Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back at it again yesterday (Sat., Sept. 7, 2019) as UFC 242 went down from inside The Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. In the main event of the evening, Khabib Nurmagomedov retained his Lightweight title after submitting Dustin Poirier in the third round (see it). In the co-headlining act, Paul Felder got revenge on Edson Barboza by edging out a split-decision victory (recap).
Winner: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Who He Should Fight Next: Tony Ferguson
Sure, Conor McGregor is trying his best to sneak into a rematch, but this isn’t even up for debate, as “El Cucuy” has more than earned his shot at trying to dethrone “The Eagle.” McGregor has the star power and pull to make things happen, but at the end of the day, even UFC president Dana White would be unable to look at himself in the mirror if he once again passed over Ferguson in favor of “Notorious.”
This fight between Ferguson and Khabib has been booked four times before, and each time it has fallen though for one reason or another. White was once adamant that he would never try to book it again, but at this point he has no choice. At the end of the day, Ferguson is the most-deserving at 155 pounds and just because it has been unable to come to fruition in the past, doesn’t mean fifth time won’t be a charm.
Winner: Paul Felder
Who He Should Fight Next: Wait and see
There are several interesting fights at Lightweight coming up soon, in particular Al Iaquinta vs. Dan Hooker at UFC 243 and Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje next weekend (Sat., Sept. 14, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 158. We know he won’t fight his good friend “Cowboy,” so if Gaethje wins, that’s the fight I want to see next.
If Iaquinta can take out Hooker, then he can be a good fight for “The Irish Dragon,” as well. All three of those men like to bang, so regardless if Felder gets matched up against Gaethje or Iaquinta, there are sure-to-be fireworks. If neither one of them prove victorious, then Felder is going to have to look elsewhere for a fight.
Winner: Curtis Blaydes
Who He Should Fight Next: Junior dos Santos only if ...
The only fight that makes sense for Blaydes at the moment is a showdown against “JDS,” as the Brazilian bomber is ranked one spot ahead of him at No. 3. Francis Ngannou is at No. 2 and he is line for a shot at the title, while Daniel Cormier has yet to decide what his combat future will be.
The only problem is “Cigano” is inked to fight Alexander Volkov at the upcoming UFC Fight Night 163 event on Nov. 9, 2019, in Moscow, Russia. That said, should Volkov pull off the upset over “JDS,” then there is no reason to deny the Russian big man chance to face Blaydes.
Winner: Islam Makhachev
Who He Should Fight Next: Alexander Hernandez
That is now six straight wins for Makhachev, who moves to 7-1 inside the Octagon and 18-1 for his mixed marital arts (MMA) career. Makhachev — a teammate of Khabib’s — is starting to make some noise, which means his opponents will only get better and tougher. A fight against Hernandez — who is ranked two spots ahead of Islam at No. 13 — seems logical. Hernandez recently got back on the winning track by defeating Francisco Trinaldo this year, a good bounce back win after having his eight-fight win streak snapped by Donald Cerrone.
It’s an interesting clash of styles, but it should tell us if Makhachev is ready to make the big leap. It will also let us know if Hernandez has the chops to win the big fights when they matter. Sure, Makhachev doesn’t have the big name yet, but he has the skills and if he keeps it up, he could climb the ranks slowly but surely like his old pal Khabib.
Winner: Carlos Diego Ferreira
Who He Should Fight Next: Drakkar Klose
Ferreira earned his fifth straight win after taking out Mairbek Taisumov in a three-round war. A fight against Klose seems fitting, as he is on a three-fight win streak and 5-1 overall inside the Octagon. He most recently defeated Christos Giagos at UFC 241. Both men are trying desperately to break into the Top 15, a tough feat to accomplish seeing as how the weight class is stacked to the brim with seasoned veterans and up-and-coming contenders. A fight between these two men will determine who gets one step closer to getting an official ranking and who has to start from scratch.
For complete UFC 242 results and coverage click here.