After the main event of UFC 228, there will either be a new UFC welterweight king in town, or the old dog will still be on top wondering who will challenge him next. Current champ Tyron Woodley takes on the number two ranked contender Darren Till in an anticipated title fight that truly could go either way. No matter what the result is, there will need to be a challenger ready to take on the winner. Other than the former interim champ, there are no top ranked guys with a definitive future in regards to their next fight. Here is what the UFC should do with all of these guys.
Fights To Make In The UFC Welterweight Division
Colby Covington vs Woodley/Till winner
After a controversial, but impressive run to the top, Colby Covington seemed next in line to challenge Woodley. “Chaos” halted the momentum of Rafael Dos Anjos in a fight for the interim welterweight strap. He and Woodley were already promoting their fight with loads of trash talk, much of which started before Covington became interim champ.
Then, Covington was stripped of his interim title because he needed time off, but Woodley was ready to fight. So, it is only fair that Covington gets his shot next, whether it be against Till or Woodley.
Robbie Lawler vs Stephen Thompson
There will always be interest in a fight between a former champ and a former title challenger who both love to strike. Robbie Lawler currently sits as the number five ranked contender, after his loss to Dos Anjos.
Stephen Thompson is the number four ranked contender, coming off of a loss to Till. Each guy is a great striker, and they both have knocked out their fair share of competitors. They both are also looking to get back into the title picture. Lawler hasn’t fought for the title since he lost it to Woodley in July 2016. Thompson fought Woodley twice, once to a majority draw and once to a loss via majority decision. He has fought both Woodley and Till, so he will likely need a win or two before he has an argument to make for himself fighting for the title again.
This fight is rumored to be on the UFC’s first event on ESPN.
Rafael dos Anjos vs Kamaru Usman
Dos Anjos was looking like a force in the welterweight division until his loss to Covington. Usman has been a force since he has arrived in the UFC. Though not a finishing machine, he is 8-0 in the UFC with a knockout, a submission, and six decisions in which he has only lost a handful of rounds.
The fight would be an interesting stylistic matchup. Dos Anjos, a technical striker, looks to tactically pick his opponents apart on the feet. He’s no slouch off of his back either, with a third-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and nine career submission victories to prove it. “The Nigerian Nightmare” on the other hand, is a powerful wrestler who looks to take his opponents down, and grind them out with shots from on top.
The fight is reportedly being looked at for some time this fall, and would go a long way in sorting out the immediate future of the division.
Mike Perry vs Jorge Masvidal
Donald Cerrone vs Carlos Condit
Donald Cerrone faces off against Mike Perry in November in what is shaping out to be a drama filled fight. Cerrone is no longer fighting out of Jackson Wink MMA, as they decided to corner Perry instead. “Cowboy” felt disrespected by his longtime team choosing to coach the newcomer instead of himself. So, there has suddenly been a big pickup in the trash talk leading up to this fight. The fight will be sure to deliver, with two guys going in there looking to knock the other’s head off.
If “Platinum” Perry were to win this fight, he will likely find himself in the division’s rankings. A good opponent for him, if he does defeat Cowboy, would be UFC veteran Jorge Masvidal. Each guy likes to talk trash, and each guy likes to strike. There would be a great build up to what would most definitely be an action-packed fight.
Cerrone, on the other hand, is already ranked in the welterweight division. However, it’s clear that his career will be coming to an end sooner rather than later. He could go out on a win, but he has said that he’s not done yet. A good next fight for Cowboy could be former interim champ Carlos Condit. Both guys are older and towards the end of their careers, but can still fight at a high level. Plus, it would be another chapter to add to the Cerrone-Jackson Wink drama.
Jake Matthews vs Sage Northcutt
Though neither of these guys are ranked, it would be an interesting matchup between two young fighters who feel like veterans of the octagon. They both debuted in the UFC at the age of 19, and each has been very successful to this point. Matthews, 24, is 7-3 in the promotion, but 3-0 since he made the switch to the welterweight division. Northcutt, 22, is 6-2 in the octagon and is a fan favorite.
Matthews is a more well-rounded fighter, but Northcutt has the striking advantage and has had an improved grappling game since he has been with Team Alpha Male. It would be a great fight between two young guys looking to make the climb into the division’s rankings. Sorry, Logan Paul, you can’t get your hands on Super Sage yet.
The UFC’s welterweight division is littered with talent. There are young guys looking to surge to the top and veterans trying to keep themselves in the title picture. Any of these fights would help determine how the future of the division will progress, and who will be the next string of championship contenders.
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