brad-pickett-14.jpgSTOCKHOLM – When perusing his division’s rankings, Brad Pickett often finds his opponent’s name further down the list from his own. However, he hopes it’s a trend that soon ends.

Pickett (23-7 MMA, 3-2 UFC) earned a split-decision victory over fellow bantamweight Mike Easton (13-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) on Saturday’s UFC on FUEL TV 9 main card at Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe Arena.

Heading into the fight, Pickett was ranked No. 7 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA bantamweight rankings; Easton was No. 14.

But now, on a 3-1 run (with a split-decision defeat to upcoming title challenger Eddie Wineland), Pickett hopes for bigger fights against big-name opponents – like Michael McDonald.

“I actually would like to fight someone ranked above me for once,” he said after the fight. “I always get people below me. Maybe somebody like Michael McDonald would be a good fight. Anyone above me. Give me somebody above me.”

Right now, the McDonald fight probably makes the most sense. Reigning champ and No. 1-ranked Dominick Cruz is on the sidelines due to a lingering knee injury. Interim champ and No. 2 Renan Barao meets No. 5 Wineland at UFC 161, and No. 3 Urijah Faber and No. 6 Scott Jorgensen headline Saturday’s upcoming UFC event, The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale.

McDonald, meanwhile, remains unbooked. Most recently, the 22-year-old slugger suffered a submission loss to Barao in UFC on FUEL TV 7's headliner, but he awaits an opponent who can keep him at the top of the division. Pickett, in fact, first targeted the youngster as a potential opponent this past year. With both fighters willing to trade leather, Pickett believes it’d produce a compelling matchup.

Of course, the Englishman isn’t looking for a simple slugfest. As he learned against Easton, whom a judge gifted a winning score despite Pickett’s clear victory, a well-balanced attack can pay dividends.

“In the last fight (against Wineland), everyone said I was one-dimensional,” he said after the fight. “This time, I looked to change and mix things up. I think it went well for me tonight.”

For now, though, Pickett looks forward to a small vacation. He’s getting married later this year, and with a $60,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus in his pocket, he plans to pamper his wife-to-be.

“I’m getting married at the end of this year, so that really helps me out a lot because my fiance is quite expensive,” he said.

For complete coverage of UFC on FUEL TV 9, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

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