UFC 194: Aldo vs. McGregor – Fights to make for main card fighters

UFC 194 was the event every mixed martial arts fan on planet Earth was waiting for going into the string of three events this…

By: Nick Baldwin | 7 years ago
UFC 194: Aldo vs. McGregor – Fights to make for main card fighters
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

UFC 194 was the event every mixed martial arts fan on planet Earth was waiting for going into the string of three events this past weekend — and it lived up to expectations in every way possible. In the main event, Conor McGregor dethroned longtime featherweight champion Jose Aldo in 13 seconds. Luke Rockhold became the new middleweight titleholder in the co-main event of the evening when he stopped Chris Weidman.

With that, it’s now time to take over the role of UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby and match up some of the competing fighters with potential future opponents.

Conor McGregor: Who the featherweight champ fights next all depends on whether or not he moves up to the lightweight division, which is a very good possibility. Firstly, if he remains at featherweight, a rematch would make sense but isn’t too likely. I’m not a fan of automatic rematches, but other former dominant champs including Anderson Silva and Renan Barao got automatic rematches, who’s to say Aldo doesn’t deserve one? With that being said, I do believe Frankie Edgar would get the title shot if McGregor stays at featherweight. If the weight cut is becoming too much for the Irishman, a superfight with the winner of Rafael dos Anjos vs. Donald Cerrone (UFC on FOX 17) would likely happen.

Jose Aldo: Aldo will probably take some time off so it’s difficult to even predict what’s next for him. As I stated above, a rematch with McGregor makes sense but I don’t think it’ll occur. With the Brazilian’s teammate, Barao, moving up to 145-pounds, I would not be shocked if Aldo moves up as well. There isn’t really a clear option for Aldo’s next fight at this point.

Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero: A fight between Rockhold and Romero isn’t official, but I’m very confident it’ll happen. It was pretty clear that the 185-pound champ after UFC 194 would fight the winner of Jacare vs. Romero. Rockhold stopped Weidman to become the new titleholder and Romero won a split over Souza. Romero is the only realistic option for Rockhold’s first title defense, and I’m very excited for this matchup.

Chris Weidman and Ronaldo Souza: Similar to the situation above, the two losers of the pivotal middleweight bouts should square off against each other next and that so happens to be Weidman and Souza. This fight isn’t a given like Rockhold vs. Romero, but I think it’s the best option for both fighters.

Demian Maia: Maia has proved over the past year or so that he still should be considered a welterweight contender. He definitely deserves a step up in competition and a fight with Tyron Woodley makes sense, but “The Chosen One” is supposedly getting the next title shot against the winner of Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit. There aren’t too many options for the veteran but a fight I’d like to see is Maia vs. Matt Brown.

Gunnar Nelson: Nelson hasn’t put everything together and improve enough to beat ranked competition and develop a solid enough winning streak to be considered a contender. He’ll have to go back to the drawing board after this dominant loss to Maia and once again, will get a step down in competition. A fight with Thiago Alves makes sense to me.

Max Holloway: Some people wanted to see a rematch with Holloway and Charles Oliveira, because their fight this past summer ended prematurely, with the Brazilian suffering an injury early in the first round. Even though he deserves one in my opinion, I doubt Holloway will get a shot at UFC gold next. Oliveira faces Myles Jury next week and I think the Hawaiian will probably fight the winner of that fight.

Jeremy Stephens: Stephens is dangerous in each and every fight but can’t beat top competition. I think a fight with Clay Guida could serve as a very exciting matchup.

Urijah Faber: It won’t take much, if any, convincing from the UFC when they ask Faber to fight T.J. Dillashaw if he retains his title next month. And hey, we all know the story is there. If Dominick Cruz re-captures the bantamweight belt, however, that’d be a thrilling matchup that would cap off a fantastic trilogy between the two.

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Nick Baldwin
Nick Baldwin

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