clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Matches to Make: Who should be next for UFC 166 main card winners?

In the wake of UFC 166, we fantasize about our chances of becoming an official matchmaker, attempting to decide who the event’s main card winners should fight next. Check it out below!

Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

UFC 166: "Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3" is in the books, going down as an instant classic from to to bottom.

The return trip to Houston, Texas, for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) proved to be one of the best fight cards from top-to-bottom in the sport's history. And it will be remembered for several reasons.

That being said, main card competitors Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier, Gilbert Melendez, Gabriel Gonzaga and John Dodson all picked up victories on Saturday night (Oct. 19, 2013) at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, which means it's time to anticipate their next moves in their respective weight classes.

Indeed, after every fight card, mixed martial arts (MMA) fans are already thinking about what the future holds for the stars of the show. With another night of action-packed fights, let's peer into our crystal ball and predict possible matchmaking scenarios.

Here we go, from bottom to top:

Winner: John Dodson
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Ian McCall vs. Scott Jorgensen at UFC on Fox 9
Why They Should Fight: Ian McCall and Scott Jorgensen will not be afraid to stand in front of Dodson and exchange punches, which is a dangerous thing to do based on "The Magician" having three out of his last four wins come by stoppage because of strikes.

With the Flyweight division being as thin as it is (living proof is Joseph Benavidez getting a second title shot in little more than one year, it would be easy for Dodson to be put in another championship fight, even if he had the best chance of finishing Demetrious Johnson out of his peers.

Either McCall or Jorgensen against Dodson would be an entertaining fight, and why not have either of the two slug it out with "The Magician" to see who should truly be considered as the next big threat to either Johnson or Benavidez?

Winner: Gabriel Gonzaga
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem at UFC 169
Why They Should Fight: Without jumping the gun on Gonzaga, he has looked great in his last two bouts, scoring two first-round knockouts. However, after Gonzaga lost his chance of becoming champion by being outmatched by Randy Couture at UFC 74, he lost to superior opposition like Junior dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum, Shane Carwin and Travis Browne, unable to gain momentum by beating a top dog.

Instead of having him put in a fight against another Heavyweight who is having success as of late, a fight between either Frank Mir or Alistair Overeem would be a good way of finding out if he can topple a fellow veteran. And if he does that with ease, then we get more of a clear indication of what Gonzaga can do. He has trouble with up-and-comers, so why not have him face another Heavyweight who has had incredible success in the past to see if he can continue his winning streak?

Winner: Gilbert Melendez
Who He Should Fight Next: Winner of Anthony Pettis vs. Josh Thomson at UFC on Fox 9
Why They Should Fight: Although we would not mind a second fight wit Diego Sanchez, which was one of the best fights in the history of the Octagon, Melendez did enough to win that fight and he should move on to greener pastures.

Melendez may have been in the "Fight of the Year" with Sanchez, and despite getting dropped, he showed the reason he is one of the best Lightweight fighters in the world with his consistently impressive performances.

Although another title shot for Melendez may be too soon for some, "El Nino" almost did enough to get the nod against Ben Henderson, and by being a great lightweight champion in Strikeforce, he needs to be considered as a title threat all the time.

Imagine the fight Melendez could have with Anthony Pettis -- and we all know that a fourth fight with Josh Thomson would be as epic as their past three encounters. Melendez is one of the most exciting fighters on the planet, capable of becoming UFC champion.

Winner: Daniel Cormier
Who He Should Fight Next: Alexander Gustafsson
Why They Should Fight: Simply put, why not have a title eliminator to see who earns their shot against Jon Jones, or Glover Teixeira should he win?

Like Cormier said, he needs to do some work in the Light Heavyweight division before he gets a title shot against the "guy on his mind," and he would secure it if he can beat the last man to fight Jones and give him the toughest fight of his career, Gustafsson. With the rematch off the cards between "Bones" and "The Mauler", this is the fight to make.

"The Mauler" was anything but a loser in his UFC 165 main event loss, and this would be as good as a test gets to see if Cormier can hang in the division, look impressive, and if he really deserves the title shot he has been longing for.

You can say Cormier could fight Phil Davis, or even the winner of Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen; however, he has been incredibly dominant at Heavyweight, and if it was not for his main training partner, Cain Velasquez, he would probably chase a title in that division, despite the guys being bigger which was one of his reasons. There would be no time to waste with Gustafsson -- either he earns it or he needs to work harder in his new division.

Winner: Cain Velasquez
Who He Should Fight Next: Fabricio Werdum
Why They Should Fight: This is more about Fabricio Werdum being next in line than it is about Cain Velasquez winning the biggest fight of his career.

Dana White confirmed Werdum as the next in line in his post-event interview with Joe Rogan on the pay-per-view (PPV) broadcast, and now the reign of Velasquez actually commences, despite having defended his title three times, which is a UFC Heavyweight record. Velasquez has now written off dos Santos for a while, and will look to defend his title against the many fresh faces that await him.

And the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace is one of them.

This would be a great stylistic fight, as Velasquez would possess the striking advantage and although we have seen Werdum struggle with wrestlers before, his ju-jitsu -- not to mention his grappling -- has improved over the years and he is the easily the most dangerous submission fighter in the division at the moment.

Velasquez can enjoy the massive win, but he knows he will have his work cut out for him yet again against "Vai Cavalo."

We already know how good Velasquez is in the cage -- can he outdo himself against Werdum?

For our complete UFC 166: "Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3" results recap click here.