With UFC 169 in the books, a new chapter in UFC history has been written. The future for all 24 fighters on the card has been changed. What could be next for the competitors from UFC 169? Take a look at our matches to make to find out.
The future of the UFC’s Bantamweight division is very unclear. There is no clear-cut top contender and most of the top tier names in the division have been destroyed by Barao. The next contender for Barao’s belt will likely be Raphael Assuncao should he get passed Francisco Rivera later this month. Should Assuncao lose, there may be a far more lucrative fight awaiting Barao. Demetrious Johnson is in a very similar situation to the current bantamweight champion. He has decisively beaten all of the top names in his division and the up and coming talent has yet to impress. Raphael Assuncao should be next for the champ but if he falters, a super fight between Barao and Demetrious Johnson would be a great pay-per-view or UFC on Fox Headliner.
With his second loss to Barao, Urijah Faber has now fallen to 0-6 in his past six title fights. Many thought that if Faber failed to beat Barao, he would never get another chance to challenge for the title. I respectfully disagree with that position. Faber is still the most popular fighter under 155 pounds and will always draw a crowd. Add that to the controversial stoppage against Barao and I could easily see Faber/Barao III in the near future. In the meantime, Faber needs a fight that will keep him excited about competing. A fight with a returning Dominick Cruz would fit that bill perfectly.
Much like his training partner Renan Barao, Jose Aldo is far and away the best fight at 145 pounds. Aldo soundly defeated Ricardo Lamas at UFC 169 and has many fight fans pondering who could be next for the longtime featherweight kingpin. The answer at featherweight is Chad Mendes but we’ve all seen that before. The real answer lies in a bout with lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. Aldo will vacate his featherweight title and move up to lightweight for a showdown with the champion this July.
Alistair Overeem returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2011 after demolishing Frank Mir over three rounds. Overeem showed a different side to his game this time out. Fans are used to seeing Overeem going for the kill as soon as he smells blood but that was not the case this time. Overeem showed himself to be far more patient in his attack and eliminated all risk of him gassing out. It still was the dominant Overeem we have all come to expect, just with a new wrinkle. Overeem is far from a spring chicken and needs fights that can put him back into title contention quickly. A matchup with rival Junior dos Santos would do just that.
Ali Bagautinov likely secured his spot as the next challenger for Demetrious Johnson with his workman like decision win over John Lineker. Bagautinov did not look overly impressive against Lineker but showed himself to be well versed in all facets of MMA. If the above mentioned fight between Johnson and Barao does materialize, Bagautinov should be put against a returning John Dodson. If not, look for Bagautinov to challenge for the title this summer.
When Abel Trujillo fights, it’s guaranteed to be a war. Things were no different against Jamie Varner as the two men went toe to toe for seven minutes before Trujillo landed a monsterous right hand to put Varner out. Trujillo has shown some holes in his game but it’s extremely difficult to be completely dominant at this level of the sport. The UFC needs more rising stars and Trujillo could be that and more for the promotion. Trujillo needs to be matched with a well respected veteran that will go to war with him. Who could be better than Joe Lauzon for that?
Rest Of The Card:
Ricardo Lamas vs. Nik Lentz
Frank Mir vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (or cut)
John Lineker vs. Joseph Benavidez (or a 135 pounder)
Jamie Varner vs. Yves Edwards
Alan Patrick vs. Anthony Njokuani
John Makdessi vs. Jorge Masvidal
Chris Cariaso vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Danny Martinez vs. Darren Uyenoyama
Nick Catone vs. Clint Hester
Al Iaquinta vs. Ramsey Nijem
Kevin Lee vs. Tony Martin
Andy Enz vs. Bruno Santos
Rashid Magomedov vs. James Vick
Neil Magny vs. William Patolino
Gasan Umalatov vs. Drew Dober