UFC 262 is in the books and, boy, was it a doozy. Tons of action, broken limbs, wacky KOs and a new lightweight champion. Before we move on to another crazy card, let’s dissect what the losers should do next.
Chandler came seemingly seconds away from wearing UFC gold this past weekend. He looked like exactly what people expected of him in that first round before taking a left hand in the second that changed the course of history in a hurry. He shouldn’t be that far away from a title shot. You have to imagine that the winner of Conor and Poirier is next for Oliveira, but after that, with the right win, Chandler could be right there again. That right opponent should be Justin Gaethje. Not only would it put the winner in line for another shot at the belt, but it would be pure violence in its best form.
Michael Chandler’s Next Fight: Justin Gaethje
As the sun seems to set on Tony Ferguson, the lightweight title contender, I’m not quite ready to write him out of the UFC – like many fans seem to be. Both of the last two losses have come against people who bring a very similar game plan. Both Oliveira and Dariush planned, and succeeded, in taking him down and threatening submissions for 15 straight minutes. He may be on the far side of the mountain, but at least give him someone who will oblige him in a violent showdown before the sun sets. Paul Felder seems like the type of guy who would do the trick and I think Tony Ferguson likely gets him out of the broadcast chair for another kick at the can.
Tony Ferguson’s Next Fight: Paul Felder
Schnell wound up on the losing side for the 2nd time in his last 3 fights. A lot of this seems to come from the fact that he seems to have fallen in love with his hands and isn’t leaning on what got him to the dance in the first place – his submission grappling. The flyweight division is filled with a lot of talented strikers right now, and Schnell would benefit from attacking where he’s best. If he isn’t going to do that though, why not pair him with someone would will force him to grapple. Matheus Nicolau will do exactly that and may be a little more on the same level as him in the striking department than Bontorin was.
Matt Schnell’s Next Fight: Matheus Nicolau
A lot of people think Araujo should have walked away with the victory this past weekend and as a result would be nipping at the top 5 of the flyweight division. The majority of media members on MMA Decisions had her coming out on top, as did the fan vote. Instead, she is walking away with her 3rd loss in 4 fights. While we could just treat it as if she is still at the top, she likely needs a step back in competition to see if she can hang with the best still. Miranda Maverick is a nice mix of her two needs. It could show she is still elite while also offering her a challenge in there.
Viviane Araujo’s Next Fight: Miranda Maverick
If you take a look at Shane Burgos’ record, you’ll see he has done an excellent against guys who are primarily grapplers. It’s the heavy strikers like Calvin Kattar and his opponent this weekend, Edson Barboza, that have given him trouble. That doesn’t mean the UFC should backpedal and find him another fighter he can easily handle on the feet, but it does mean that perhaps an elite striker isn’t the right move either. Alex Caceres sits just outside of the top 15. He has a 4-fight win streak and is likely due for a ranked name. He likely won’t be able to KO Burgos like Barboza did (nor could anybody), but he does present enough problems on the feet to make it interesting.
Shane Burgos’ Next Fight: Alex Caceres