UFC 242 is all over and we had a few days to let the fights sink in. Now that it’s all over we immediately ask what’s next for the fighters?
Khabib Nurmagomedov believes he is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Dustin Poirier is considering retirement at the ago of 30, Paul Felder wants a top five fighter, and Curtis Blaydes looks to become a heavyweight contender.
Here’s Matchmaker Monday where we find out the potential next fight for these fighters.
Khabib Nurmagomedov, lightweight champion
Result: defeated Dustin Poirier via third-round submission
Next: Tony Ferguson
Is the fifth time the charm? I hope so. It should be. Ferguson is on a 12-fight win streak and he’s won an interim championship along the way. “El Cucuy” wants the fight. Nurmagomedov wants the fight. Let’s make it happen. We saw the Conor McGregor fight once and it wasn’t close. No reason for those two to run it back. Georges St-Pierre has expressed interested in fighting Nurmagomedov, but that likely won’t happened. If Nurmagomedov beats Ferguson then a super fight with St-Pierre is likely right around the corner.
Dustin Poirier, lightweight
Result: lost to Nurmagomedov via third-round submission
Next: Winner of Al Iaquinta vs. Dan Hooker on October 5th
The former interim champion is arguably the best fighter in the division whose name isn’t Khabib Nurmagomedov. He beat a list of great fighters and former champions to win the interim championship, before coming up short in the unification bout. Following Saturday’s fight, Poirier expressed interest in retirement. I don’t think that happens. If he wins another fight or two there’s a possibility of him getting another crack at the belt. The winner of the Iaquinta and Hooker fight will put themselves right up there in title contention, but will likely they’ll need another win to secure a title fight so match up against Poirier makes sense. I’d love to see the Poirier and McGregor rematch, but I don’t see McGregor taking that fight.
Paul Felder, lightweight
Result: defeated Edson Barboza via split decision
Next: Loser of Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje on September, 14th
First off, I think it should be Edson Barboza in this position. I thought he won that fight. Nonetheless, Felder wants a top five fighter. He’ll come close to that. I think a fight with the loser of this weekend’s main event will be the next move for the “Irish Dragon.” Felder asked for the Gaethje fight in the past and the two had words for each other in March on the ESPN set following Gaethje’s win over Barboza. Since there’s a history between the two look out for that match up if Gaethje’s comes up short this weekend.
Curtis Blaydes, heavyweight
Result: defeated Shamil Abdurakhimov via second-round TKO
Next: winner of Junior dos Santos vs. Alexander Volkov on Nov. 9
Blaydes is off to a great start in his UFC career going 7-2 with four finishes. Both losses are at the hands of Francis Ngannou. Right now both JDS and Volkov are behind Blaydes in the rankings, but that can change following their fight in November. The heavyweight division is kind of up in the air at the moment as nobody knows if we’ll see a rubber match between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier, or if Ngannou gets a rematch against Miocic. Blaydes said following his fight on Saturday, that he’s at a point in his career where he’d be willing to wait rather than take a fight just to fight. If JDS wins that’s definitely a fight Blaydes would want given dos Santos is a former champion.