What’s Next for UFC 166’s Big Winners?

Cain Valesquez

As the dust settles on arguably the best event of the year, we take a look ahead to what may comes next for UFC 166’s big winners.

Cain Velasquez:

Another dominant win over JDS isn’t ideal for the heavyweight division as it means Velasquez now appears to be standing head and shoulders above the competition.

There’s no one on the immediate horizon who looks like a major threat to Velasquez’s belt, but for now Fabricio Werdum appears to be next in line, and indeed even before the broadcast finished last night Dana White was touting him as the next challenger for the title.

Werdum’s currently on a three-fight winning streak since re-joining the UFC last year that’s included victories over Roy Nelson, Mike Russow and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

Daniel Cormier:

Despite picking up his second win in the UFC’s heavyweight division, Cormier is packing up and heading down to the light-heavyweight division next.

While he was close to a title shot at heavyweight, he’ll have to wait his turn at 205lbs, with Jon Jones currently scheduled to fight Glover Teixeira next, with a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson the plan after that if all goes well.

Speaking of which, Gustafsson still has to take another fight first before earning that second title shot, so ideally Cormier should be trying to get himself that fight. It’s not out of the question that could happen, Dana White acknowledged it was a possibility backstage last night, but I think they might try to avoid the risk of Cormier spoiling the Jones Vs Gustafsson rematch.

instead I think they might put Cormier up against another highly talented wrestler, Phil Davis who’s currently on a four-fight unbeaten run.

Gilbert Melendez:

Melendez’ stock sky-rocketed last night after an all-time classic war with Diego Sanchez, so much so that he’s propelled himself right back into the title picture at lightweight.

As such, all signs now point to Melendez being next in line to face the winner of the next title fight between current champ Anthony Pettis and Josh Thomson in December.

It makes a lot of sense – Melendez Vs Petis would be a great fight, or if it goes the other way, Melendez already has had a great trilogy of fights with Thomson over in Strikeforce and nobody would complain about seeing a fourth one.

Gabriel Gonzaga:

Gonzaga is enjoying something of a resurgence at this stage in his career, and after first showing off his BJJ skills in a couple of wins after his return to the UFC, he’s now shown he’s no slouch on the feet with a couple of first round KO wins too.

I’d put him up with Stipe Miocic next who’s also gone 4-1 recently and is coming off a win over Roy Nelson.

John Dodson:

Another impressive display from Dodson last night, he’s always fun to watch and has vicious power that belies his 125lb frame.

Dana White believes that Dodson and Demetrious Johnson are the flyweight equivalent of Velasquez and JDS in that they are the best two in their division.

Joseph Benavidez may have something to say about that and he gets the next title shot to prove it, but either way it’s likely that Dodson will go on to fight the winner.

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously FightOfTheNight.com) in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.