The historic UFC 205 in New York City is over, and it was everything fans anticipated it would be. From back-and forth wars to devastating finishes, the Madison Square Garden debut of the UFC was a huge success. Now I put on my matchmaking shorts and show you the fights that should be next for the winners and losers of UFC 205.
Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Newly crowned lightweight champion Conor McGregor made easy work of Eddie Alvarez putting him away in the second round. There is no doubt that McGregor is indeed a special talent in the UFC, but he has a long way to go before proving he is the best lightweight in the world. His first fight should be against Khabib Nurmagomedov, who despite being hurt early, also made easy work of his opponent. While McGregor has a more flashy fan favorite style Nurmagomedov is also a special talent as he unstoppable wrestling, relentless attack, and unrelenting cardio make for a daunting task for anybody in the division. It is the perfect fight to make now as McGregor reigned supreme in the main event while Nurmagomedov called him out immediately after his fight mocking him and his country of Ireland.
It is a fascinating contest that makes sense and fans will undoubtedly be interested. Conor McGregor holds wins over some of the best featherweight fighters in the world and his lightning speed and knockout power has proved difficult to overcome. Khabib Nurmagomedov is undefeated at 24-0, and has huge dominating wins over Rafael Dos Anjos and Michael Johnson. It would be a classic striker vs wrestler contest, but this is a dynamic knockout artist taking on a unstoppable wrestling machine in what would be one of the most compelling lightweight title contest in a long time.
Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson
It was a back-and-forth fight with many exciting moments and near finishes. Thompson appeared to have the striking advantage most anticipated he would, while Woodley’s wrestling and knockout power certainly made a difference in the fight. In the end the fight was a majority draw with two judges scoring the fight 47-47 and one 48-47 in favor of the champion. It is clear that a rematch is needed. Despite my hopes to see Demian Maia in a welterweight title bout it appears that just isn’t meant to be. Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson both has much to work on now that they have seen each others game and know what works and what doesn’t. It will be a fun rematch that is still hard to predict after 25 minutes of action.
Yoel Romero vs. Michael Bisping
Yoel Romero is on a huge win streak. I mean a very very huge win streak after a knockout win over Chris Weidman at the historic UFC 205 makes him 8-0 inside the UFC with wins over Dereck Brunson, Brad Tavares, Tim Kennedy, Lyoto Machida, and Jacare Souza. It would be preposterous to ignore this streak and reward anybody else with a title opportunity.
Yoel Romero’s next fight should be with UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping. Michael Bisping is on the best run of his career with wins over Anderson Silva and Luke Rockhold. Now the middleweight champ will face his toughest test to date in Yoel Romero. Bisping has a great aggressive attack with strong fundamental boxing, takedown defense, and great cardio. Romero is a freak athlete with dynamic wrestling, vicious knockout power, and overwhelming speed. Its a compelling matchup that needs to be next for the division moving forward.
Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Jéssica Andrade
It’s difficult to find much bad to say about UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk, who has faced little trouble in her seven UFC appearances. Joanna made a big statement defeating Karolina Kowalkiewicz by unanimous decision at UFC 205 and now moves on to the next challenge. The next fight for the champion should be top contender Jéssica Andrade. While it would only be Andrande’s third fight since moving to the division her dominant first round thrashing of Jessica Penne was an amazing display of her knockout ability and her first round submission victory over Joanne Calderwood shows that she can get the job done no matter where the fight takes place. This would be one of the most interesting fight the champion has ever had. Joanna’s strength lies in her technical Muay Thai game, cardio, and the ability to outstrike her opponents by a wide margin. Andrande on the other hand keeps a great pace herself and has shown amazing finishing ability as a strawweight fighter. Joanna has looked near unbeatable in the fights but Andrande is a very real threat and this fight would be a fantastic battle for the title.
Raquel Pennington vs. Cat Zingano
Picking up the biggest win of the UFC career at UFC 205, Raquel Pennington is now a full fledged contender in the women’s bantamweight division. She should now take on another big task as she works her way toward a title shot. Her next fight should be against former title challenger Cat Zingano. A well rounded fighter with devastating power and a all around explosive game, Cat Zingano is a tough fight for any who stand across from her. Unfortunately for Zingano she has come up short in her last two fights losing to then champion Ronda Rousey and top contender Julianna Peña. Pennington is very skilled fighter with a simple but effective game that has put her one a four-fight win streak over top bantamweight contenders. This would be a compelling fight that means a lot for both fighters. A win could see Pennington in the conversation for a title shot while a loss will knock her down. A win for Zingano will put her back in top position while a loss would put her on a devastating three-fight skid.
Frankie Edgar vs. Doo Ho Choi/Cub Swanson
When you talk about fighters who have heart it’s difficult to not think of Frankie Edgar. Once again at UFC 205 the former lightweight champion has shown he has it in spades as he survived a near second round knockout to emerge victorious over Jermey Stephens to remain in the title picture at 145. Now the two-time featherweight title challenger should take on the winner of big UFC 206 featherweight contest between Doo Ho Choi and Cub Swanson.
Rising star Doo Ho Choi is a scary contender in the division facing his first real step up in competition at UFC 206. Defeating his first three UFC opponents in under five minutes the South Korean featherweight has shown vast knockout ability and accuracy as he moves forward in the division. Cub Swanson has proven a top contender for many years rarely losing fights outside of the top ten of the division. His fast hands and well rounded game make him and tough fight for everybody and he is always ready to go. Edgar would face a big task taking on Choi, who has shown the ability to end fights with one strike. He would face a familiar foe in Swanson, who he defeated in 2014 by submission. Either way it would be an interesting contest and a win puts Edgar even closer to a third title fight while a win for Choi or Swanson moves them towards their first.
Tim Boetsch vs. Nate Marquardt
You can never count out Tim Boetsch and he has proven it once again knocking out the number 14 middleweight and moving himself into the top 15 rankings. Boetsch hasn’t had the greatest run of success in the UFC but two TKO wins since moving back down to the middleweight division makes him a top fighter in the division once again. His next fight should be with long-time UFC middleweight Nate Marquardt. Despite 44 UFC fights between the two middleweight competitors they have never stood across the cage from each other before. It is high time to change that fact. Marquardt is one of the most well rounded fighters in the division with 16 submission wins and 11 knockout wins he is never one you want to count out of a fight. Recently knocking out Tamdan McCrory with a headkick “The Great” is looking to go on a run in the UFC for the first time since 2011. Boetsch is also a well rounded fighter despite 50% of his wins coming by way of knockout he has shown solid wrestling ability and a difficult opponent to submit. It would be a very intriguing contest between two vets who want to make another big run in the UFC.
Vicente Luque vs. Ryan LaFlare
Making a huge statement with a big first round knockout at UFC 205, Vicente Luque is now on a impressive four-fight finish streak. Luque is proving himself a well rounded finisher with many ways to end a fight after his last four fights, ending two of them by way of submission and the other two by knockout. Now looking like a legit prospect for the welterweight division Luque should take on Ryan LaFlare who is currently 5-1 in the UFC with all six fights ending in a unanimous decision. LaFlare has looked like a possible contender in the UFC’s welterweight division as his only loss comes to top 5 fighter Demian Maia and his wins have been very clear. It will be an interesting fight as Luque looks to continue his streak of finishes and LaFlair looks to go on another wins streak and make a surge toward title contention.
Jim Miller vs. Abel Trujillo
One of the best lightweight fighters in UFC history Jim Miller is once again on a big win streak after a unanimous decision victory over Thiago Alves at UFC 205. Miller went on an impressive 13-3 (1) run in the UFC that spanned from 2008 to 2014 before suffering a disappointing 1-4 run. Now on a three-fight win streak Jim Miller is looking to make another surge towards the title and his next fight should be against Abel Trujillo. Well rounded lightweight power puncher Abel Trujillo is currently on a three-fight win streak himself and his only loss in his last six fights coming to top three lightweight contender Tony Ferguson. This would be a great fight between two dark horses in the lightweight division. Miller is a submission expert with a effective striking game and solid wrestling skills. Trujillo is a power puncher with solid wrestling and finishing ability. A win puts one of these men on a four-fight win streak and will certainly see them competing with a top 15 lightweight next.
Liz Carmouche vs. Bethe Correia
One half of the first ever women’s UFC fight and now one half of the first ever UFC fight in Madison Square Garden, Liz Carmouche is now on a two-fight win streak after a big victory over Katlyn Chookagian. Carmouche may not be the most technical or offensive minded fighter in the world but one thing she doesn’t lack is strength. People forget just how powerful Carmouche can really be and she gave us a fair reminder in the first two rounds of the UFC 205 bout with huge slams and a dominating clench game. Now with the win Carmouche should take on one-time title challenger Bethe Correia, who bounced back from a two-fight skid with a split-decision win over Jessica Eye. This would be a fun fight with many interesting aspects as Carmouche brings her explosive power game and Correia brings her well rounded attack to the octagon. The winner will continue their winning ways and is likely to receive a nice step up in competition.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Johnson
It was a very rough night for lightweights Eddie Alvarez and Michael Johnson at UFC 205. Former champion Eddie Alvarez was dropped three times in the first would and flattened in the second giving Conor McGregor no issues in the process. Michael Johnson was battered into the mat by number one lightweight Khabib Nurmegomedov and despite hurting him early took one of the worst beating I have ever witnessed in an MMA fight at this level.
No better option than to have Alvarez and Johnson take the cage against each other and look to regain some confidence and work their way back into title contention. This is also a fun fight between two guys with similar styles. Alvarez is a solid wrestler with boxing skills and knockout power. Johnson a good wrestler as well who has lightning fast hands and big knockout power in both. It would be a good battle in a fight where somebody will most likely get finished. A win for either man would prove big here while a loss wouldn’t hurt too much in the ranking, but will likely hurt the confidence a great deal.
Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold
Its been a tough two fights for Chris Weidman, who became the first man to defeat the greatest MMA fighter of all time Anderson Silva inside the octagon. Losing his title to Luke Rockhold at UFC 194 ending his 13-fight undefeated run. Now at UFC 205 Weidman suffered his second career loss to Yoel Romero getting flattened by a flying knee in the third round. Weidman’s next fight should be a rematch with dynamic striker Luke Rockhold. Former champion Luke Rockhold lost his first title defense to Michael Bisping at UFC 199 and will be looking to bounce back with a big win.
This is a rematch many wanted to see take place after the first fight and now the opportunity is here to have the two top middleweights battle once again. Both men are extremely well rounded and have much to prove in this fight. A win is big for both while a loss would be a big hit to their career as they try to regain the middleweight championship.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Cláudia Gadelha
It was a valiant effort by the Polish Princess as she was able to hang tough and even become the first to hurt the dominant strawweight champion, but in the end fell short of picking up the win at UFC 205. Karolina Kowalkiewicz came pretty close to pulling of a gigantic upset but not as close as Claudia Gadelha who she should fight next. Karolina is a technical striker with a masterful clench game and is very good at doing the little intricate things to win fights. Gadelha is a powerhouse with great wrestling and a outstanding top game. This would be a very compelling fight as both are very hard to beat and both have only loss to Joanna Jędrzejczyk over the course of their careers. Karolina is a tough competitor with the ability to beat anybody who stand across from her. Her cardio is outstanding and her well rounded striking and clench combination has proven difficult to overcome. Gadelha is a beast with powerful takedowns, huge punching power, and solid submission skills. It would be a fun interesting fight and a win would go a long way in getting them back into the title picture.
Jeremy Stephens vs. BJ Penn
So close to pulling off a huge upset in the featherweight division Jeremy Stephens has nothing to hold his head about after suffering a unanimous decision loss to former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Stephens is a vicious knockout artist with some of the best knockout wins in UFC history and in the second round he almost had another highlight knockout but couldn’t finish the job. Now Stephens should take on legendary lightweight champion BJ Penn who made the move to featherweight suffering his third loss to Frankie Edgar. Despite being top fighters in the lightweight division around the same era Penn and Stephens have never met inside the octagon and this would be an interesting fight at featherweight. Stephens is a power puncher with a solid ground game and the ability to end any fight. Penn is a great boxer with a legendary jiu-jitsu game and outstanding takedown defense. This would be a fun fight that makes since as both look to bounce back from losses to Edgar.
Thiago Alves vs. Albert Tumenov
Making the move to lightweight was a risk for Thiago Alves that didn’t pan out. The former welterweight title challenger missed weight by a great deal and lost a unanimous decision in what was a rather lackluster performance for Alves. Plagued by injuries the welterweight knockout artist has been unable to fight as frequently as desired and now on a two-fight skid Alves is in a tough situation. Alves next fight should be at welterweight and it should be a fight against fellow knockout artist Albert Tumenov, who is also suffering from a two-fight losing skid and will be looking to bounce back. Tumenov looked like a title contender after a razor close win over Lorenz Larkin but was unable to capitalize on the big win and dropped his next two fights by submission. Alves made a success 2015 return picking up a TKO win over Jordan Mein but was unable to follow up with a win losing to Carlos Condit and now Jim Miller. It would be an interesting fight between two powerful strikers in need of a win.