Matchmaker Monday following UFC 249

Matchmaker Monday following UFC 249 – What’s next?

It’s been awhile since the we had a Matchmaker Monday. In fact it’s been nearly two months. Nonetheless after UFC 249 it’s nice knowing that the UFC is back up and running.

The UFC couldn’t have returned in a better fashion. Not only were all eyes on them on Saturday at UFC 249, but the card was absolutely stacked. The best part was all the fights delivered.

While the card was filled with amazing fights from top to bottom, we’ll just take a list at some off the men involved in the biggest fights of the evening on this very special Matchmaker Monday.

Justin Gaethje
Result: defeated Tony Ferguson by fifth-round TKO for the interim lightweight championship in UFC 249 main event
Next: Khabib Nurmagomedov

There’s a new boogeyman at 155 pounds and his name is Justin Gaethje. What else can you say about the man after his performance on Saturday night? Not only did he look fantastic, but now we know that when Gaethje is calm and calculated, he is even more dangerous than he ever was before.

Gaethje has now earned the right to fight Nurmagomedov. He is the interim champion and he just took out a guy on a 12-fight winning streak. Gaethje and Nurmagomedov is going to be a blockbuster fight this Fall. Can’t wait to see it.

Tony Ferguson
Result: lost to Justin Gaethje by fifth-round TKO
Next: Charles Oliveira

If your heart doesn’t break for Tony Ferguson then chances are you’re cruel and have ice in your veins. Ferguson should have gotten an undisputed title fight a long time ago and yet he’s never gotten one.

Realistically, Ferguson may still be the one with the best shot to give Nurmagomedov a loss. Yes, I know Gaethje is a killer and no, I’m not doubting Gaethje’s ability to do it. However, stylistically Ferguson is probably Nurmagomedov’s toughest challenge. Unfortunately, we may never see it.

I’d love to see Ferguson vs. Conor McGregor, but I don’t see McGregor wanting to risk anything at lightweight given he’s probably going to get a title fight at some point in the very near feature.

In the meantime, Ferguson needs to heal up after the beating he took from head to toe. Once he’s ready to return, there’s a hungry Charles Oliveira waiting for a big opportunity that’ll be waiting for him.

Henry Cejudo
Result: defended his bantamweight title by defeating Dominick Cruz by second-round TKO
Next: retirement

I don’t think anyone saw this coming. I’ve even seen people saying they don’t believe Cejudo is actually retiring. Personally, I take Cejudo for his word. For the shake of the argument, we need to take his retirement announcement at face value, which is he’s retiring.

Whether you like him or not, Cejudo had a great UFC career. Enjoy retirement Henry!

Dominick Cruz
Result: lost to Henry Cejudo by second-round TKO
Next: Jose Aldo

There was a time that people wanted to see this fight. Now might be the only chance of seeing these two legends square off.

I know Cruz is angry right now about his fight with Cejudo due to the stoppage and personally I think he has a reason to be complaining about the referees decision. Here’s the only thing with the fight though. He was clearly losing. With that being said he’s going to have to work his way back into title contention in one of the UFC’s most talented divisions.

Francis Ngannou
Result: knocked out Jairzinho Rozenstuik in first-round
Next: rematch with Derrick Lewis

Hear me out. Should Ngannou get a title fight? Yes. Will he? Not for awhile.

It appears Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier will complete the trilogy and DC will retire after the fight no matter what the outcome is.

Here’s the problem with that for Ngannou. God only knows when the Miocic-D.C. fight is going to take place. Ball is in Ngannou’s court here. He can sit out and wait and nobody would blame him. Again, God only knows how long he’s going to have to sit out for.

In the meantime, I think Ngannou and Lewis owe it to the fans to rematch. Their first fight was a disappointment to the highest of levels. I respect both guys and anyone that steps into a cage for that matter. But let’s be real here. Fans are still mad over how boring that fight was. Give the fans the show they were expecting.

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