It’s not often that a draw rears its ugly head in this column, but with a main event ending in such a fashion, it is impossible not to mention it. Also, for once, the clear answer following the draw is not, for everyone, an immediate rematch. But enough of the theoretical, let’s get into what’s next for the top of the flyweight division and the rest of the UFC 256 main card winners.
Deiveson Figueiredo/Brandon Moreno
When Figueiredo faced off with Alex Perez, both Brandon Moreno and Brandon Royval acknowledged that whichever of them were to win their fight that same night might still be behind Cody Garbrandt in line for the next shot. I’m sure most contenders considered the same thing when Moreno got this shot — regardless of the winner, that looming Garbrandt fight seemed on the horizon. Although some might have Garbrandt in line even after the draw, the right move is to run this one back. Moreno showed signs of being the right kind of opponent for Figueiredo and we might as well see who can make the adjustments for the second 25 minutes. It would appear that the UFC agree with this thought too, given Cody Garbradt’s Sunday afternoon tweet.
Their Next Fight: Each Other
Upon shocking the world and absolutely manhandling Tony Ferguson for 15 minutes, Oliviera called for the winner of Conor and Dustin, who square off towards the end of January. However, it’s worth pointing out that Conor fought in January of 2020, and then not again. There’s no reason to leave Do Bronx on the shelf that long. Why not throw him in there with the only other fighter to do that to Ferguson, Justin Gaethje? The fight would be guaranteed fun and it would also help us see if the defensive jiu jitsu of Gaethje has tightened up at all since his last fight.
Charles Oliviera’s Next Fight: Justin Gaethje
Dern showed some really important facets of her game on Saturday. The most important of them was that she does not need the fight on the ground to take home the win. This opens up a load of possibilities in match-ups that would previously have looked like nightmares. Take Carla Esparza for example. Until Dern showed she is making huge strides in her striking, the wrestler would have seemed like a tough out for Dern. Dern wouldn’t likely take her down, but now they actually might have a fun bout on the feet. While our hope is that this match-up would hit the floor, it would be fun regardless and help shake out the 115lbs picture.
Mackenzie Dern’s Next Fight: Carla Esparza
He asked for it. Give it to him.
Khamzat Chimaev has said time and time again that he’ll take all comers in both welterweight and middleweight divisions. Win or lose (or if it doesn’t happen) against Leon Edwards, let him move back up to middleweight to fight Holland. The lead up to it in terms of trash talk would be epic. Neither is ever in a boring fight. There’s just too many boxes that this checks and you could run it any weekend with the way these two are prepared.
Kevin Holland’s Next Fight: Khamzat Chimaev
Gane proved that he is a legit threat in the heavyweight division with a KO of Junior dos Santos. His first KO of his UFC career reminded people why they were hyped on him in the first place. Of course, some are writing off the win slightly under the assumption that dos Santos has now been KOed in four straight fights. So why not pair Gane with another fighter coming off a JDS KO? Jair Rozenstruik has been waiting for a bout since he flatlined dos Santos in August. With the log jam at the top of the division, this would help shake out who may be getting their spot in the queue and who will just hang around.
Cyril Gane’s Next Fight: Jair Rozenstruik