Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the hurt business last night (Sat., Nov. 4, 2017) for UFC 217, which took place inside Madison Square Garden in New York City. The massive pay-per-view (PPV) event featured a Middleweight title fight that saw Georges St-Pierre stun Michael Bisping to capture the 185-pound strap in a history-making win (recap). In the co-main event, Cody Garbrandt lost his Bantamweight strap after he was knocked out by former training partner-turned rival, T.J. Dillashaw.
Winner: Georges St-Pierre
Who He Should Fight Next: Robert Whittaker
This one is a no-brainer, as the winner knew a title unification bout against “The Reaper” was in order after UFC 217. Whittaker has been sitting on the sidelines nursing a bum knee, but the fearsome striker should be ready to bounce back in the first quarter of 2018, paving the way for another interesting title fight that will see “Rush” attempt to defend his newly-won title to become the undisputed champion. It will be a tough out, as Whittaker has proven he can take out the best-of-the best by any means necessary. That said, “Rush” showed no signs of ring rust after four-year layoff, so Whittaker will have his hands more than full if he wants to become the undisputed champion.
Winner: T.J. Dillashaw
Who He Should Fight Next: Dominick Cruz vs. Jimmie Rivera Winner
Now that he’s back at the top of the 135-pound mountain, Dillashaw can sit back and see how he upcoming collision between former division kingpin Dominick Cruz and Jimmie Rivera plays out at UFC 219 on Dec. 30, 2017. The winner of that matchup will likely earn a shot at the title, which means “Viper” could be facing “The Dominator” for a second time after losing his title to him at UFC Fight Night 81 back in 2016, given him the chance to settle the score. If not, then he will be facing a fresh face that hasn’t tasted defeat in nine years. Either fight is intriguing, so we all win either way. Sure, Dillashaw desperately wants to end Demetrious Johnson's’ reign at 125-pounds, but as we’ve seen in the past, trying to convince “Mighty Mouse” to take that fight proves to be a challenge.
Winner: Rose Namajunas
Who She Should Fight Next: Wait and see
In her last three successful title defense, Joana Jedrzejczyk has defeated Claudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jessica Andrade, who all just happen to be the next thre fighters behind “JJ” on the rankings list. None of those women are deserving of another title fight at the moment against newly-crowned champion Namajunas given the fact that they don’t have a steady streak going. That said, there are a couple of intriguing matchups in the division coming up soon which could very will determine who Rose’s next opponent will be. Cynthia Calvillo will face former champion Carla Esparza at UFC 219, and should the undefeated (6-0, 3-0 UFC) fighter earn a win, she could find herself in a title fight sooner than expected.
Also, Tecia Torres has been on a roll, winning her last two fights against Bec Rawlings and Juliana Lima. Up next for “Tiny Tornado” is a showdown against Michelle Waterson at UFC 218 on December 2, 2017. Should she prove victorious, she could sneak her way into a title fight against one of the most dominant champions in UFC’s history.
Winner: Stephen Thompson
Who He Should Fight Next: Colby Covington
I know last week I stated that “Chaos” should fight the winner of Mike Perry and Santiago Ponzinibbio, but that was before the rankings were out and before Colby jumped up all the way no No. 3. Personally, I could care less about rankings, but now that he is up there, Colby won’t want to face a lower-ranked foe. In fact, he has his eyes set on the title. But, Robbie Lawler or Rafael dos Anjos will get the next shot, which means it opens up the door for a bout between Thompson and Covington. And it will have a great plot with it, too, as Colby is one of Masvidal’s best friends and training partners, so the revenge angle is there.
Winner: Paulo Costa
Who He Should Fight Next: Brad Tavares
With is dominant victory over Johny Hendricks, Paulo collected the biggest win of his MMA career, and remained undefeated (11-0, 3-0 UFC) to boot. While he likely won’t sneak his way into the top 15 just yet, he will garner a top 15 opponent next in my opinion. He took the time to call out Derek Brunson, but Derek isn’t interested one bit -- and is even convinced the Brazilian is on the “juice.” That’s why I’d like to see him face off against Tavares (No. 14), who has been on a roll as of late, winning three straight. The matchup will by an intriguing standup war and will allow the victor to make a splash and up their stock in a very-crowded division.
For complete UFC 217 results and coverage click here.