The Surprises Daniel Cormier — I’ll admit I was completely wrong about Daniel Cormier. I thought coming off of the loss to Jon Jones that he would regress and get worse, but he looked the best he ever has in his title fight win over Anthony Johnson in the main event of UFC 187. He showed an amazing chin in the fight and then earned the tapout win to erase any doubts about who the best man was. Cormier is great, and a rematch with Jones could come sooner than we all think. Andrei Arlovski — It’s hard to count out Andrei Arlovski ever again after his first-round TKO of Travis Browne. He’s 3-0 since his return to the UFC, with all three wins coming as an underdog, and he’s looked better than ever. His striking looks fantastic and his chin has held up nicely. I don’t think Arlovski beats Cain Velasquez, but do I think he can get to a title fight? Yes, and I won’t be betting against him for a while. Rafael Natal — How does Rafael Natal keep doing it? For the third fight in a row, the Brazilian has pulled off the win when most were counting him out, this time a split decision over Uriah Hall. Natal isn’t great, but he has the skillset to beat most mid-tier fighters. I keep counting him out and he keeps winning, so after this win I’ll be sure to give him more respect when I cap his fights. The Disappointments Travis Browne — Travis Browne is just one of those guys who get close to the top, but just can’t reach it. Every time he’s had a No. 1 contender’s fight in the UFC he’s blown it, first to Bigfoot Silva, then to Fabricio Werdum, and now to Andrei Arlovski. Browne is a solid heavyweight and easily in the top 10, but he couldn’t beat Arlovski, and I don’t think he’ll ever get that title shot he’s wanted for a long time. John Dodson — John Dodson did beat Zach Makovsky fair and square, but I wasn’t impressed with his performance. His striking didn’t look as explosive as it has in the past and his wrestling wasn’t anything special either. He did what he needed to do to win, but it wasn’t a performance that screams title shot. Considering the bad knee injury he had, and the poor performance against Makovsky, maybe he’s not the guy to dethrone Demetrious Johnson, after all. Uriah Hall — Is there another fighter more frustrating to watch than Uriah Hall? The guy is so damn talented, but for whatever reason he just can’t put it all together. On paper he had a number of advantages over Rafael Natal, but once again he lost, and once again it was a split decision defeat. Hall looked terrible in this fight. He’s still got potential, but he is not a future champion, and at this point he’s no more than a mid-tier gatekeeper.
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