UFC 183 had a plethora of outstanding match-ups on paper that delivered new and old contenders to watch out for. I’ll be giving my takes on who they should fight next in their upcoming fight. It’ll be difficult to fill the shoes of Joe Silva and Sean Shelby in figuring out what logically makes sense for these fighters. Here are my predictions and reasonings for these potential match-ups.
Who he should fight next: Michael Bisping
The future is unclear for the greatest fighter of all-time. Another long layoff is likely for Silva. We may see him actually retire as well, although his manager Ed Soares said that wouldn’t be the case. It’s important to keep giving Silva more high-profile fights. Since he’s going to have a long layoff, a fight against Michael Bisping seems very possible. If Bisping can get past C.B Dollaway and possibly Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, it would boost his stock tremendously. This fight was bound to happen around 2010 to 2012. The luster wouldn’t be gone for a legend like Silva and one of the best talkers in MMA in Bisping.
Who he should fight next: Loser of Johny Hendricks vs. Matt Brown
It was another disappointing performance from Tyron Woodley on a big stage. I’ve always been in awe of Woodley’s speed and power. There is no denying that he’s more than capable of being a champion. In his win over Kelvin Gastelum, it was second underwhelming performance on a huge stage. He landed some decent combinations before his pace declined in the third round. The loser of Johny Hendricks vs. Matt Brown seems like a fair option for him. Woodley has spoken openly about Brown’s weak resume in past interviews. That fight could come to fruition, as “The Chosen One” is currently in limbo.
Who he should fight next: Jorge Masvidal
What does the Long Island rising star have to do to get a bonus? He could possibly get himself in the opening of a co-main event slot. Jorge Masvidal is without an opponent following the news of Benson Henderson moving up to welterweight. Iaquinta seems ready to be active and wants to keep his winning streak intact. After his performance against Joe Lauzon, a top fifteen opponent is needed for him. What better way to test his improved boxing than against someone as talented as Masvidal.
Who he should fight next: Tim Kennedy
The bizarre resurgence continues for Leites. The former number one contender is on the brink of the top ten. While many aren’t convinced of his ability, you can’t deny that Leites deserves a crack at someone in the top ten. Gegard Mousasi could be an option, but I’m really in favor of seeing him face Vitor Belfort at UFC 184. My next choice would be Tim Kennedy, which could be an intriguing grappling bout. Kennedy is such a talented wrestler that can control his opponents in a suffocating manner. It’ll be great to see Leites test himself against someone that isn’t looking to get into an ugly striking battle.
Who he should fight next: Gunnar Nelson
Alves is in very precarious position. The UFC seemed to have wanted Jordan Mein to build his resume on against a recognizable name. Now that Alves squashed those plans, could he be on the verge of a top ten opponent? It’ll take one more win for that, although stranger things have happened. A fight against Gunnar Nelson would be an fascinating encounter. While many would like to see Alves continue to face strikers, Nelson is somewhat of an enigma. His striking isn’t great yet, but will always provide an action-packed fight. That’s what people pay to see, especially from ranked welterweights. It’s time to see Alves get that challenge against an efficient grappler.
Who she should fight next: Jessica Eye
It’s expected that Bethe Correia will face Sarah Kaufman at some point. That shouldn’t be surprising, as Correia has generated buzz and the UFC wants to give her favorable matchups. Tate would most likely dominate her with her quicker movement and wrestling. While the former Strikeforce champion is in a precarious position, her popularity could boost her to another title fight against Rousey. A fight against Jessica Eye seems to be a fitting number one contender’s bout. Some may roll their eyes about Eye possibly fighting for title at 2-1-1. You can make a fair argument that she beat Alexis Davis in that close encounter at UFC 170. Holly Holm could be another option, but that would be another exciting contender likely killed off. Holm isn’t ready for someone that can wrestle and smother her opponents like Tate. Eye would be the perfect opponent in what could be a title eliminator.
Who he should fight next: Brad Tavares
The emergence of Brunson hasn’t received much publicity. His 4-1 record in the UFC has been impressive throughout the past few years. If it weren’t for an incredible comeback by Yoel Romero, he would be undefeated and fighting on a bigger platform. After knocking out Ed Herman in 36 seconds, the time is now for him to ascend. A matchup against Brad Tavares doesn’t sound appealing on paper. Tavares is a rangy striker that tends to fight conservatively. It would still be a good test to see who can be possibly on the verge of fighting a top-ten opponent.
Who he should fight next: Michael McDonald
The pound for pound king in the “Linekerweight” division has to make a career-altering switch. After failing to make weight for the fourth time, a move to bantamweight is imminent. It’ll be interesting to see where they rank him in that division. Lineker would have gotten the next title shot from his comeback victory against Ian McCall. This is the toughest fighter to match-make, due to the odd circumstances. Michael McDonald is coming back from injury and always involved in action-packed fights. This would be a great test for both fighters who are both at a crossroads in their respective careers.