After a lackluster UFC 208 fight card in Brooklyn, fans and fighters are both ready to move on. I have found the best “Fights to Make Next” for both fans and fighters and have listed them here.
Jim Miller: After a fun back-and-forth fight to open up the pay-per-view portion of UFC 208, Miller is now 3-1 in his last four fights. Although he’s been used as a gatekeeper in his last couple of fights, Saturday he proved he can hang with the best. With this in mind, there are two match ups that make sense – Gilbert Melendez and Will Brooks. Both Melendez and Brooks are coming off of tough losses, so a win against the always-game Miller would put them back on track. A win for Miller puts him back on track to become part of the top 15. Melendez has been part of entertaining fights and, although he is rumored to drop to featherweight, it would be hard not to see the appeal of fighting Miller. Brooks is coming off of a tough knockout loss and is looking to get his UFC career back on track after only going 1-1 in the promotion.
Dustin Porier: After an excellent and hard-fought win, Porier is right back in the win column and continues his run to the UFC Lightweight Title. With that in mind, a fight against a former Lightweight Champion in both UFC and Bellator, Eddie Alvarez makes sense. It’s a good fight to get the former champion back on track and a good opportunity to figure out where both fighters stand in the division. Porier was on a tear before losing to Michael Johnson and talks of a title shot were not far away. A win for both men would put them about a fight or two away from a title shot.
Jared Cannonier: It was Cannonier’s first big test at 205 and he failed, miserably, he did however prove that he was no scrub. Although Teixeira smothered him for three rounds, he proved he could take on almost anyone. The name that comes to mind the 32 year old prospect is former Pride champion Antonio “Lil’ Nog” Nogueira. Lil’ Nog is no longer the force to be reckoned with that he was in Pride, but he does have excellent boxing and a world class ground game to make Cannonier prove himself. A win gives Cannonier a ranked win on his record and offers the chance for him to move up to the top 15 of Light-Heavyweight. A win for Lil’ Nog gives him the chance to go out on top.
Glover Teixeira: Teixeira is now 4-1 in his last five fights and a ranked contender away from a title shot. With that in mind, let’s give him a fight against the only contender he hasn’t fought yet, Alexander Gustafsson. Both fighters have fought for the title before and are famous for their excellent boxing. The fight offers the winner the chance to fight for the title after the three man triangle gets figured out between Cormier, Johnson, and Jones. This puts the winner in title contention and doesn’t harm the loser too much in the already thin division.
Tim Boetsch: Although Boetsch was mauled by Souza, there are still some fun fights for him. One that springs to mind is number 15 ranked Sam Alvey. Both fighters are heavy hitters and provide a fun stand up fight for fans to watch. Although neither man is in title contention, that doesn’t mean there aren’t fun options for them.
Ronaldo Souza: Souza is coming off of a very impressive win over number 14 ranked Boetsch. At this point there aren’t too many fights to make for the Brazilian Jui Jitsu black belt. However, there are two that spring to mind. Souza is rightfully next in line for the title shot after Yoel Romero, which makes a fight against current champion Michael Bisping a very fine option. Souza did say he wanted to stay active which makes the next-best-fight Luke Rockhold. The two were supposed to meet in November of last year and have already fought in Strikeforce. Ether fight makes sense for the Brazilian.
Derek Brunson: The North Carolina native lost a tough and controversial judges’ decision against the aging legend Anderson Silva. The fact that he is now 0-2 in his last two fights means he needs a tune up fight before getting back into contention. A fight against former foe Uriah Hall makes a lot of sense. The first bout ended quit quickly and controversially. A win puts either back into the top 10 and gives them a chance to settle their rivalry once and for all.
Anderson Silva: Silva has definitely lost a step since dominating the Middleweight Division years ago. Although a rematch against Bisping is what he wants next, a rematch against Vitor Belfort makes way too much sense. The two men are in similar positions in their respective careers and Belfort would love the opportunity to avenge his highlight reel KO loss from 2011. If Silva wins, a fight against Bisping makes a lot more sense.
Holly Holm: Holm lost a razor thin decision to now 145 pound champion Germaine de Randmie. Although both women would like a rematch, the thousands of fans who fell asleep watching the fight would beg to differ. Holm desperately needs a win after falling 0-3 and could use a tune up fight. Let’s give her Bethe Correia. The fight would take place on the feet and give her a chance to prove to fans that she deserves to fight for the title again.
Germaine de Randamie: The now Featherweight Women’s Champion only has one other opponent in her division after Holm announced she wanted to drop back to Bantamweight: Cyborg Santos. Only one woman is worthy of fighting for the 145 pound title and everyone knows it’s Cyborg. The two kickboxers should put on a great fight and GDR could prove to be Cyborg’s toughest test yet. It’s the only fight that makes sense and the only fight fans want to see.
Comment below on our desktop site or comment on Twitter @mmatorch if you have any additional fights you’d like to see not covered above.