Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the fight capital of the world last Saturday night (April 23, 2016) for the UFC 197: "Jones vs. Saint Preux" pay-per-view (PPV) event at the MGM Grand, featuring the return of Jon Jones as he battled Ovince St. Preux, and Demetrious Johnson defending his Flyweight title against Henry Cejudo.
The main event may have been a bit underwhelming, but Jon Jones got the job done in a much needed tune-up fight to earn the interim 205-pound belt (highlights here). Although "Bones" didn't get the finish, he completely dominated St. Preux from the opening bell, and will now unify the titles against Daniel Cormier next.
In the co-main event, Demetrious Johnson once again staked his claim as the best fighter on the planet by completely annihilating former Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo. "Mighty Mouse" savagely beat down Cejudo in the clinch, leading to an epic first round knockout for the champ.
With that quick recap of last night's marquee bouts, it's now time to play matchmaker with our "Next Matches To Make."
Winner: Jon Jones
Who Should He Fight Next: Daniel Cormier
This one is obvious.
Earning the interim UFC Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 197, Jon Jones will unify the titles and rematch Daniel Cormier next.
The only question is, will it happen at UFC 200?
With Conor McGregor officially pulled from the scheduled main event against Nate Diaz, Jones and Cormier would serve perfectly as the new feature bout.
Although with "Bones" leaving the Octagon last night limping, injury concerns linger.
Still, Jones was adamant in the post-fight press conference (replay here) that he would be able to throw down at UFC 200 if Cormier is healthy.
Winner: Demetrious Johnson
Who Should He Fight Next: Dominick Cruz or Urijah Faber
What else does Demetrious Johnson have to prove in the Flyweight division?
Eight straight title defenses. Five Finishes. Pound-for-pound No. 1.
After wiping the floor with formerly undefeated Olympic Gold medalist Henry Cejudo, "Mighty Mouse" has completely cleaned out the 125-pound division.
Johnson has owned the Flyweight title since the inception of the division in 2012, and he has nothing to do but return to the Bantamweight division and fight for another piece of UFC hardware.
With UFC struggling to market the Flyweight champ, a super fight could be the push Johnson needs.
If Dominick Cruz defeats Urijah Faber at UFC 199, it could potentially set up an incredible rematch in late 2016.
Winner: Edson Barboza
Who Should He Fight Next: Michael Chiesa
Edson Barboza has been a perennial contender in UFC's Lightweight division since 2010, but the savvy Brazilian striker could seemingly never get over the hump in important fights.
Losses to Donald Cerrone, Tony Ferguson, Jamie Varner, and Michael Johnson have all thwarted Barboza from becoming a legitimate title challenger.
At UFC 197, the Brazilian's fortunes changed.
Defeating the former UFC Lightweight champ at his own game, Barboza completely dominated Anthony Pettis on the feet in a spectacular and tactical performance.
Considering Barboza has fought most of the top contenders in the Lightweight division, and with certain prospective opponents already scheduled for a fight, a bout with Michael Chiesa next seems likely.
Chiesa is coming off a great victory over Beneil Dariush last weekend, so a fight between the two men would have major title implications.
Winner: Robert Whittaker
Who Should He Fight Next: Michael Bisping
Five straight victories -- four in the Middleweight division -- have earned Robert Whittaker the right to fight a top five contender next.
While I'm sure Michael Bisping had other plans following a victory over Anderson Silva, a fight with Whittaker makes sense at this point.
For Whittaker, a fight with Bisping could validate his status as a legitimate title contender, and potentially be his ticket to a shot at UFC gold.
For Bisping, if the brash Brit can shut down a young rising star, it will be hard for UFC brass to not give him a title shot next.
Winner: Yair Rodriguez
Who Should He Fight Next: Dennis Bermudez
Yair Rodriguez knows how to make a statement.
In the biggest fight of his career, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran made the most of his opportunity to open up the PPV by pulling off a jaw-dropping "Knockout of the Year" candidate against Andre Fili.
The 23-year old is arguably one of the most exciting fighters on the roster today, and deserves a massive push from UFC brass.
"El Pantera" could be a star in Mexico, and I'd like to see him begin his ascent up the Featherweight rankings prior to a potential headline fight in Mexico later this year or in early 2017.
If UFC brass is ready to give Rodriguez a big step-up in competition, I'd like to see him battle Dennis Bermudez next.