UFC 202 lived up to the hype giving us lots of great finishes and some great fights. With the fights now in the books, it is time to look it is time to look ahead at who I think might be next for some of the bigger names on from the card.
I think McGregor and Diaz will probably want to do the trilogy as soon as possible, however I hope Dana sticks to his guns and does not do this fight again at least not right away. I want to see McGregor go back down to 145 and defend his belt and if not I think it should be stripped from him. With McGregor it is hard to predict what he will do next so I am going to put what I am hoping for.
NextOpponent: Jose Aldo
It would appear fairly clear that Johnson’s next fight should be a rematch with Daniel Cormier for the belt. However the Jon Jones Shadow still hangs over this division. If Jones is able to come back he will fight Cormier for the belt. In this scenario Johnson is going to need another opponent. The fight that would make the most sense would be to have him fight the winner of the UFC 204 fight between Ovince Saint Preux and Jimi Manuwa. If he does not want to wait for that fight then there are not to many options as the Light Heavyweight division is currently shallower then Kim Kardashian. The only other fight that could make sense would be putting him in there with Shogun Rua, but I think the best option is to fight the 204 winner late this year or early next.
NextOpponent: Winner of OSP vs. Manuwa
Ceronne has got himself on a nice little winning streak again and if he keeps it up he could get himself into the title picture. The fight I want to see next for him is vs. Dong Hyun Kim. Kim has been an above average UFC welterweight for years and he offers Cerrone a good test for his next fight.
Next Opponent: Dong Hyun Kim
Perry looked great in his UFC debut. I still would not want to rush him along to quickly and think that a fight with a tough veteran would be a good next fight for him to prove how good he is. Court McGee recently picked up a win and a win over him would allow Perry to prove he is a top prospect at 170.
Next Opponent: Court McGee
Garbrandt has quickly become one of my favorite fighters to watch. He picked up a quick win against a tough veteran and proved he is ready for a title shot. If the UFC decideds to give T.J Dillashaw the rematch with Dominick Cruz next then I would be more then happy to see Garbrandt fight the winner of Linker vs. Dodson in a number 1 contender fight but I think they should give us a fresh fight and give the shot to Garbrandt.
Next Opponent: Dominick Cruz
Casey quickly took out a top 15 strawweight and if she can beat woman in the top 15 she should be able to crack it herself. Maryna Moroz is coming off a lackluster win and would allow us to see where each of them really is at in the Straw weight division.
Next Opponent: Maryna Moroz
I could sit here and tell you that I came up with the best possible next fight for Larkin. I could tell you that I sat here and thinking, pondering and finally reached the perfect opponent. The truth is however that as I was scrolling through Twitter I saw Rich Hansen tweet that Larkin should fight Gastelum next and I thought that was a pretty damn good idea.
Next Opponent: Kelvin Gastelum
Diaz lost a close fight and although he lost he has quite a bit of options going forward. If he is going to be fighting at 155 for his next fight he is most likely a win away from a title shot. If I’m truly honest it would not surprise me if they gave him the fight vs. Eddie Alvarez despite coming of a lose. For the sake of this article I will go with that not being the case and instead give him a chance to avenge his teammate Gilbert Melendez’s most recent lose and have Diaz take on Edson Barboza. This fight would great to watch and the winner would earn himself a title shot.
Next Opponet: Edson Barboza
Will Teixeira ever fight for the title again? No probably not. That does not mean he is still not a top end light heavyweight who is a scary gatekeeper in the division. I would book him against Corey Anderson in his next fight. It is a fight Teixeira should win but it gives Anderson a chance to get a win over a big name and if Teixeira wins he gets himself back in the win column.
Next Opponent: Corey Anderson
Tough lose for Story. It may look like I am doing the lazy thing here as I am going to mtch him up with fellow 202 loser, Neil Magny but I think it is a really good fight for both guys. It gives them a chance to put there lose behind them and pick up a win against a top 15 guy.
Next Opponent: Neil Magny
Mizugaki got taken out by one of the best bantamweights in the world, there is no shame in that. Give him Michael McDonald next. McDonald just lost as well so it make sense and the winner might be able to get themselves back on the title track … maybe.
Next Opponent: Michael McDonald
Give her Kailin Curran with the loser fighting in Invicta for their next fight.
Next Opponent: Kailin Curran
See Rick Story.
Next Opponent: Rick Story