UFC 246 went down last Saturday night (Jan. 18, 2020) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, with Conor McGregor making his triumphant return to the Octagon by finishing Donald Cerrone just 40 seconds into the fight (see it again here). In the co-main event, Holly Holm made it two-for-two against Raquel Pennington, while Carlos Diego Ferreira picked up his biggest win to date with a submission over former UFC Lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis.
Winner: Conor McGregor
Who He Should Fight Next: Justin Gaethje or Jorge Masvidal
Look, McGregor’s win was huge for the plans he set out for himself in 2020, but a Lightweight title fight should not be in the cards for “Notorious” straight away after scoring his first win in mixed martial (MMA) in three years. Do I want to see Khabib vs. McGregor 2? Absolutely! But the next title fight should go to Justin Gaethje, who has won three straight via devastating knockout, including his last win over Donald Cerrone. I get that that a rematch between “Notorious” and “The Eagle” is big business, and UFC wants to capitalize on it before either of those two men lose, but passing over “The Highlight” is wrong on so many levels. The man has earned his title shot against the winner of Khabib and Tony Ferguson at UFC 249. In the meantime, McGregor can face Jorge Masvidal since he feels so comfortable at Welterweight. It baffles me when I hear Dana White say he doesn’t like that fight since he feels Masvidal is too big for McGregor, when “Gamebred” and Conor hold wins over both Nate Diaz and “Cowboy” at 170 pounds. It just doesn’t make sense. If that isn’t up White’s alley, then book McGregor vs Gaethje in a No. 1 contender elimination fight. That said, both of those scenarios are highly unlikely to happen.
Winner: Holly Holm
Who She Should Face Next: Aspen Ladd vs. Julianna Pena winner
Holm got back on the winner’s podium after defeating Raquel Pennington for the second time in “Sin City.” She is in search of yet another title fight, but she will need at least one more win to get there. That’s because Amanda Nunes holds both straps, and prior to defeating “Rocky,” Holm got smoked by “Lioness.” That said, if “The Preacher's Daughter” wants to get back to the big dance she will have to beat the winner of Ladd vs. Pena, which is set to go down at UFC on ESPN 8 on March 28, 2020.
Winner: Aleksei Oleinik
Who He Should Face Next: Blagoy Ivanov
Oleinik broke his two-fight skid with an impressive win over Maurice Greene via, you guessed it, submission (armbar). As he sits at the No. 12 spot in the official UFC rankings, Oleinik needs a few more wins to crack the Top 10. I’d like to see him face off against Ivanov next. Blagoy is coming off a tough loss to Derrick Lewis, so he is also in search of a big win to get his momentum back. The two big men are only separated by one spot in the rankings, so it makes sense for both to hook ‘em up to see who gets closer to cream of the crop competition at 265 pounds.
Winner: Brian Kelleher
Who He Should Fight Next: Manny Bermudez
Kelleher snapped his two-fight skid with a highly-impressive win over Ode Osbourne via first round submission. A fight against Bermudez seems fitting. Sure, Bermudez is on a two-fight losing streak, but Kelleher was on one himself recently, so there’s no time to start getting picky, especially when he’s trying to crack the Top 15. Both men have a lot of ground to cover if they want to get into the rankings, so why not start by trying to take out each other? I just don’t see anyone else that makes sense for either of them at the moment.
Winner: Carlos Diego Ferreira
Who He Should Face Next: Islam Makhachev
Ferreira earned his sixth straight win with an impressive submission over “Showtime,” which was his biggest win to date. Up next, I’d love to personally see a showdown between Ferreria and Islam Makhachev. Like Ferreira, Makhachev is also on a six-fight win streak and has been on fire since 2015. He barley cracked the Top 15 not too long ago, somewhere Ferreria is desperately trying to get to. It’s a great stylistic match up, as Makhachev is an accomplished Sambo practitioner, while Ferrerira’s jiu-jitsu is next level. This is a pick ‘em fight for me, and one that would be a sure-fire crowd pleaser.
For complete UFC 246: “McGregor vs. Cerrone” results and play-by-play, click HERE!