UFC 187 was the most memorable event of 2015 by far. Out of the five main card bouts, only one went to the judge’s scorecards and even that was an action packed scrap. The card included; An exciting flyweight contest, an almost upset to an upset, a Muay Thai clinic, Weidman silencing his critics again, and Cormier capitalizing on his truly blessed second chance at UFC gold.
Daniel Cormier (16-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) filled in for Jon Jones in the main event against Anthony Johnson when he was stripped of his light heavyweight belt due to legal issues. Cormier won the vacant 205 pound title on short notice against a man who everyone thought was going to knock his head off his shoulders, Anthony Johnson (19-5 MMA, 10-5 UFC). Props to Cormier for taking that huge right hand in round one.
In the co-main event we had the long awaited bout between middleweight champion Chris Weidman (13-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) and contender/legend Vitor Belfort (24-11 MMA, 13-7 UFC). We saw Vitor swarm Chris early in the first round with a huge flurry, temporarily disabling Chris from throwing any shots. Weidman regained his focus and took the fight to the ground where everyone knew the fight would end. Chris weathered the early storm and came out the victor and still the middleweight champion of the UFC.
Donald Cerrone (28-6 MMA, 15-3 UFC), Andrei Arlovski (24-10 MMA, 13-4 UFC) and Joseph Benavidez (22-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC) also had very strong performances in their fights at UFC 187.
After every UFC card, fans wonder who the winners will be squaring off against next. Let’s take a look into the future and play UFC matchmaker for the winners of the main card at UFC 187.
Should fight: John Dodson
Why they should fight: Benavidez proved to us again that he can beat anybody the UFC puts in front of him not named Demetrious Johnson. Benavidez was able to outwork the very tough and powerful John Moraga for a unanimous decision victory.
We know, and Benavidez knows, that he is a top contender in the flyweight division. His two losses to current champion Demetrious Johnson puts him in a very awkward position in the flyweight hierarchy.
Benavidez’ best option is to continue defeating everyone the UFC puts in front of him until they don’t have any other chance but to give him another shot at Demetrious Johnson or hope that Demetrious loses his belt.
One fighter Benavidez has yet to come across in the UFC’s flyweight division is John Dodson (17-6 MMA, 6-1 UFC). Dodson is also looking for another shot at Demetrious Johnson. Dodson is the only man I can think of that has an actual shot at beating Johnson because of his combination of speed and power. If Benavidez can beat his next top opponent, then the UFC might have no choice but to give him another crack at UFC flyweight gold.
Should fight: Winner of Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum at UFC 188
Why they should fight: A couple of years ago, if I told you that one day Andrei Arlovski will be fighting for UFC gold again you would have probably laughed and maybe asked if I was okay. Now after his victory against Travis Browne, the once laughable idea of Arlovski being a title contender is a serious matter.
The rebirth of Andrei Arlovski’s UFC career is nothing short of incredible considering at one time he was on a 4 fight losing streak where 3 out of those 4 fights he lost via KO/TKO. Arlovski’s resurgence is truly remarkable.
Now on a 3 fight win streak in the UFC, Arlovski’s win over Travis Browne and the wins and losses of the other heavyweight contenders have magically placed Arlovski as the next reasonable opponent for the UFC heavyweight Champion.
The 36 year old, Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski (24-10 MMA, 13-4 UFC) should be the man next in line for the winner of Cain Velasquez (13-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC) vs. Fabricio Werdum (19-5 MMA, 7-2 UFC).
Should fight: Rafael Dos Anjos
Why they should fight: Donald Cerrone has been on an absolute tear for the past two years. He’s on an 8 fight win streak in the heavily talented lightweight division. In his remarkable run he has defeated notable names such as; Edson Barboza, Eddie Alvarez and Benson Henderson.
Cerrone was originally scheduled to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) at UFC 187 but he had pulled out of the fight due to injury. He was replaced by John Makdessi and it was clear that no matter who the UFC put in front of him, he was going to go in there and bang it out just like any other Donald Cerrone fight.
Cerrone might have lost to current champion Rafael Dos Anjos (24-7 MMA, 13-5 UFC) back in 2013 but he is certainly on a different level now. His 8 fight win streak is definitely no fluke, he finished 5 out of those 8 fighters in dramatic fashion.
Dos Anjos will have to defend his lightweight belt for the first time against a man he once defeated with ease. This time around, Rafael Dos Anjos may be fighting the same man but he’s fighting a different fighter.
Should fight: Luke Rockhold
Why they should fight: Chris Weidman, once again, silenced his critics after a first round stoppage over Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort. It’s time for everyone to start believing in Chris Weidman and join the team.
After what seemed to be the beginning of the end for Weidman as he was being swarmed by a flurry from Belfort, he overcame adversity and took the fight into his own hands when he took him to the ground. A little ground and pound from the All-American and it was all over.
Now with 3 very notable Brazilians under his belt (Silva, Machida, Belfort) it’s time for Weidman to face some American muscle. Luke Rockhold is coming off of a very dominant second round submission of former title contender Lyoto Machida. Rockhold finished him in two rounds whereas Weidman couldn’t in five. But like we say, styles make fights.
Rockhold could give Weidman his toughest challenge yet, Rockhold is a HUGE middleweight that possesses great power in his hands and exceptional grappling skills. This should be Weidman’s first time facing a fellow american in over 4 years. It’s time for Weidman to be strictly called “The Hunter” instead of “The Brazilian Hunter”.
Should fight: Ryan Bader
Why they should fight: Is it just me or has Daniel Cormier’s ego shot through the roof after winning the belt? First he calls Jon Jones out of wherever he is to get his s–t together and secondly, at the press conference he requested that he gets the easiest fight in the division while pointing at Ryan Bader.
Daniel Cormier and Ryan Bader (19-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) were originally scheduled to fight June 6th at UFC Fight Night 68 but Cormier was the chosen man to fill in for the UFC 187 main event. The verbal tussle at the UFC 187 press conference turned a not so interesting fight into an interesting fight. Whether it was intentional or not, it was the perfect marketing tool executed by Daniel Cormier.
Ryan Bader might have not been on your list of light heavyweight title contenders but with the way the division is looking, and with a 4 fight win streak against respectable names, there is no one else to turn to while Jon Jones is gone.
Ryan Bader is an exceptional fighter but he is known for not being able to execute when given an opportunity like this. I am more interested in Bader’s performance in the fight than anything else that could be leading to this fight.