Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC Fight Night 167 blew the roof off Santa Ana Star Center last Sat. night (Feb. 15, 2020) in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Michel Pereira, who let a sure-fire victory slip away after striking Diego Sanchez with an illegal knee, one that ultimately led to a disqualification loss (see it again here). And Nathaniel Wood, who suffered the first loss of his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career after getting knocked out by John Dodson (highlights).
But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?
Coming into his headlining bout against Jan Blachowicz, Anderson was just one win away from earning his first shot at the promotion’s Light Heavyweight title. He already had a little bit of beef built up with current division kingpin, Jon Jones, so it was the final hurdle before securing his bid to dethrone “Bones.”
Furthermore, Anderson already had a win over Blachowicz, so his confidence was at an all-time high. Unfortunately, Blachowicz had his own championship aspirations, as well as revenge on his mind. Prior to their bout, the Polish bomber predicted a knockout victory, and he delivered on that promise, sleeping Anderson with a sneaky and powerful right hand. “Overtime” quickly dropped, making the follow-up hammerfist nothing more than a shot for good measure, as Anderson was already down for the count.
The loss snapped Anderson’s four-fight win streak and burst his championship bubble for the time being. Despite the setback, Anderson took the loss in stride, vowing to return with a vengeance.
”A great coach once told me, ‘You have five minutes to sulk and then it’s on to the next one!’” he wrote in a post-fight statement. “We live and we learn, back to the drawing board. I appreciate each and every fan and hater! A loss has never stopped me and it ain’t stopping me now. See ya’ll at the top!”
There is a bright side for Anderson, as Jones has pretty much cleaned out the 205-pound division and has already defeated all five fighters ranked in front of “Beastin’ 25/8.” That means if Anderson can secure a couple of impressive victories, he could find himself in title consideration sooner, rather than later.
Furthermore, Daniel Cormier will likely be leaving the sport later this year and Thiago Santos likely won’t make a return until late 2020, if not 2021. That means only Blachowicz, Anthony Smith, and Dominick Reyes will be ahead of him to get to Jones.
Speaking of Reyes, now would be a good a time as any to book him against Anderson. The two have yet to cross paths inside the Octagon. And with Reyes coming off a loss to Jones, and a rematch unlikely to come anytime soon, he’ll have to get another “W” to get back to the big dance. Meanwhile, a win for Anderson would help him erase the memory of his most recent knockout loss, and put him right back into the thick of things.
Unless, of course, you have a better idea?
For complete UFC Rio Rancho results and coverage click here.