While injuries have plagued the UFC this year thereby cancelling some hotly anticipated battles, there are plenty of major league throw downs yet to come.  Let’s take a look at some grudge matches and title defenses coming to an arena near you.

Earlier this year I wrote a few articles for SBR regarding the current champs as well as the matches we’d love to see. Let’s revisit and see what’s changed and what has stayed the same over the past several months in the UFC. 

Dominick CruzBantamweight: Dominick Cruz – Cruz has put a lock on the lightest division in the UFC by dispatching Urijah Faber in UFC 132 and in his last defense scored a 5 round decision over Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.

Cruz is the best of the Bantamweight class, but this division is stacked with legitimate opponents for Cruz, but the guy I’d like to see the champ fight is Renan Barao. This 24 year old lost the very first fight of his career but has not tasted defeat since. He is 26-1 and recently walked through veteran tough guy Brad Pickett by submitting him in the 1st round.

Featherweight: Jose Aldo – After an absolute war with Mark Hominick in April, Aldo finally got healthy and defended his crown against the game Kenny Florian. Ken-Flo dropped all the way down to the feathers to take a last shot at claiming a UFC title. He was outgunned and outclassed by Aldo who won a unanimous decision and now looks toward a January showdown with Chad Mendes. 

Lightweight: Frankie Edgar If you doubt Frankie Edgar, just put up the same opponent and he’ll knock him down all over again for you. He defeated BJ Penn twice in a row and most recently did the same to Gray Maynard. In both cases, he won the second time in much more convincing fashion as he went from a split decision over Maynard to a TKO when the two last fought in October. The problem for everyone in the lightweight division just happens to be The Answer. 

Welterweight: George St. Pierre – GSP scored a unanimous decision over Jake Shields earlier in 2011 but hasn’t done much since. He was supposed to have defended his title against Nick DiazJunior Dos Santos (who was subsequently replaced by Carlos Condit) but suffered a knee injury and had to withdraw. It looks like Diaz will be his next opponent and it rumor has it that the big fight will go down at UFC 143. 

Middleweight: Anderson Silva – Arguably the greatest MMA fighter in history, Anderson Silva defended twice in 2011 with a stunning 1st round knockout of Vitor Belfort and then a dominating performance over Yushin Okami that culminated in a 2nd round TKO. But the fight everyone wants to see is a rematch with Chael Sonnen who was only minutes away from defeating Silva until the champion miraculously snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a tapout of the challenger late in the 5th round. According to sources, the rematch will happen in early 2012.

Light Heavyweight: Jon Jones – Personally, Jones is my favorite fighter in MMA and I don’t see anyone challenging his throne from within the division. In my estimation the real super fight is not GSP vs. Silva but rather Silva vs. Jones at a catchweight. I would pay for that any day of the week and twice on Sunday. However, Jones will have to get through Lyoto Machida at UFC 140 before anything and then Dana White will chart his path for next year. Of course, the grudge match everyone wants to see is a good old fashioned throw down against his former mentor and bromance partner Sugar Rashad Evans. Dana White, make it happen! 

At the time of writing, UFC betting shops have listed Jones at the -490 favorite in his UFC 140 bout against Machida. Needless to say, I will be adding him to my UFC picks for this event. 

Heavyweight: Junior dos Santos – Welcome Junior dos Santos to the most elite club in mixed martial arts, champion of the world. He floored Cain Velasquez in stunning fashion Saturday night in the UFC’s debut on the FOX network. “Cigano” made it look easy and 2012 should be a big year for the new champion to establish himself among the greats of the sport.