Urijah Faber vs. Mike Brown, the main event at WEC 41 Sunday night, was one of those MMA fights that gets hyped for months, and then exceeds expectations. And yet as I think about WEC 41 on Monday morning, I'm already looking past Brown's unanimous decision victory, and ahead to the upcoming Mike Brown vs. Jose Aldo featherweight title fight.
The WEC hasn't made an official announcement, but all indications are that Aldo, who needed just eight seconds to beat Cub Swanson in the co-main event, will get the next title shot against Brown. That will be a great fight.
"I'm ready," Aldo said after the fight with Swanson. "It's something that WEC has to decide, but I'm ready. I want to fight a title shot, and trust me, when I get the title, I'm going to keep it."
Obviously, Brown will be the favorite to beat Aldo, just as he would be the favorite to beat every 145-pound fighter in the world. Although Brown was a heavy underdog in his first fight against Faber (a first-round TKO) and was even an underdog for their rematch Sunday night, he won't be an underdog again any time soon.
But Aldo is the fighter with the best chance of beating Brown. I love the way Aldo matches up with Brown because Aldo is every bit the electric striker that Faber is, but Aldo -- unlike Faber -- will have a reach advantage over Brown. Aldo isn't going to pull off a flying knee at the opening bell and destroy Brown the way he did to Swanson, but he'll try a lot of creative moves on his feet, and that might frustrate Brown, who prefers a more orthodox style.
How well rounded a fighter is Aldo? So well rounded that when you look at his official WEC profile, you see that "Very strong ground game" is listed as his strength -- and yet he's won all five of his WEC fights by TKO, and not by submission. He dominates his competition without even getting a chance to show off the part of his game that's supposed to be his strength. Overall, Aldo is 15-1 in his professional MMA career, with 10 wins by knockout or TKO, two by submission and three by decision.
Is he well rounded enough to beat Brown? I look forward to finding out.
My favorite sights of WEC 41
1. Josh Grispi patting Jens Pulver on the back after submitting him with a guillotine choke just 33 seconds into the first round. The 20-year-old Grispi knew he had probably just ended the 34-year-old Pulver's career, and he showed a lot of compassion for the older man.
2. Pulver, one of the WEC's most popular fighters, soaking in the cheers from the fans one last time after the fight. Pulver has lost six of his last seven fights, but he's earned that moment.
3. Chuck Liddell in the corner of Antonio Banuelos, who beat Scott Jorgensen on the undercard. Liddell's fighting career is probably over, but I'd love to see him transition into coaching. He has a lot that he can teach younger fighters.
Fight of the night: Of course, it was Faber vs. Brown 2. This was the second consecutive WEC event in which the main event went five rounds and was named the Fight of the Night, after the classic battle between Miguel Torres and Takeya Mizugaki in April. It's been a very good year for the WEC so far.
Knockout of the night: Another easy decision: Aldo, for needing only eight secnods to beat Swanson.
Submission of the night: Seth Dikun, who used a great flying triangle choke to submit Rolando Perez.
Brown, Faber, Aldo and Dikun each got $10,000 bonuses for their efforts.
Quote of WEC 41: Donald Cerrone on his desire to fight WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner: "Any time, anywhere, man. He's taken a lot away from me, saying that I don't deserve to fight him, I don't belong in the same ring with him."
Good call: It was a really, really good night for referees, and the reason I know that is I can't even think of a time when I noticed the referees. The best refs are the ones who make you forget they're there.
Bad call: I was disappointed that the Versus broadcast of WEC 41 didn't mention Manny Gamburyan at all. Gamburyan, who beat John Franchi by unanimous decision on the undercard, has the potential to do big things after moving from UFC lightweight to WEC featherweight. Even if his fight wasn't worthy of making the broadcast, he should have been acknowledged.
Stock up: Anthony Pettis, who beat Mike Campbell by first-round submission on the undercard, is now 7-0 and has a bright future ahead of him.
Stock down: Former Ultimate Fighter contestant Noah Thomas lost to Frank Gomez in his WEC debut. He might not get another chance.
Fight I want to see next: The fight I really want to see next is Mike Brown vs. Jose Aldo, but I also want to see Faber take on one of the WEC's top featherweights (like Wagnney Fabiano or Leonard Garcia) as soon as his hands are healed. If Brown beats Aldo and Faber looks impressive in beating a Top 10 opponent, it may be time to get ready for Faber vs. Brown 3.
Faber vs. Brown 2 results
Brown beats Faber
Jose Aldo earns rematch
WEC 41 Faber vs. Brown 2 videos (post-fight coverage at WEC.tv)