Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the hurt business last Saturday night (Oct. 6, 2018) with UFC 229, taking place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the headlining act, Khabib Nurmagomedov once again put on a memorable performance inside the cage by dominating Conor McGregor, eventually submitting him in the fourth round (see it again here).
In the co-headlining act, former interim champion Tony Ferguson scored a technical knockout win after Anthony Pettis after the “Showtime” corner deemed him unfit to continue due to a broken hand, putting an end to an otherwise entertaining lightweight scrap.
Winner: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Who He Should Face Next: Tony Ferguson
Lets try this for the fifth time. I know Dana White and Co. probably didn’t expect for this fight to be lining itself up once gain, but after Khabib destroyed McGregor and Ferguson picked up a win in his comeback fight (albeit by by own corner stoppage) over Pettis, this fight seems to be on track once again.
I was contemplating putting the winner of Dustin Poirer vs. Nate Diaz as a possible contender for Khabib, but if Nate wins, he is far from deserving a shot at the title. While Poirier is in line for a title shot, he can face the winner of this matchup should it see the light of day. Of course all the scenarios I paint mean squat if Conor McGregor gets his rematch against “The Eagle.”
Winner: Tony Ferguson
Who He Should Face Next: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Sure, the Pettis corner threw in the towel after “Showtime” couldn’t continue on with a broken hand, but Ferguson is in the win column nonetheless and he showed heart by surviving a near-knockout defeat (see it). After getting stripped of the interim title due to an injury (and to save the cursed UFC 223 event), “El Cucuy” should get the chance to win the real strap against a man he’s stared down several times — but has never actually fought.
Winner: Derrick Lewis
Who He Should Face Next: Stipe Miocic
Lewis admitted himself he’s not ready for a title shot just yet. Even if he was, there is no telling when the next opportunity will come along, as current champion Daniel Cormier is firmly set on waiting for Brock Lesnar. So if “Black Beast” isn’t ready to fight for the title, perhaps a showdown against the former champion is in order.
Miocic himself wants a rematch against “DC,” but since the timing is off, a comeback fight against the streaking Lewis will do the trick if he can score a win over the massive, hard-hitting brawler. Stipe likes to bang, and it will be interesting to see if Derrick can hang with a former champion and punch his ticket (literally) to the big dance.
Winner: Dominick Reyes
Who He Should Face Next: Glover Teixeira
The Dominick Reyes freight train continued to chug long last Saturday night at UFC 229, defeating former title contender Ovince Saint Preux via impressive and dominant performance. So there is no sense is slowing down his momentum and matchup him up against someone outside the top 10.
Glover is a good next test for the rising contender. While the Brazilian is coming off a loss, he still has the name value to allow “The Devastator” to get over with a win. I love the matchup stylistically, as well, as both men like to crack... and crack hard.
Winner: Michelle Waterson
Who She Should Face Next: Karolina Kowalkiewicz
“Karate Hottie” wants to be the first mom to be a UFC champion, and if she wants to get there, she has to start taking out opponents ranked ahead of her, preferably former title challenges. Karolina fits the bill perfectly. Sure, she is coming off a loss to Jessica Andrade, but “Bate Estaca” is in line for a title shot, which means Karolina was up there, ranked No. 5 in the land and has already competed for the Strawweight title. I like the matchup for both ladies, and if Waterson can score her third straight against “The Polish Princess,” it will boost her up the rankings and get her closer to her goal.
For complete UFC 229: “Khabib vs. McGregor” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.