UFC on FX 7 Results: What's Next for Gabriel Gonzaga?

Andrew Saunders@SaundersMMACorrespondent IIJanuary 20, 2013

Photo: mmajunkie.com
Photo: mmajunkie.com

After baffling "Big" Ben Rothwell on the feet and submitting him with an arm-in guillotine choke, Gabriel Gonzaga announced to the MMA world that he will not take his second chance with the UFC for granted.

The win marks the second submission victory for Gonzaga since returning to the organization that made him famous. Last January, "Napao" needed little more than three minutes to dispatch of then-undefeated Ednaldo Oliveira.

Now that the former title contender is making waves in the heavyweight division, we've got to think about what comes next.

Gabriel has a world-renowned grappling game which has led to nine submission wins. However, with dynamite in his hands and feet, he is a well-rounded threat who can finish opponents anywhere that the fight goes.

Based on these skills, there aren't many challengers who are particularly daunting, short of the division's elite. With 14 trips into the Octagon under his belt, I think that it's important to pit Gonzaga against another longtime UFC veteran.

Luckily for the big Brazilian, there are a couple of options who lay at his feet, in need of an opponent this Spring: Cheick Kongo and Roy Nelson.

Cheick Kongo is the French kickboxer who has terrorized the heavyweight division throughout 17 UFC appearances. Like Gonzaga, the biggest win on Kongo's resume came in a 2007 victory over Mirko Cro Cop.

Unlike his Brazilian foe, Kongo has never been able to parlay his momentum into a UFC title shot. Currently, Kongo has only one loss in his past six fights. 

When you consider how long that these heavyweights were on the roster, it is fairly surprising that they have yet to square off at any point in their careers. A bout with Gonzaga could be exactly what Kongo needs to finally earn an elusive crack at the belt.

Roy Nelson has eight UFC appearances of his own, and like Gonzaga, has an unannounced allergy to winning by decision. Between the two fighters, they have 14 victories while fighting for Zuffa and not one of them went to the judges scorecards.

"Big Country" is also a well-rounded mixed martial artists who possesses incredible punching power to supplement his killer grappling skills. A fight with Gonzaga is the step up he deserves after wins over Dave Herman and Matt Mitrione.

The fight with Nelson was scheduled for UFC 146 after the Overeem/Mir/Bigfoot switcharoo shifted the entire card. However, the fight didn't take place after Gonzaga was forced out due to an injury.

Personally, I feel that Roy Nelson is a more dangerous matchup for Gonzaga, however both fights would make for a solid addition to any card.