What’s Next: UFC 303 Winners

Alex Pereira, UFC 303
Alex Pereira, UFC 303 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Eddie Law/Cageside Press

It was to have been the return of Conor McGregor. It was to have featured Jamahal Hill vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. as a co-main event. UFC 303 will likely be remembered as much for that it wasn’t as what it was, but in the end, Alex Pereira outshone all the hiccups and bumps in the road, coming through in a short-notice main event to once again notch a highlight reel finish, in a rematch with Jiri Prochazka.

“Poatan” has staked his claim to Fighter of the Year in 2024. He may have to deal with a toe injury (where have we heard that before), but what comes next should be really, really interesting.

Alex Pereira

There have already been calls for ‘Poatan’ to move up to heavyweight in search of a historic third UFC belt in the immediate aftermath of his second light-heavyweight title defense, a knockout of Jiri Prochazka. However, champion Jon Jones is set to fight Stipe Miocic later this year while interim heavyweight champ Tom Aspinall defends his interim belt later this month.

With Pereira forced to stay at 205lbs for the time being, there is only one name that makes sense for him to face: Magomed Ankalaev. Ankalaev has not lost since his UFC debut; his lone blemishes are a draw against Jan Blachowicz in their title bout and a no-contest to Johnny Walker in the following fight. After then knocking out Walker in the rematch, Ankalaev deserves to fight for UFC gold again.

Pereira’s Next Fight: Magomed Ankalaev

Diego Lopes

After multiple fight week and fight day changes to weight and opponent for Diego Lopes he still managed to get the job done with a decision win over Dan Ige in the new-look UFC 303 co-main event. Diego is now promised a spot on the card at the Sphere later this year in Las Vegas on the Mexican Independence Day card.

What better opponent for the budding star than Brian Ortega, the man he was supposed to fight this time? Ortega is a top five opponent that will put Lopes in title contention if he wins, and has a very similarly exciting style to Diego. Fans at the Sphere will be delivered a treat if this fight goes down there.

Lopes’ Next Fight: Brian Ortega

Roman Dolidze

The Georgian’s next fight depends whether or not he will return to middleweight after answering the short notice call to fight light-heavyweight Anthony Smith on Saturday. Due to potentially being ranked in both divisions, the choice may not be easy.

Dolidze has already tried to climb the 185lb ranks and been definitively denied by Nassourdine Imavov. Maybe 205lbs is the division for him? Dominick Reyes called him out, which is a fight that makes sense, with Reyes ranked thirteenth and Roman presumably taking over Smith’s number ten ranking.

Dolidze’s Next Fight: Dominick Reyes

Macy Chiasson

By finishing a former title challenger in Mayra Bueno Silva, Macy Chiasson has marked herself as a potential future one. After beating two ranked opponents in a row, she is now right in line to compete for gold with one more good win. The logical opponent for her is Ketlen Vieira.

With Julianna Pena and Kayla Harrison next in line for the belt, Vieira is a good opponent for an eliminator. She is coming off of a win over Pannie Kianzad, as was Chiasson going into the fight with Silva. With an 8-3 record in the UFC, the exact same as Macy, Ketlen has been putting in solid work in the promotion for a while.

Chiasson’s Next Fight: Ketlen Vieira

Ian Machado Garry

After eight straight wins to start his UFC career, the 15-0 Irishman Ian Garry is on the path to a UFC title. Shavkat Rakhmonov is rumored to be fighting former champion Kamaru Usman next, leaving Colby Covington, Jack Della Maddalena, and Gilbert Burns in the top end of the division.

Covington is highest rated at number four, has had beef with UFC 303 winner Garry in the past, and is a strong wrestler, the archetype of fighter that Ian has not fought yet. To fight a well-rounded champion like Leon Edwards — or potentially Belal Muhammad or Shavkat Rakhmonov — he will have to show he can defend takedowns.

Garry’s Next Fight: Colby Covington