The biggest question stemming from UFC 171 is: who should get the next title shot?
There is no clear-cut, unabashed, quality #1 contender. Legitimate arguments can be made for Woodley, Lombard and Brown (if he wins), but none of them are undisputed. If the UFC is going to promote a title fight with a questionable contender they might as well make it the most-known fighter with the largest amount of championship experience. Nick Diaz would give the UFC a highly marketable fight, that fans would love to see; more importantly, it would give the rest of the division a chance to establish a more worthy contender. Here's how:
1 away fight: Rory Macdonald vs Dong Hyun Kim: Rory looked great against Maia, but is still a couple of wins away from deserving the shot. Kim has a nice streak going, albeit against less stellar names. The winner of this fight would reasonably be another tough fight away from a title shot. If Matt Brown can win his fight against Silva, then he would be ready for a #1 contender fight against the winner of Rory and Kim.
Rebound fights: 3 top ten guys (Lawler, Maia, Shields) are coming off tough losses and need a rebound fight.
Robbie Lawler vs Demian Maia: Lawler and Maia were both competitive in their recent defeats and shouldn't fall far from their current rankings. Pairing the two together is a fun top ten fight that fast tracks the winner back into the division's top 5.
Jake Shields vs Josh Koshcheck: Shields looked helpless against Lombard Saturday night, but is still a tough outing against the majority of the division. Koshcheck got KO'd brutally in his most recent outings and would probably welcome the chance to fight a grappler who isn't a major threat on the feet. A couple of veterans of the sport who would make for an interesting fight.
Just because he hasn't earned a title shot, doesn't mean Nick Diaz isn't the best choice. The UFC has shown a willingness to make the best business decision, and I think this would undoubtedly be it.
Let me know what you guys think! Would you like it if Joe Silva followed this blueprint? Looking forward to your feedback!