Live, March 14, 2015 from the American Airlines Center, in Dallas, Texas we saw UFC 185 go down. This was a card that looked good on paper and definitely delivered when it came to shaking up the MMA world.
UFC 185 – What’s next for the cards featured fighters?
The main event and co-main event saw two new champions crowned. Anthony Pettis was thoroughly dominated by Rafael dos Anjos, who became the new UFC Lightweight Champion via 50-45 scores across the board. Joanna Jedrzejczyk proved she is indeed a finisher and the top 115lb women’s fighter out there. She pounded out Carla Esparza, en route to a second round TKO win, to become the new champion.
The rest of the main card was rounded out by a trio of unanimous decisions. Johny Hendricks got past Matt Brown, Alistair Overeem defeated Roy Nelson, and in the pay per view curtain jerker Henry Cejudo made easy work of Chris Cariaso.
It’s time for the matchmaking hat to go on and for MMASucka to get to work. This edition of “What’s Next”, we’ll list possible matchups for all five main card winners, as well as the two former champions. Let’s get to it.
The Fighter: Henry Cejudo
Who he should fight next: Jussier Formiga
I think at this point it’s fairly safe to say the UFC wants to do a Demetrious Johnson vs John Dodson rematch, if Dodson should get past Zack Makovsky at UFC 187. Formiga if a formidable contender and a fresh face and makes perfect sense as Cejudo next opponent. Winners of this fight will vie for the belt by early 2016.
The Fighter: Alistair Overeem
Who he should fight next: Junior dos Santos
They’re big names, it’s a big fight, and while I think dos Santos makes easy work of Overeem it will sell tickets and could easily headline a Fight Night event in late summer/early fall.
The Fighter: Johny Hendricks
Who he should fight next: Tyron Woodley
Hendricks could very well wait for the MacDonald/Lawler winner, but I don’t think he will. He wants to remain active and with Lombard out on suspension soon enough I think Woodley is a good opponent.
The Fighter: Carla Esparza
Who she should fight next: The loser of Claudia Gadelha vs Aisling Daly
This fight goes down in just under a month at UFC Fight Night 64 and no matter who loses, they’re still likely top 10 at 115lbs. Esparza will need a bit of a bounce back fight, but someone who’s got name value, either of these fighters fits that description.
The Fighter: Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Who she should fight next: The winner of Claudia Gadelha vs Aisling Daly
No matter who wins this fight it’s a formidable matchup. Gadelha wins and you’ve got a fantastic grudge match from their December outing. Daly wins and the UFC can hype her up as the female Conor McGregor and milk some money out of it that way.
The Fighter: Anthony Pettis
Who he should fight next: Edson Barboza
Both men coming off losses, both very entertaining strikers who need a win, this fight has all the makings of Fight of the Night. Give both guys time off to rest and book it late summer/early fall.
The Fighter: Rafael dos Anjos
Who he should fight next: The winner of Donald Cerrone vs Khabib Nurmagomedov
Either way the champion will be fighting a rematch in his first title defence. Dos Anjos got by Cerrone in a competitive fight, and then lost to Nurmagomedov last year. Either way this is the best option for the new Lightweight Champion going forward.
Agree or disagree with any or all matchups? Let us know in the comment section below. You can find MMASucka columnist Nate Grotenhuis on Twitter @BurgersMMA