UFC 264 had a load of meaningful fights – from the top to the bottom of the card. A number made their moves in the rankings and more than a couple moved in on title shots. Today, we look to see what should be next for the main card winners at UFC 264.
This one is a tad obvious. The winner of the Conor/Dustin fight at UFC 264 was always going to fight for the belt next. Oliveira seems into it. Poirier seems to be into it. Dana seems to be into it. There’s no mystery – just make it happen.
Dustin Poirier’s Next Fight: Charles Oliveira
Gilbert Burns surprised a lot of people by taking Wonderboy down more cumulative times than he had since he fought Matt Brown years ago. Burns was also smart in his callout saying that he didn’t need the title shot next, but instead would fight anyone and everyone near the top of the division. Vicente Luque and Michael Chiesa are squaring off soon and the winner should be just one fight away from the title. I say line the winner up with Burns and see who gets the next crack at Usman.
Gilbert Burns’ Next Fight: Chiesa/Luque Winner
After losing three straight fights, Tai Tuivasa has now rattled off 3 straight KO wins (all in the first round). If that wasn’t enough to pick his stock way up, he put on a show that nobody will forget soon with the sheer number of shoeys – not to mention a KO of a disliked fighter (to put mildly). Now is the time for him to stake his case for a top 15 opponent. One that will likely be taking on an unranked fighter in his next go is Walt Harris. Harris has dropped 3 in a row and will be taking a big step back – Tuivasa is the right on to take on.
Tai Tuivasa’s Next Fight: Walt Harris
With two violent KOs on her recent record, a lot of people would consider Aldana a reasonable choice for Amanda Nunes’ next fight. Unfortunately for her, while her UFC 264 win looked good, she missed weight fairly significantly. This means she’s definitely going to need another high profile win to get her near that shot. The path to the title always runs through two women at bantamweight – Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie. With a loss to Holm already on her record, let’s pair Aldana with de Randamie. Not only would it get her where she wants to go, but it would be one hell of a striking matchup.
Irene Aldana’s Next Fight: Germaine de Randamie
Don’t get me wrong, Sean O’Malley looked very good in the cage this past weekend. However, going into UFC 264 people thought Suga had the one-touch of death. After all, he had tagged Eddie Wineland, Thomas Almeida and a number of other people. Kris Moutinho, who many think shouldn’t have gotten the fight, took a large number of his best shots. In my eye, I walk out of the event feeling a little worse about O’Malley than I had prior. While he called for Font or another highly ranked opponent, I think he ought to fight someone on the edge of the top 15 – and preferably someone who can challenge him with a bit of wrestling. Ricky Simon would fit all of those criteria, so lets get it done.
Sean O’Malley’s Next Fight: Ricky Simon