UFC 214 was a successful event; no injuries hindered the card and most fights lived up to the hype. Now that the smoke has cleared and everything is settled I will make the matches I believe should be next for the winners and losers of UFC 214.
Jon Jones vs. Volkan Oezdemir
It was a long road back for the former dominant UFC light heavyweight champion, but at UFC 214 Jon Jones once again showed why he is one of the greatest fighters of all time. While Daniel Cormier was able to make the fight competitive in the first two rounds and it appeared as if he was on his way to an incredible upset. However, Jon Jones had other plans stopping the light heavyweight champion by technical knockout after landing a devastating head kick in the third round. Now back on top of the iron throne, Jon Jones should take on surging contender Volkan Oezdemir.
Also securing a big victory at UFC 214, Swiss light heavyweight contender put a stamp on his UFC run finishing the next expected title contender Jimi Manuwa in just 42 seconds. While I did deeply consider Alexander Gustafsson for this slot and still believe he has a solid claim to it, I find it very difficult to deny Volkan Oezdemir who stepped up on short notice to defeat Ovince Saint Preux before rattling off quick finishes over Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa in less than six months. Now as the kickboxing specialist rides high on a five- fight win streak, “Cousin” Oezdemir should be next in line to face his toughest opposition in Jon Jones.
This is a fight that might not stand out to your casual MMA fan. However, if you have seen the last two performances by Volkan Oezdemir you have likely learned your lesson counting this man out. This contest is certainly one Jon Jones is to be heavily favored in, but Oezdemir is not a stranger to lopsided odds. Undoubtedly Jon Jones brings a significant advantage in grappling and likely can out kickbox his opponent too. That said if you look at how much Jon Jones allowed himself to be hit by a much shorter Daniel Cormier, and consider the fact that Volkan Oezdemir likely only needs one shot to end just about any competition, then you’re definitely interested in this matchup.
Tyron Woodley vs. George St Pierre
After another successful but less-than-stellar title defense for current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 214, T-Wood might not be on Dana White’s nice list, but at the end of the day, Tyron Woodley was able to neutralize Demian Maia in a way most welterweight contenders have been unable to do. Now proving once again that he can shut down the game of a great deal of welterweight contenders, it is time Woodley tasks on another master at shutting down game plans in George St. Pierre (GSP). This fight makes perfect sense and with no clear fighter next in line for a shot it is the perfect time while the division sorts itself out.
The most dominant welterweight fighter in mixed martial arts history, GSP announced that he will be returning from a three-year hiatus from the sport. Retiring with the welterweight gold around his waist, it only makes sense to give him an opportunity to prove that he is still the best fighter at the 170-pound weight limit. George St Pierre retired on a controversial decision victory over Johny Hendricks and now as he looks to make a return to the fight game huge will attempt to make a more prominent last memory.
This is a great contest between two fighters who have proven masters at shutting down one’s game plan and securing the victory. At UFC 214 Woodley showed phenomenal takedown defense which is a skill that will make a fight with GSP very interesting should he be able to keep the fight standing. Both men are incredible athletic specimens with much to prove making it the best possible matchup for an interesting GSP return.
Cris Cyborg vs. Megan Anderson
While it was an inspired performance by Invicta bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger, it wasn’t enough to ward off the dominance of Cris Cyborg at UFC 214. The ultra aggressive assault from Cyborg never let up as she eventually secured the technical knockout victory finally realizing her dream of becoming a UFC champion. Who should Cyborg fight next? That answer is obvious, the fighter she was expected to face at UFC 214, Invicta featherweight champ Megan Anderson. This is a fight fans seemed to really get behind as Anderson doesn’t give up as much size as the typical Cyborg opponent.
Currently, on a dominating four-fight win streak that saw her secure the Invicta featherweight title, Megan Anderson has a lot to prove as she heads into her UFC debut. Most expect Cyborg will have the ability to run through Anderson despite the size similarities, others believe somebody in the same weight range could pull it off without a shadow of a doubt. This is an intriguing matchup that will be able to answer some of these questions about Cyborgs dominant run.
Robbie Lawler vs. Demian Maia
It was a razor close decision win for former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in an epic battle as he went toe-to-toe with top contender Donald Cerrone at UFC 214. The fight was everything fans anticipated as neither man backed down from the fight and both continued to be aggressive throughout the contest. Now that Lawler has bounced back from his title dropping knockout loss to Tyron Woodley the devastating knockout artist should take on world class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner Demian Maia in his next fight.
An astounding seven-fight win streak saw submission specialist Demian Maia earn his title shot in a stacked welterweight division. Unfortunately, at UFC 214, Maia was unable to realize his dream as he dropped a unanimous decision to Tyron Woodley. His inability to take Woodley to the mat was displayed for five rounds and he was unable to use his world class submission game as he was able to do to win the seven fights beforehand. Now as he looks to bounce back from his first loss since 2014 the São Paulo, Brazil native should. be looking to secure his biggest career win over Robbie Lawler.
This fight would be an intriguing clash of styles that is more than likely to end in a finish. Should this fight take place on the feet Robbie Lawler will not hesitate to pull the trigger and look to end the night early for Maia. If Maia does manage to drag this fight to the mat he will likely end up on the back of Robbie Lawler where he will finish the fight. This is a fight between two top 5 welterweights looking to secure another shot at beating the current champion.
Ricardo Lamas vs. Chan Sung Jung
It didn’t take much for Ricardo Lamas to halt the hype train of Jason Knight ending his much younger opponent within the first round of their bout. Now with back-to-back victories after the big win at UFC 214, Ricardo Lamas should receive a contender bout with former title challenger Chan Sung Jung. This fight is not only the most sensible to make for these featherweight contenders, but it’s also one of the most exciting to make in the division.
After three-fight win streak that saw him challenge then-champion Jose Aldo for the featherweight title, Chan Sung Jung took a two-year hiatus from the sport due to mandatory military service in South Korea. At UFC Fight Night 104 “The Korean Zombie” returned to action and he did it in devastating fashion as he folded Dennis Bermudez with an uppercut a little under three minutes into the first round. Ricardo Lamas is currently 9-3 under the UFC banner and has only lost to the elite of the division more recently sparking a two-fight win streak dominating both Charles Oliveira and Jason Knight in his last two fights. This would be a fantastic battle that could serve as a title eliminator in the featherweight division.
Aljamain Sterling vs. John Dodson
After a dominant unanimous decision win over former bantamweight champion Renan Barao, Aljamain Sterling is now back on track as he works his way back to contender-ship. Now after successfully bouncing back from his first two career losses with a two-fight win streak Aljamain Sterling should take on John Dodson in his next fight as he looks to extend his streak to three and secure his biggest career win.
A two-time flyweight title challenger, John Dodson made a return to the bantamweight division after an impressive 5-2 run at 125. Now 2-1 since returning to bantamweight Dodson recently picked up a lackluster unanimous decision win over Eddie Wineland at UFC Fight Night 108. Now looking to prove himself a worthy title contender in the 135-pound weight class, Dodson will be looking to spark another win streak as a bantamweight.
Brian Ortega vs. Darren Elkins
In a battle of undefeated prospects looking to make their way to contender-ship, Brian Ortega emerged victorious at UFC 214 defeating Renato Moicano by submission in the final frame of the fight. Now undefeated in twelve career performances Brian Ortega should take on longtime UFC veteran Darren Elkins next.
Currently, on a five-fight win streak, Darren Elkins secured upset wins in his last two fights beating Mirsad Bektić and Dennis Bermudez. Now the 17-fight UFC veteran will look to extend his streak to six and he should do that by attempting to halt the hype train behind the undefeated Brian Ortega. This is a fun fight between two well-rounded fight finishers looking to make a statement in the division.
Daniel Cormier vs. Jimi Manuwa
It was an inspired performance by Daniel Cormier as he managed to make the fight a toss up through two rounds. Unfortunately for the champion, a head kick changed the course of the contest and Cormier lost his title to Jon Jones by TKO at UFC 214. Now as he looks to once again bounce back from a loss to Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier should take on Jimi Manuwa who also had his win streak snapped at UFC 214. The two were briefly linked to rumors of a title match between the two before their losses at UFC 214. Now as they look to bounce back their mild rivalry should continue here.
A two-fight win streak that saw Jimi Manuwa pick up huge knockout wins over Ovince Saint Preux and Corey Anderson put Manuwa in position for a title eliminator against Volkan Oezdemir. Unfortunately for the “Poster Boy”, he was unable to pull off the victory losing by knockout in the first round. Now as he hopes to show that he is a very real contender in the light heavyweight division he should face his toughest test to date in former UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
This fight makes perfect sense now. Both have had their war of words in the past and both are coming off of bad knockout losses at UFC 214. This rivalry has been mild but will likely pick up should they be matched up and it would be the perfect opportunity for one of these two men to get right back into the title picture.
Tonya Evinger vs. Liz Carmouche
It was an inspiring performance by Tonya Evinger as she did well to survive the aggressive assault of Cris Cyborg at UFC 214. She eventually fell in the third round but the Invicta bantamweight champion has nothing to hold her head about after that performance. Now as she is likely to return to her more natural weight of 135 pounds, Evinger should take on longtime UFC veteran Liz Carmouche in her next bout.
One-half of the first women’s UFC bout, Liz Carmouche has six UFC bouts under her belt and is currently on a two-fight win streak more recently defeating Katlyn Chookagian at the huge UFC 205 event. This would be a very interesting fight between Tonya Evinger and Liz Carmouche. Evinger had a tough UFC debut but “Triple Threat” is defeated in her last eleven bantamweight fights and will be looking to prove herself a true contender in the UFC. Carmouche is a powerful grappler with heavy ground and pound and she will be looking to make it three wins in a row for the first time since 2010.
Donald Cerrone vs. Gunnar Nelson
There is nothing for Donald Cerrone to hold his head down about after dropping razor close unanimous decision to former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in what was an outstanding three round battle. Now after proving he can compete with the elite of the division Cerrone should take on high-level grappler Gunnar Nelson next. Despite the admirable performance at UFC 214, the loss puts “Cowboy” on a two fight losing skid for the first time in his 42-fight career and now he will be looking to avoid a dreaded three-fight losing streak.
Proven top welterweight contender Gunnar Nelson recently had his two-fight win streak snapped at UFC Fight Night 113, suffering his first career knockout loss to the hands of Santiago Ponzinibbio. Now the Icelandic welterweight should face Muay Thai specialist Donald Cerrone as they both try to bounce back from recent losses. Nelsons unique striking style and outstanding submission prowess made him a top contender within the 170-pound weight class and 3-3 in his last six fights “Gunni” will look want his biggest career win over a guy like Donald Cerrone.
This is a fantastic contest as both men excel in all aspects of mixed martial arts. Donald Cerrone is a notable striker with devastating kicks and finishing ability. That said Cerrone has won the majority of his fights by submission showing an uncanny ability to end fights quickly once it hits the mat. Gunnar Nelson is dubbed as a submission specialist for good reason winning 75% of his fights by submission. However, Nelson has shown great striking skills of late as he thoroughly out struck both Albert Tumenov and Alan Jouban before beating them by submission. This is a fun fight for the fans and a meaningful one for the welterweight division.
Jason Knight vs. Doo Ho Choi
So far in a division full of top prospects and potential future champions, the great young talent has been unable to buy a win over the tough veterans at the top. That didn’t change at UFC 214 as Jason Knight suffered his first TKO loss to the hands of Ricardo Lamas. Now after having his phenomenal four-fight win streak snapped “The Kid” will be looking to bounce back in a big way and his next fight should be fellow prospect Doo Ho Choi.
South Korean born featherweight Doo Ho Choi is easily one of the most impressive prospects to ever grace the featherweight division. He is a devastating knockout artist with finishing ability in both hands. After first round knockout wins in his first three UFC fights Choi took on top contender and long-time UFC veteran Cub Swanson. Unfortunately, the fight didn’t go his way as the two battled toe-to-toe for three rounds in an epic war that was considered by many the fight of the year.
This fight is undoubtedly one of the funniest fights that can be made and many fans are already clamoring for it as the two prospects look to bounce back from a tough loss. Doo Ho Choi is a striking with heavy hands who always looks for the finish while Jason Knight is a pave pushing grappler who looks to break his opponents and win by submission. This would be a fantastic test for both fighters and would really show which guy is ready to make his name as a contender.
Renato Moicano vs. Mirsad Bektić
Another standout featherweight prospect, Renato Moicano picked up his biggest career win in a split decision over Jeremy Stephens. Unfortunately for the once-undefeated fighter, he was unable to capitalize on his momentum losing a back-and-forth battle by submission in the final frame of the fight. Now as he hopes to bounce back from his lone career loss he should take on Mirsad Bektić in his next fight.
A surging prospect, Mirsad Bektić was undefeated through his first eleven fights and despite dominating Darren Elkins at UFC 209 he suffered his first career loss as he got knocked out in the third and final round. Now looking to re-announce himself to the welterweight division Bektić will need a big win in his next fight. A battle with Muay Thai and BJJ ace Renato Moicano will provide the perfect opportunity for both fighters to show the division where they stand.