COLE’S TAKE: Fights to make after UFC 217


Main Card

Georges St-Pierre def. Michael Bisping

Georges St-Pierre returned to action for the first time in nearly four years this past weekend, and after a back and forth affair he walked out the winner and picked up his first finish since 2009 in the process. He also won the UFC Middleweight Championship, and while that is great for him it certainly raises a lot of questions about the future of the division.

GSP is probably in a position where he can do whatever he wants to do, but I get the feeling that he will defend at 185. Dropping to 170 seems a bit pointless. Unless he just really wants to fight Woodley and attempt to clean out the division yet again, but I just don’t see the point. Maybe 155 is an option, as it is something he has talked about before, but that was before he bulked up for middleweight. Basically, I know nothing about GSPs future, and nobody else does either I guess. So, it’s really hard to decide who he should fight next.

If he defends the middleweight title, it will obviously be against Robert Whitaker…right? But what if Anderson Silva defeats Kelvin Gastelum in China in two weeks? Will the UFC be able to resist booking the long talked about Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre fight? The Conor McGregor sized elephant is also still floating around the room…rumors exists that perhaps he could be next for GSP, perhaps at 170. It would make sense for those looking to make money, but in the process you are log jamming two divisions that have already been log jammed for a while now. It will be interesting to see where the current road takes GSP.

Fight to make next: Your guess is as good as mine

Michael Bisping must be deflated. He defended his belt against a man who hadn’t fought in four years, was moving up a weight class, yet he wasn’t able to leave with the victory. He is near 40, and really has already fought most of the interesting people in the division. It’s hard to say what’s next for him, but if he wants to try to get back to the belt I think that a fight with Jacare Souza makes sense. Both are near the top of the division, but also nearing 40. This fight could serve as a final chance for both men to get back into title contention.

Fight to make next: Michael Bisping vs. Jacare Souza

TJ Dillashaw def. Cody Garbrandt

TJ Dillashaw talked a big talk going into his fight with Cody Garbrandt and he made good on backing it all up. Going into this fight it seemed clear to me that Dillashaw was the more diverse striker, but that Garbrandt possessed the big shot power that could put him away. Garbrandt did show that power in the first round when he managed to hurt Dillashaw, but the challenger persisted, and after recovering he managed to make it out of the round.

Throughout the entire fight he was setting up head kicks well, but it was actually his hands that finally put Garbrandt down, and after a flurry on the ground he walked away with the belt that he thought should have been his the whole time. The next challenger seems pretty clear here. Dominick Cruz and Jimmie Rivera will tie up at UFC 219 and the winner should get the next shot.

Fight to make next: TJ Dillashaw vs. Dom Cruz/Jimmie Rivera winner

Cody Garbrandt seemed like the next big thing in the UFC. He has a very distinct look, knockout power, and seemed to be able to back up the considerable trash talk generated by his mouth. He seemed on top of the world heading into his first title defense and it seemed like his star was only going to get brighter. Then reality hit, and as the referee pulled TJ Dillashaw off of a dazed Cody Garbrandt, it was clear that Dillashaw was king, and Garbrandt had to return to the drawing board. He had his moments in the fight with Dillashaw, but was defeated none the less and is probably at least a fight away from getting another crack at the title.

John Lineker seems like the right opponent for him right now. Both are heavy handed, and both are coming off of recent losses to TJ Dillashaw (for Lineker this was two fights ago), and besides who doesn’t want to see this? Let’s make it happen.

Fight to make next: Cody Garbrandt vs. John Lineker

Rose Namajunas def. Joanna Jedrzeczyk

My god I am glad this fight is over…trying to spell these two fighter’s last names has stressed me out to the point of shame. All of that aside what “Thug” Rose did to JJ this past Saturday night was nothing short of spectacular. She faced an undefeated champion who has a habit of really slicing up her opponents on the feet, and she didn’t back down. In fact, she faced her on the feet and defeated her there, knocking her down and eventually finishing her on the ground. It wasn’t a very competitive fight, and I don’t see any need for an immediate rematch.

It’s great that JJ was champion for as long as she was, but she was soundly defeated by Rose…it’s time to bring on a new challenger. Jessica Andrade looked good against JJ in a losing effort at UFC 211, and then blew everybody out of the water with her follow up performance against Claudia Gadelha. I think she deserves the next shot.

Fight to make next: Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade

Joanna Jedrzeczyk was a dominant champion who managed to build up quite a fan base despite being a foreign fighter, and a competitor in the lighter weight classes. She seemed unstoppable and despite her request that these comparisons be avoided she certainly has some things in common with Ronda Rousey. They both seemed unbeatable, until they weren’t…but I don’t expect JJ to ghost everybody and disappear. I think she will be back in the gym as soon as she is able, and she will prepare to return to the cage. She is young, and could still possibly get her belt back.

Something certainly seemed off against Rose, so maybe a different camp could lead to a different outcome in a rematch. In the meantime though, she will need to pick up a win or two and right the ship. Alexa Grasso is still early in her career and might not be ready for somebody like JJ, but the rest of the division is booked up so I say they should give her a shot.

Fight to make next: Joanna Jedrzeczyk vs. Alexa Grasso

Stephen Thompson def. Jorge Masvidal

Stephen Thompson avoided a post championship fight hangover and walked away with a decision victory over the always tough Jorge Masvidal this past weekend at UFC 217. It was a typical Wonderboy performance as he used his kicks and managed distance well to outpoint Masvidal. Stephen Thompson is in a strange spot despite his victory over a top ranked fighter. He has two title fights against the current champion Tyron Woodley, and while both were close the second fight was one of the worst main events in UFC history (according to casual fans), so he is probably not in line for another shot anytime soon. Rumors have surfaced that Thompson will next face Darren Till in England, but Thompson’s father, coach and manager Ray Thompson has come out and denied the rumors and suggested that Till work his way to the top the hard way. I agree with the father here and really don’t see the sense in a Till-Wonderboy fight.

Thompson is still a viable contender in this division and booking him against Till just seems like an attempt at using him as a stepping stone. Anything can happen in this sport and the Till fight just seems like an unnecessary risk. So instead I like the idea of Thompson vs. Colby Covington. Covington is a more well-known fighter than Till, especially after his recent win over Demian Maia, and he is a ranked higher. The winner here could possibly get a title shot that is of course if they don’t just decide to go ahead and give it to Covington now.

Fight to make next: Stephen Thompson vs. Colby Covington

Paulo Costa def. Johny Hendricks

When my friends and I were watching the fights this past weekend the girls in attendance all wanted to see Costa win. Naturally I wanted Hendricks to take him out…pick up a win for the common man…but it wasn’t to be and Paulo Costa took his soul. Costa has a lot of potential in this division and has been nothing but impressive so far in his UFC career. He is 3-0 with three knockouts and after picking up the biggest win of his career he is no doubt expecting a step up in competition next.

A lot of the middleweight division’s top fighters are un-booked right now, so he has lots of options, but I like the idea of booking him against Tim Boetsch. Boetsch is a solid test and no joke. A win over him should get Costa into the top ten.

Fight to make next: Paulo Costa vs. Tim Boetsch

Oh Johny…

Johny Hendricks seemed like an unstoppable machine at one point. I used to have nightmares about the man…but that was long ago. The man that steps into the cage these days is not the same man that was World Champion…it’s not the same man that took GSP five rounds, and it’s not the same man that was knocking everybody out with a single punch. His wrestling is an afterthought, and he isn’t much of a threat on the feet. It seems like the toughest part of his fights these days are the weight cuts and by the time the fights actually come he’s already depleted.

I really don’t know what is next for Johny Hendricks, but I’m not sure that he should continue fighting. Not because he’s taken too much damage or anything like that, but because he is destroying his legacy and I just don’t really know why at this point. Still though, I’m not his advisor and he is a grown man…my job here is to book fantasy fights, not to give advice to Johny Hendricks so I’ll can it. I have no doubt that his left hand would still work very well if he used it against me. If he continues fighting I guess a fight with Rashad Evans makes sense.

Fight to make next: Johny Hendricks vs. Rashad Evans



James Vick def. Joe Duffy

Fights to make next: James Vick vs. Rustam Khabilov & Joe Duffy vs. Michael Chiesa

Mark Godbeer def. Walt Harris

Fights to make next: Mark Godbeer vs. Oleksiy Oliynyk & Walt Harris vs. Chris de La Rocha

Ovince St. Preux def. Corey Anderson

Fights to make next: Ovince St. Preux vs. Ilir Latifi & Corey Anderson vs. CB Dolloway (Assuming he stays at 205)

Randy Brown def. Mickey Gall

Fights to make next: Randy Brown vs. Leon Edwards & Mickey Gall vs. Tom Gallicchio

Curtis Blaydes def. Oleksiy Oliynyk

Fights to make next: Curtis Blaydes vs. Stefan Struve & Oleksiy Oliynyk vs. Jarjis Danho

Ricardo Ramos def. Aiemann Zahabi

Fights to make next: Ricardo Ramos vs. Diego Rivas & Aiemann Zahabi vs. Damian Stasiak

NOW CHECK OUT COLE’S PREVIOUS TAKE: Fights to make after UFC Fight Night 119

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.