Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) put on a massively anticipated mixed martial arts (MMA) extravaganza last night (Sat., May 23, 2015), and the UFC 187 pay-per-view (PPV) delivered the action fight fans were hoping to see live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
According to UFC President Dana White, UFC 187 is why people pay to watch MMA, and he could not be more accurate.
In the main event of the evening, Daniel Cormier outlasted and outworked Anthony Johnson before finally submitting "Rumble" in the third round of their light heavyweight title fight. With Jon Jones embattled in legal troubles, "DC" took the reigns as the new 205-pound kingpin.
In the co-main event, Chris Weidman came through on his promise, punishing Vitor Belfort with ground and pound en route to a (technical) knockout victory in just under three minutes (highlights here). After "The Phenom" went full berserker on "The All American," the Brazilian had nothing left in the gas tank, and Weidman made him pay.
With that quick recap of the night's marquee bouts, its now time to play matchmaker with our "Next Matches To Make."
Winner: Daniel Cormier
Who Should He Fight Next: Jon Jones, but it will be Ryan Bader
Jon Jones is the champion, Daniel Cormier is the titleholder.
This is the reality MMA fans must come to live with, and considering "Bones" could be facing up to three years in prison for his involvement in a hit-and-run accident last month in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who knows when we will see the former kingpin back inside the Octagon?
"DC" did his best last night to stir up the crowd as he unleashed an outstanding promo in his post-fight interview, telling Jones to "get your shit together. I'm waiting for you."
Unfortunately, UFC brass can't put the 205-pound division on hold for Jones, so Cormier will likely have to defend his "undisputed" title at least once before rematching the stripped champ.
The next man in line?
His former UFC Fight Night 68 dance partner Ryan Bader.
"Darth" was peeved that Cormier was selected by UFC brass to fight for the title on short notice against Anthony Johnson instead of him, but after confronting the newly minted champ at the UFC 187 post-fight press conference (watch the altercation here), he all but assured himself a title fight against the Olympian.
Winner: Chris Weidman
Who Should He Fight Next: Luke Rockhold
Sorry Ronaldo Souza, but it is Luke Rockhold's time.
Look, it isn't "Jacare's" fault that he was forced to dominate Chris Camozzi again at UFC on FOX 15, but UFC brass simply can not give the former Strikeforce champ a title shot coming off a victory over a -- for lack of a better term -- scrub.
On that very same night Rockhold dominated a former champion in Lyoto Machida, and fight fans still want to argue that Souza is more deserving of the title shot?
It isn't an easy decision by any means, but let's take a gander at their short list of victories inside the Octagon.
"Jacare" has defeated Yushin Okami, Francis Carmont, Gegard Mousasi, and Chris Camozzi twice, while Rockhold has taken out Costa Philippou, Tim Boetsch, Michael Bisping, and Lyoto Machida all via finish in four consecutive wins.
Who would you give the title shot to based off those wins?
Also, we can't forget that Rockhold holds a victory over Souza way back in 2011 under the Strikeforce banner, but in my opinion, that should mean little in UFC brass' final decision as to who fights Weidman next.
I guess we just have to wait and see.
Winner: Donald Cerrone
Who Should He Fight Next: Rafael Dos Anjos
It is time for "Cowboy" to fight for UFC gold.
Eight straight victories is nothing to scoff at, and no fighter in UFC history has ever won eight straight fights without earning a title shot -- although Neil Magny is definitely on course to break that record.
Cerrone absolutely dominated John Makdessi at UFC 187, and while stylistically the fight was grossly in his favor, long time fans of MMA know that absolutely nothing is guaranteed, and a victory is impressive regardless of the circumstances.
For once, "Cowboy" was the one fighting with a full training camp, and even with injuries, he looked damn impressive in Vegas.
Cerrone deserves to try and exact his revenge on the newly minted UFC champ Rafael Dos Anjos, as "RDA" is the last man to defeat "Cowboy."
Winner: Andrei Arlovski
Who Should He Fight Next: Stipe Miocic
It is nearly impossible to predict Andrei Arlovski's next fight without witnessing what goes down at UFC 188 when the titles are unified between Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum.
With Travis Browne out of the picture following his hellacious knockout loss to "The Pitbull" at UFC 187 (highlights here), Arlovski could be one victory away from a shot at UFC gold.
If Werdum defeats Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos will get the title shot. If the champ retains his title by taking out the Brazilian, Dos Santos will probably square off against Alistair Overeem.
That leaves Arlovski and Stipe Miocic to battle it out for the No. 1 contender spot later this year.
Winner: Joseph Benavidez
Who Should He Fight Next: Henry Cejudo or Chico Camus
Had Joseph Benavidez finished John Moraga at UFC 187, he may have forced UFC brass into a corner to give him a title shot, but that is obviously easier said than done.
With John Dodson likely fighting Demetrious Johnson for the title next, "Beefcake" will have to fight another top contender in order to get a third crack at the belt.
With Henry Cejudo quickly climbing up the rankings and set to face off against Chico Camus at UFC 188, the winner of that fight could very well find themselves taking on the Team Alpha Male product next.
UFC officials even gave fight fans a sneak peek at a possible Benavidez vs Cejudo showdown last night!
Either way, the No. 2-ranked flyweight needs a finish his next time out if he wants to fight for the belt again.
That's a wrap!
For complete results from UFC 187: "Johnson vs. Cormier," including play-by-play updates, click here.