Fights to Make Following UFC 199 Main Card

kim kardashian

Following the amazing UFC 199 card on June 4, it is now time to start thinking about what match-ups should be made next for the main card fighters.

Michael Bisping

The Brit stunned the world when he knocked Luke Rockhold out in the first round of their middleweight title fight, and became the first Englishman to win a UFC belt. Now, the question is: who will his first defense come against? There are a myriad of options. Rockhold could get a rematch, as even though he failed to defend his belt once since winning it, he holds a submission victory over Bisping. The two also spit venom at each other in the post-fight press conference, easily marketing a trilogy. Former middleweight champ Chris Weidman, who lost the belt to Rockhold in December, has stated on Twitter that he wants a crack at Bisping to earn his belt back. Weidman might need to win a No. 1-contender fight first to set it up, however. After Weidman pulled out of the title fight against Rockhold with a neck injury, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza was the first option to replace him. He didn’t take the fight due to a knee injury, but he could be granted the title shot against Bisping. “Jacare” has won nine of his last 10, including finishes over Vitor Belfort, Gegard Mousasi, Derek Brunson and Chris Camozzi. The only fight he lost in that span was a razor-thin split decision to Yoel Romero, which easily could have gone his way. Before that win-streak kicked off, his loss was to none other than Rockhold by unanimous decision. And finally, a long shot, but Dan Henderson. Bisping has said that he wants to avenge his UFC 100 loss to “Hendo,” which could possibly happen.

Luke Rockhold

After losing his belt, there are a few options for Rockhold as well. As mentioned above, he could get an immediate rematch against Bisping. While immediate rematches have been unpopular with fans for most of them being considered “undeserved,” the post-fight presser was infamous and could generate fan interest. Rockhold could battle Weidman again as well for a No. 1-contender spot for after Bisping tries to defend his title. Weidman has made it clear that while he wants a crack at earning his belt back, he also wants to avenge the lone loss of his career against Rockhold. Speaking of revenge, Rockhold has also stated that he’d like revenge against Vitor Belfort, who knocked him out in 2013.

Dominick Cruz

Cruz was successful in his first title defense since recapturing his belt when he dominated challenger and rival Urijah Faber en route to a unanimous decision in the co-main event of UFC 199. After multiple injuries kept him limited to one fight in four years, Cruz has won decisions against T.J. Dillashaw (to reclaim his belt) and Faber. Now, the question is: Who will be the next challenger at 135? The answer is actually fairly obvious. Dillashaw and contender Raphael Assuncao will meet at UFC 200 in July in a bout that will almost certainly decide the next title challenger. Dillashaw will be looking to avenge a loss to Assuncao from 2013 and snap his seven-fight winning streak in the process. Cruz will either rematch Dillashaw, whom he fought with to a narrow split decision in January, or battle a fresh face in Assuncao.

Urijah Faber

Faber came up short in his trilogy fight with Cruz, as well as winning the elusive UFC belt. “The California Kid” is now 0-4 in UFC title fights/challenges, but 9-1 in UFC fights where there is no belt on the line (only losing to Frankie Edgar). Faber has clearly lost a step, but it’s hard to imagine the 37-year-old retiring, especially when he’s running Team Alpha Male. John Dodson, a former two-time flyweight title challenger (both losses to Demetrious Johnson), is younger but in a similar boat to Faber, hence his moving up in weight. Faber would be an excellent test for Dodson to see where he stacks up in the bantamweight division, while giving Faber another high-profile fight. Alternatively, Faber could also fight the loser of the Dillashaw/Assuncao fight, especially if it happens to be Dillashaw. The two had a very public falling out after Dillashaw went to train with Duane Ludwig, who Faber had issues with. That would be an excellent grudge match that would sell itself, and one that has to happen eventually.

Max Holloway

No. 3-ranked featherweight Max Holloway extended his winning streak to nine with his unanimous decision victory over No. 5-ranked Ricardo Lamas. His last defeat came at the hands of the division’s current champion, Conor McGregor. For Holloway, that means it’s time for one of the division’s top fighters. Former featherweight champion Jose Aldo and former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar are set to rematch at UFC 200 for the interim featherweight belt; the winner will likely take on McGregor to unify the belts. Holloway should square off with the loser of that fight. Either way, it will be a step-up for him and a chance to defeat an opponent with top-tier name value. If he wins that fight, he’ll have a 10-fight winning streak, and finally earn the title shot he probably should’ve had by now.

Ricardo Lamas

Even though he’s lost two of his last three, there’s absolutely no shame in coming up short against Holloway and Chad Mendes. That said, the majority of the featherweight’s top-15 is not currently booked, leaving a slew of potential opponents for Lamas, who will likely need to build himself back up into title contention. The No. 7-ranked featherweight, Charles Oliveira, a Brazilian submission specialist, would be an intriguing fight for Lamas. It would be a fun stylistic match-up for the fans and would provide the winner of the bout with a solid victory over a respected fighter. On a one-fight winning streak, Oliveira is in the same boat as Lamas in terms of them trying to build a win-streak, so this fight makes perfect sense.

Dan Henderson

Honestly, “Hendo” should retire like he’s thinking of doing following his epic comeback victory over Hector Lombard. The middleweight division is full of killers, and a step-up for Hendo could result in another loss. Of course, Hendo could still compete, but with the amount of damage he’s suffered, it’s time to call it a career, which would end on a very high note. If he still insists on fighting, Michael Bisping just became the division’s champion, and Bisping has wanted a rematch against Hendo since UFC 100, when Hendo famously knocked him out. If Henderson replicated that performance and finally earned a UFC belt, it would be a cherry on top of his amazing career. That’s still a risky scenario though, as Hendo should probably just go out on a win. But if the match against Bisping doesn’t get made and he still wants to fight, Rafael Natal would be a decent match-up with Hendo having a good chance of winning.

Hector Lombard

It depends on whether Lombard remains in middleweight or drops back down to welterweight. Assuming he stays at the 185-lb weight class, Trevor Smith would be a solid match-up for him. Smith is coming off of a unanimous decision victory over Dan Miller. Despite two straight losses for Lombard (both T/KOs from Neil Magny and Henderson), he should still be able to outclass Smith. While Lombard deserves to be higher up on Tapology’s middleweight ranking (he’s at No. 44 while Smith is No. 39), it may be due to Lombard just going back up to middleweight, but it also means that following two losses, Smith may be the type of opponent Lombard needs. If he can’t finish, let alone beat Smith at this stage of his career, maybe it’s time for Lombard to ponder retirement as well.

Dustin Poirier 

“The Diamond” kicked things off on the main card with what may have been the biggest win of his career: a huge knockout of Bobby Green. There are a couple of excellent fights the promotion could schedule as Poirier’s next bout. Beneil Dariush is an option, as he fought on the UFC 199 prelims and scored a violent knockout of James Vick. A fight between Poirier and Dariush would feature an amazing stylistic clash between fighters who are extraordinarily skilled at what they specialize in (Poirier in the stand-up and Dariush on the ground), but can also hold their own in their opponent’s strengths. It’d be a step-up for No. 11-ranked Dariush, and a slight step down for the No. 9-ranked Poirier in the lightweight division. Alternatively, Poirier could earn a step-up opponent with his win over Green, like Michael Johnson, who is currently on a two-fight losing skid and ranked No. 8. That would provide Poirier with the opportunity to make a splash against a well-known opponent a rank above him, while providing Johnson with a slight step-down to try and bust his losing streak.

Bobby Green

For Green’s sake, he should probably learn to stop taunting his opponents in the Octagon; especially after the beatdown Poirier laid on him. Also, he’s now on a two-fight losing streak, as he lost a decision to Edson Barboza prior to the Poirier fight. A good next fight for Green would be against Adriano Martins, perhaps, who is 4-1 in the UFC. The Tapology ranking system has Green and Martins as the No. 17 and 18-ranked lightweights respectively. It would really test where Martins stands in the division and put his three-fight win-streak to the test, while giving Green a step-down.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/Jaime.Lovelock

 

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Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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