By Keith Shillan
So we have all done it after a certain fight. We have all made suggestions on who a certain fighter should fight next after a match. This article isn’t me looking into a crystal ball and predicting who the UFC will matchup up next, but it is me stating that if I was in control of the UFC matchmaking, I would match these guys next. I will give my matchups for all the UFC Fight 98 winner.
Tony Ferguson: Winner of Eddie Alvarez and Conor McGregor. Ferguson has won 9 straight wins in the UFC lightweight division and 11-1 in the UFC overall. Of those 11 wins, he has stopped 7 of those opponents. Of his wins, only his fight with Danny Castillo was competitive. I get that Khabib Nurmagomedov also has a strong argument for a title fight, especially if he beats Michael Johnson on Saturday. However, Nurmagomedov has less wins in the UFC, and has beaten lesser quality opponents than Ferguson. As of right now, Nurmagomedov’s biggest win was against Rafael Dos Anjos, who Ferguson just beat. Since Nurmagomedov’s win against Dos Anjos, Nurmagomedov has won one fight, while Ferguson has won eight fights over the same period. A title fight for Ferguson is a must.
All that said, I believe if McGregor wins the belt against Eddie Alvarez, Nate Diaz will skip the line, and get a third fight with McGregor
Diego Sanchez: Winner of Thiago Alves and Jim Miller. Many thought Sanchez was all done, but he proved that he might have some life left, especially in the grappling game. Now, I don’t expect Sanchez to make a run into our top ten rankings, having twenty five appearances in the octagon, still means he should get a decent name. I think the winner of Alves vs Miller makes sense. Alves has been in the UFC for a long time, and somehow the paths of him and Sanchez hasn’t crossed. Miller and Sanchez fought in March, and most people didn’t think Sanchez deserved the win. Let’s run it back.
Ricardo Lamas: Winner of Frankie Edgar and Jeremy Stephens. I swear I am not trying to just matchup the winners from UFC Fight 98 with the winners of UFC 205. This matchup was basically made by process of elimination. Lamas just picked up the biggest win of his career, by beating Charles Oliveira. That win is instantly going to propel him to a bigger fight. With Edgar losing to interim Featherweight champion, Jose Aldo Jr twice, he won’t get a title shot for awhile. Lamas and Edgar are both ranked in the top 5, and have never faced. If Stephens beats the former UFC lightweight champion, then his stock would rise and would draw a top 5 opponent.
Martin Bravo: Arnold Allen. Bravo is undefeated and well rounded, but the Mexican fighter is only 23 years old. Bravo is a top prospect from Mexico, but if I was in charge of the UFC, I would slowly build him up and not rush him into a big fight yet. Though Bravo won the season 3 of the Ultimate Fighter Latin America at lightweight, he is expected to move back to featherweight, which is what he normally fights at. Arnold Allen is a nice young prospect from England. Match the two international prospects against each other.
Beneil Dariush: Rafael dos Anjos. Dariush is already ranked in the lower half of the UFC rankings, though our site currently have him ranked outside of the top 10. That said, I am a big believer of Dariush’s skill. He has good wrestling, a very good grappling game, and decent striking. His kicks have really developed into a strong tool. Rafael dos Anjos is a former light weight champion, but is coming off back to back disappointing loses. dos Anjos needs a big win to show he is still relevant in the UFC, and Dariush needs a marquee win to propel him into the top five. Being that they both fought on the same card, bearing any injuries, they should be on the same time table for a fight.
Alexa Grasso: Tecia Torres. I believe Grasso has all the tools to be a future champion in the UFC. She has a relentless standup game, where she displays nice combinations and kicks. She also has a very slick ground game. Being that she is very good looking, undefeated, and only twenty three years old, I think we have a star in the making. We currently has Grasso ranked at 8, and Tecia Torres at 7. Torres has a nice well rounded game that can challenge anybody in the weight class. Sounds like a perfect matchup.