins a potential title shot.

    Weidman will return to the cage at an unspecified date to face number one contender Vitor Belfort. The UFC supposedly wants this fight to happen in Las Vegas which may be them testing the waters to see how marketable their new champion is in the fight capital on the world. Belfort earned his way to a title shot with three straight head kick knockout victories over Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping, and Dan Henderson. This fight will most likely come around May, and is it possible it could be free on Fox. It could be a great way to market the winner, because the next challenger will not have as much notoriety as Belfort of Weidman no matter who it is.

    Browne was lucky that Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is injured, because that injury has left the UFC wanting Fabricio Werdum to fight before his guaranteed title shot. It is no small task for Browne, but it is better than waiting around for the title to be defended. Werdum will be no easy task as the only people to beat him in the last few years were Junior dos Santos and a roided Alistair Overeem. No one knows when this fight will happen, but the co-main of the next Middleweight title fight could make an interesting card, or even as the headliner of a Fox Sports 1 card.

    Lastly, Ronda Rousey defended her title and it took longer than all of her other fights combined basically, but that has spurred her to make a quick turnaround to the cage. In just two months, Rousey will return to the cage against Sara McMann. It is an easy match to market since both fighters are undefeated and have Olympic medals. This will be a big test for Rousey as McMann has a great gas tank and excellent wrestling. That could pose a challenge for Rousey as her game is a grappling heavy game. These fighters all have clear paths for the beginning of 2014, but the real question is who will come out unscathed for the second half.

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