UFC 200’s stacked card provided some unexpected twists and turns, leaving many fans wondering: What’s next? Here’s a rundown of things to come following UFC 200.
First, the obvious answer to those wondering what’s next: UFC 201 and 202 (and so on), of course. Both cards pack plenty of punch, as the 201 card features Fil-Am welterweight champ Robbie Lawler taking on challenger Tyron Woodley. Meanwhile, UFC 202 will showcase the much-awaited rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. So even though the historic UFC 200 card is in the books, we still have plenty of things to look forward to.
While exciting cards are a certainty, there are still some things a bit hazy in the UFC’s future in general. Reports are coming in that the UFC was just sold for $4 (bububu)-billion to William Morris Endeavor, International Management Group (WME-IMG). According to reports, Dana White would stay on as president, but Lorenzo Fertitta would no longer be CEO.
This is big news and it leaves much speculation as to how the promotion will change in the coming years. For the meantime, lets forecast what’s in the immediate future for the UFC 200 main card fighters.
Tate’s lopsided loss to Amanda Nunes was undoubtedly one of the biggest shockers of the card. She got outclassed in striking and then submitted on the ground, and we likely won’t hear any talk of an immediate rematch from Tate or anybody else. The former champ said she’d like to take some time off, and hopefully the lure of Hollywood doesn’t keep her on the sidelines too long. If (and when) she comes back, perhaps a rematch with Cat Zingano would interest her. Zingano likewise fought and lost at UFC 200 and holds a win over Tate.
This lioness deserves to bask in the glory of her title win, but she might not get much downtime now that she has a target on her back. UFC president Dana White said that Ronda Rousey would get an immediate title shot when she returns, so that could set us up for Nunes vs. Rousey. But if the return of “Rowdy” remains uncertain, then perhaps a fight between Nunes and Julianna “The Venezuelan Vixen” Peña, who’s on a 7-0 UFC run, could be put into play.
We all know what’s next for Lesnar: Randy Orton at WWE SummerSlam in August. But what about his future in MMA? Even Lesnar told the media after his win over Mark Hunt that he believes he could still make a run at the UFC heavyweight title. And why not—he just beat a top-ranked heavyweight after a five-year absence from the Octagon. His success at UFC 200 might just compel him to fight in the cage again. If that happens, then fights with Josh Barnett, Andre Arlovski, Junior dos Santos, or even a rematch with Shane Carwin sound interesting.
It was a tough break for Hunt, but he simply got outwrestled by one of the top collegiate wrestlers of his generation. At 42 years old and following a major payday at UFC 200, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the “Super Samoan” to hang up his gloves. If he chooses to keep fighting, though, then there are exciting opponents like Travis Browne and Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis waiting for him.
The only opponent that matters to DC now is Jon Jones, but we don’t know how long his potential USADA violation will keep him out of action. Cormier has said that he wants to stay busy and won’t wait for Jones. Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson are both at the top of the food chain at 205lbs., but both have recently lost to DC. However, if Glover Teixeira beats Johnson in their upcoming bout (and that’s a big IF), then he could make a case at the light heavyweight champ.
Silva’s one shining moment against DC came near the end of their bout, as he landed a hand left kick to the champ’s body and made him wince. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to have fans singing Silva praises for his accuracy and unpredictability even while entering a bout on two days’ notice. Who’s next for him is anybody’s guess. Former champ Luke Rockhold recently said that Silva was never on his level. So there’s a possible fight there. A rematch with Vitor Belfort would likewise be interesting. Silva also has unfinished business with fellow flashy striker Uriah Hall.
Unfortunately for “The Answer,” his shot at featherweight king Conor McGregor will be put on hold yet again. The next likely move for Edgar is a fight with the man ranked right below him, Max Holloway. Should Holloway beat the former lightweight champ, then he’d secure the next shot at the belt. If Edgar wins, then he might just get that undisputed title shot he’s been longing for. If not Holloway, then Dennis Bermudez and Jeremy Stephens are also in the mix.
There’s no need to guess who’s next for “Scarface.” By beating Edgar, Aldo has booked himself his much-desired rematch with McGregor, who faces Nate Diaz in a welterweight rematch at UFC 202. Aldo better pray Diaz wins again, because if the Irishman wins and makes it one win each, then you know what the fans will clamor for: rubbermatch.
The former bantamweight champ disposed of Raphael Assuncao to avenge his 2013 loss to the Brazilian. He’s now in prime position to take on Dominick Cruz in a rematch for the bantamweight strap, but if that fight doesn’t materialize, there’s another rematch he could take against a man who also beat him before: John Dodson. The Fil-Am famously KOd Dillashaw to win 2011’s The Ultimate Fighter reality show. Perhaps Dillashaw would like to avenge that loss, say, in the main event of UFC Manila. Just putting it out there.
Gab Pangalangan is an MMA columnist for Spin.ph. Read more MMA news and analyses from his website DojoDrifter.com.