Who’s Next? Playing Matchmaker with UFC 210 Fighters
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 fighters next. I will give my matchups for all main card fighters for UFC 210.
Daniel Cormier: Winner of Alexander Gustafsson / Glover Texeira winner:
I know I am in the minority with this matchup. Seems like the UFC is gonna either give the title shot to Jon Jones or give it to Jimi Manuwa. Here is my issues with Jones getting the title shot. He has 1 win in over two years. That win was an unimpressive win over Ovince St. Preaux. I think Jones, who keeps getting himself suspended, needs to prove that he can stay healthy and out of trouble. Jones even mentioned during his media scrum that he might need a warm up fight.
Manuwa gets a title shot because he is on a two fight winning streak? Who has he beaten? He hasn’t beat a single guy ranked in our top 10 rankings.
I think the winner of Gustafsson vs Texeira makes more sense. Many people believe Gustafsson beat Cormier in their epic battle back in October of 2015. He never got a rematch. Texeira has been a stable of the top 5 rankings for a long time and has never faced Cormier. Like I said, I doubt either of these guys get the next shot, but it is what I would do.
Anthony Johnson: Retirement
I think this is a heat of the moment decision. I don’t really expect Johnson to be retired. Perhaps he moves to heavyweight, but I doubt he starts doing that “other job” he referred to.
Gegard Mousasi: Yoel Romero
I know a lot of people will be crying for a rematch with Chris Weidman. My issue is that while I feel bad for Weidman, and we don’t know how that fight would have ended if the fight continued. It is not Mousasi’s fault that the fight was ended. He did a legal move and shouldn’t have to fight a guy on a three fight losing streak. Mousasi is on a five fight winning streak and has stopped his last four opponents. Mousasi deserves to be in a position to make a title run. Hopefully the UFC resigns Mousasi and matches him against #1 contender, Yoel Romero. I would love to see the technical precision of Mousasi vs the brute power and athleticism of Romero.
Chris Weidman:Derek Brunson/ Daniel Kelly winner:
I feel bad for Weidman, that fight shouldn’t have been stopped. That fight could have gone either way. However, Weidman is now on a 3 fight losing streak (though I think this fight might get changed to a No Contest). While I believe that Weidman can still make a title run, it will be extremely hard and unlikely. Either way, Weidman is still a fan favorite and a big name. They need to feed him a fighter on a lower level than the guys he recently lost to. I think the winner of Derek Brunson and Daniel Kelly makes sense. Brunson is a borderline top 10 fighter and should have got the win over Anderson Silva. Kelly doesn’t look like a world beater, but a win over Brunson would put him at 14-1 with five straight wins in the UFC. That would also make him deserve a big name like Chris Weidman.
Cynthia Calvillo: Livia Renato Souza
Calvillo has been sensational so far in the UFC with two submission wins in her first two UFC matches. This girl has a lot of buzz about her, and many people think that she could be the next champion coming out of Team Alpha Male. So let’s see how good she is. I would match her up against Livia Renato Souza. Souza is the former Invicta strawweight champion. The UFC needs to add her to the roster now. Souza has all the tools to be a champion. She is a very accurate striker with power and speed in her hands. She is also a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. The winner of that fight would cement themselves as a true title contender.
Pearl Gonzalez: Amanda Bobby Cooper
Even though she lost, Gonzalez showed that she has potential. She had moments where she put Calvillo in bad positions and almost got an armbar in the second round. I think Gonzalez should face off against Amanda Bobby Cooper, who also was recently a victim to a Calvillio submission. Let’s see who belongs in the UFC and needs to go back to the regional scene.
Thiago Alves: Randy Brown
Thiago Alves is back!!! Okay, let’s not get too excited. Joe Rogan was greatly exaggerating, but Alves did look much better than he has in recent years. That said, Alves is no longer a title contender and is just a decent name to fill a card. Let’s match him up with a prospect and not waste true title contenders time. I think Randy Brown makes sense. He is a prospect with tons of potential, and has had moments of brilliance but overall he has been a disappointment. It’s time to see if Brown is gonna make the big step up or just be a card filler. If he can beat Alves, he is a legit prospect.
Patrick Cote: Retirement
Enjoy retirement, you will be missed.
Charles Oliveira: Michael Johnson
Oliveira should never fight at 145 lbs again. He looks so much stronger at lightweight and just steamrolled a very good lightweight in Will Brooks. I think the next move is to give Oliveira an even higher ranked opponent. Michael Johnson is the perfect guy for the next assignment. Johnson is an even better athlete than Brooks is. He is a better striker than Brooks, and would be able to test Oliveira in different ways. Match these two up and see who can take a step towards a title shot.
Will Brooks: Justin Gaethje
The former Bellator champion, Brooks, who never lost his title, has been very disappointing so far in the UFC. Many in the media, myself included thought Brooks was a terrible stylistic matchup for Charles Oliveria. Many thought he would be able to keep the fight standing due to his superior wrestling and win the fight with his striking and size. We were wrong.
I have been calling for the WSOF champion, Justin Gaethje to be in the UFC for a really long time. There are conflicting stories over his free agent status. If he is a free agent, the UFC should sign him and match him up against Brooks. Let’s see the Bellator champion vs the WSOF champion and see who was the best lightweight outside of the UFC.