UFC 182 Aftermath – What’s Next for the Winners/Losers?
With the first UFC event of 2015 in the books, we saw two undefeated fighters in Daniel Cormier and Myles Jury taste defeat, highlight reel TKO victories by Cody Garbrandt and Paul Felder, and Jon Jones remain arguably one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of this decade.
There are many questions as to what path these competitors will take next on their journeys in this sport. Let’s start from the top with the king.
Jon Jones / Daniel Cormier
Jones (20-1) simply outclassed Cormier and controlled the majority of this fight, something we have never seen anyone do to Cormier. This win for Jones was very impressive. Think about it, Cormier was 15-0 going into this fight, and his fight resume was legit. Jon Jones right now sits on the throne in the mma world. He can easily be called the current “Fedor Emelianenko” or “Rickson Gracie” (I know this will piss off many old school mma fans, but the numbers do not lie). Jones is only 27 and has wiped out the light heavyweight division, there are some left to challenge him, the best bet is a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson, who needs to get through Anthony Johnson in a few weeks. You could bet your next paycheck that Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson will rematch if “The Mauler” gets through Johnson (which the bookies are thinking so with the odds).
Cormier has a very impressive resume in mma. Her has defeated two former heavyweight champions in Frank Mir and Josh Barnett, and dismantled former Pride middleweight and light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson. With that said, “DC” is long in the tooth at 36 years old, and this may have been his best chance at UFC gold. Don’t get me wrong, the opportunity is still there if he fights two more times and wins, and say, Jones loses to Gustafsson, then Gustafsson can defend the title against Cormier. I think Cormier should fight the winner of Phil Davis (#5 ranked LHW) versus Ryan Bader (#7 ranked LHW), who fight in three weeks in Sweden.
Donald Cerrone / Myles Jury
Cerrone won his sixth straight fight after losing to the next lightweight title contender in Rafael Dos Anjos, yet, Cerrone was still pissed off. Why? Because he felt that the fight was not as entertaining as it was hyped to be. He was so mad, he threw a flurry of kicks to the legs of a downed Jury in the closing of their fight. Cerrone wants to fight again immediately, requesting a spot on the February 14 UFC card. Going into this fight Cerrone was ranked number four in the UFC lightweight rankings. With Pettis and Dos Anjos fighting next at UFC 185 in Texas, I think Cerrone should get a crack at either Khabib Nurmagomedov (if ready health-wise), or Gilbert Melendez, with the winner getting a title shot.
Myles Jury was another perfect 15-0 fighter like Cormier; and like DC, that perfect streak came to an end (ah the UFC, where undefeated records come to die). There is no shame in Jury losing to a top level opponent in Cerrone. Jury is still a top 10 lightweight and he will bounce back stronger as he learns more about himself from this loss. Benson Henderson and Eddie Alvarez are fighting in two weeks, and either fighter would make for an interesting match up next for Jury. All three (Jury, Henderson, Alvarez) have value in their name, winning against one another would help the victor climb that ladder to greatness.
Brad Tavares / Nate Marquardt
Tavares needed this win bad, and he got it. After starting 12-1 in his mma career, Tavares would lose his last two fights to Yoel Romero and Tim Boetsch, dropping to #15 in the UFC middleweight ranks. Tavares needs to build off of this win over Marquardt over higher ranked opponents, and there are 14 ahead of him. Costas Phillipou had to pull out of his fight in two weeks due to injury. Upon return, I think Tavares vs Phillipou would be a fun fight to watch.
Nate Marquardt is a great fighter who is looking like he is nearing the end of his career. This was his fourth loss in his last five UFC fights, not usually a favorable way to stay on the roster. If Marquardt is brought back, a fight versus Josh Burkman would be good (who also lost on this card, and could set up a “loser leaves” match).
Kyoji Horiguchi / Louis Gaudinot
Horiguchi remains perfect in the UFC at 4-0, and improves overall to 14-1. Horiguchi was ranked 11th in the flyweight division, and with this win there is no question that he is now at least in the top 10. Tim Elliot (#10) faces Zach Makovsky (#10) in February, Horiguchi should get the winner of that fight.
Louis Gaudinot falls to 1-3 (1 NC) in the UFC. Gaudinot desperately needs a win to remain in the UFC. A fight with Wilson Reis or perhaps Chico Camus, fighters who are just entering the top 15 and on their way up.
Hector Lombard / Josh Burkman
Lombard is now riding a three-fight win streak, and coming into this fight he was the sixth ranked middleweight. There has been talk of interest that he faces Rory MacDonald next for the number one contender spot, with the winner getting a crack at the champion Robbie Lawler or Johny Hendricks, whoever wins that fight.
Burkman is always a game competitor and fan favorite. I think there are plenty of matches suitable for him. As mentioned earlier, Nate Marquardt would be a good fight, a battle between two seasoned vets.
Paul Felder / Danny Castillo
Felder opened 2015 with a knockout of the year candidate. “The Irish Dragon” improves to 2-0 in the UFC and remains perfect overall at 9-0. Felder is trying to make a name in the UFC and deserves to be further tested. A fight against Jorge Masvidal would be entertaining.
Danny Castillo has dropped two of his last three fights, with his only win coming over currently released Charlie Brenneman. Castillo might have a tough task ahead of him to prove his stay, maybe a match against Leandro Silva.
Cody Garbrandt / Marcus Brimage
Cody Garbrandt made a great debut into the UFC with his impressive TKO win over Marcus Brimage. Garbrandt is now 6-0, finishing all of his opponents by TKO / KO. I had the opportunity to hear alot about Garbrandt in the local shows out in my area and he is legit. Garbrandt has very dangerous striking, and now training with Team Alpha Male, his game is going to be on another level. Keep an eye open for this star. Garbrandt vs. Jeremy Stephens would be pure fireworks (Dana if you are reading this, please consider!).
Brimage lost three of four now (it’s funny how this sport works, when you’re hot, you’re on fire, when you’re cold, you’re on the way out the door). Brimage has the tools and the team to bounce back from this loss. A fight on a lower card could help him bounce back. A match against Hacran Dias would make sense, since Dias last fought two weeks ago and defeated Elkins, erasing back-to-back losses.
Shawn Jordan / Jared Cannonier
Jordan was the third fighter on this card to have a TKO victory (three TKO stops, eight decisions). Jordan has now won back-to-back with TKO / KO. A fight against Josh Copeland would be a good stepping stone for Jordan, and a second shot for Copeland to get a win in the UFC.
Cannonier came into this fight 7-0, and tastes bitter defeat. A fight against wrestler Anthony Hamilton would be a good test for both men.
Evan Dunham / Rodrigo Damm
Nice win for Dunham and much needed to stop a three-fight losing skid. Dunham is still dangerous and a test for anyone in the featherweight class. Dunham vs. 9-0 Renato Carneiro would be a slick fight on the mats.
Rodrigo Damm is in trouble now dropping three straight. He should fight another fighter who just lost three straight two weeks ago in Finnish fighter Tom Niinimaki. This would be pure pressure and a sure shot that one would break the losing streak.
Omari Akhmedov / Mats Nilsson
Akhmedov improves to 2-1 in the UFC, 13-2 overall. Akhmedov vs. Yan Cabral would be a good match for both fighters.
Nillson drops to 0-2 in the UFC. If he is still in the UFC, a match against Zak Cummings
Marion Reneau / Alexis Dufresne
Reneau makes a nice debut winning the opening match of this card of Dufresne. There are many possibilities with the ladies’ division. Reneau vs. Amanda Nunes could work out.
Dufresene falls to 0-2 in the UFC. When Leslie Smith’s ear heals up and she is cleared, these two should square off.