As the dust settles on Saturday night’s UFC 192 pay-per-view event in Texas we take a look ahead to what comes next for the card’s big winners.
Cormier proved himself to be a worthy champion on Saturday night with an unbreakable will to win in an extremely tough, competitive fight with Alexander Gustafsson that will go down as one of the best scraps of the year.
Cormier will never truly be considered the king of the hill at 205lbs though until he avenges his loss to the man who vacated the title earlier this year, Jon Jones, and he’ll be the first to admit that himself.
Luckily, the opportunity to do just that looks like it will present itself sooner rather than later as Jones is now on the verge of a return to the Octagon after escaping a jail sentence for his hit-and-run incident back in April, while the UFC have said they will be reviewing his indefinite suspension from the UFC in the coming week.
So, all signs point to a rematch between the two takes place at some point next year, with the UFC’s tentative announcement of a UFC event in New York next April (pending legal rulings) currently being the ideal landing spot for the showdown.
Bader put in another solid shift on Saturday night and showed an improving striking game as he claimed the biggest win of his career against Rashad Evans and improved his unbeaten run to 5-0.
Bader is now banging hard on the door of title contention, but is anyone listening? He’s likely to overtaken by the returning Jon Jones for the next title shot, while Dana White was perhaps a little harsh with his post-fight comments, suggesting that Bader should have pushed for a finish against Evans.
That’s been a problem for Bader – all five of his wins during this run have went to the judges, so he’s not got that big, definitive stoppage victory yet that would really make people sit up and take notice.
So, all signs point to Bader having to take on another fight with a top contender instead next, with current No.1 contender Anthony Johnson being the obvious choice.
Magomedov is quietly putting together a nice three-fight winning streak in the division and showing off some efficient, effective counter-striking along the way, though his lack of the kind of thundering punching power might hold him back from a quick ascent up the divisional rankings.
He has earned a step-up in competition though with a look towards breaking into the top 15, so having him fight the winner of November’s Stefan Struve Vs Jared Rosholt fight looks like the best option for him now.
Clearly amongst the flyweight elite, Benavidez is in a very awkward spot in the division thanks to two previous losses against current champion Demetrious Johnson. He was KO’d by him the last time they locked horns, but the first encounter between them was much closer and I’d still like to see him get a third shot at the belt at some stage.
It’s unlikely that’s going to happen next though. However, one glaring omission among the long list of fighters Benavidez has fought over the course of his career is recent title contender John Dodson who’s in a similar position of being better than just about everyone else at 125lbs.
It’s surprising that this match-up hasn’t take place before now, so there’s no time like the present to right that wrong.
Pena called out Ronda Rousey after her biggest win to date on Saturday night, but while she certainly shows a lot of promise she’s still a work in progress and would be wise to get more training and experience under her belt before taking on that daunting challenge.
The UFC are hungry for fresh meat to feed to their biggest star though, so, while it’s not likely to happen right away, it’d certainly be an option if ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ can string together another big win or two together.
Let’s put her in with someone else who called out Rousey prematurely – Bethe Correia who currently holds the No.9 spot in the division.