UFC 235: What’s Next For The Losers?
By Hasan Karim
UFC 235 is officially now a part of the history books and for better or worse, it was an incredible event. Upsets happened, controversies occurred and a title changed hands. We take a look at what is next for those who came up short in Vegas.
Not so long ago, Cody Garbrandt had torn through the division in whirlwind fashion and toppled the long-standing king of the hill, Dominick Cruz. The man who once looked like the UFC’s next breakout star now looks a shell of that man. Two brutal knockout losses to bitter rival TJ Dillashaw and now another loss against underdog Pedro Muhnoz has many wondering where did it all go wrong?
Garbrandt was expected to return to winning ways with a win over Muhnoz, however, in what was a shocking display of fight IQ, he found himself knocked out in the first round. Now on the outside looking in, Garbrandt is likely to still find a ranked opponent in his next outing. In terms of who that could be? Ricky Simon is probably the safest bet for the former champion.
Simon is currently ranked 15th and is riding a 3 fight win streak since debuting in the UFC. Whilst not the most thrilling of fighters, it would be a good opportunity for him and it presents Cody with a good potential rebound fight.
Tecia Torres is in a very precarious position by this point. Seemingly not at the level for the better fighters of 115lbs and there is no division below. So, what to do with her?
Now on a three fight skid, she is essentially a gatekeeper for the top ten. Looking at the way the current rankings fall? Cynthia Calvillo could make sense for her to regain some form. Calvillo has won her last two and is only a spot below her. A win against her should easily help her find some momentum.
The controversy of Ben Askren’s debut fight in the UFC has allowed for UFC matchmakers and fans alike to quite easily book the next fight of both Askren and former UFC champion, Robbie Lawler.
The mix-up surrounding the finish of the fight and the fact that both fighters traded momentum in the fight makes booking a rematch is a complete no-brainer in this case.
Kamaru Usman shocked the MMA world when he mauled Tyron Woodley to become the new king at Welterweight. Woodley barely put up a fight as he lost out via unanimous decision to the Nigerian.
Now in need of a bounce-back when, he encounters a problem. Most of the top 6 are all involved in fights elsewhere and he’s already beaten most of them. One name that could really help Woodley bounce back? Santiago Ponzinibbio. The Argentine is riding a good wave of momentum with seven straight wins and has more than earned his chance at a top opponent. Woodley could stake a claim by beating Ponzinibbio and ending the momentum of a fasting rising contender.
A huge underdog going into the fight against Jon Jones, ‘Lionheart’ put in a courageous display as he fell short to the champion.
With the UFC’s 205lbs full of potential young stars right now, giving Smith a fight against one of them may damage the long-term prospects as UFC reinvigorates the division. For Smith a fight against perennial top 5 challenger Jan Blachowicz makes sense. He recently lost to Thiago Santos who is now favoured to be the next title contender and Smith has just lost a title bout. It could be the perfect fight to establish another title contender.