UFC 200 was expected to be the most exciting event in the history of MMA. Unfortunately, the event turned out to be a bit of a letdown. Part of the reason for the lackluster event was thanks to Jon Jones, who failed a drug test for performance enhancing drugs.
Jon Jones was originally scheduled to face Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 200, but his failed drug test led to his removal from the card. The main event was then changed to Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes for the Women's Bantamweight Championship.
While the removal of the Cormier vs. Jones fight was a big letdown, UFC 200 was actually supposed to be headlined by Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz... What am I getting at here? Well, it seems to me that UFC 200 was doomed from the start. I honestly can't remember a time when the main event of a highly publicized pay per view Card changed so many times.
Nonetheless, even with all the bad luck that surrounded UFC 200, the event still delivered somewhat. Brock Lesnar returned to the Octagon after five years and defeated Mark Hunt. Jose Aldo made a statement with his victory over Frankie Edgar, and Cain Velasquez proved that he is back in top form as well. Several other exciting fights also took place on the card, but unfortunately they were on the prelims.
So, with UFC 200 finally behind us, what's next for the fighters that took part in the historical event? Well, I think this list of The Top 15 Fights That Should Happen After UFC 200 would serve as a great template for the UFC matchmakers.
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15 Anderson Silva vs. Luke Rockhold
The fight between Anderson Silva and Daniel Cormier was brutal to watch. I actually lost a bit of respect for Cormier, but I understand why he fought the way he did. Exchanging strikes with Anderson Silva is not a good idea, but laying on him for 14-minutes was frustrating for the fans to watch.
The only entertaining moment of the Silva/Cormier fight was in the last 30 seconds when "the Spider" landed a crippling body kick that almost knocked Cormier out. The fact that Silva took the fight on 48 hours notice and made it to the end was impressive. Anderson Silva deserves a big fight for his willingness to take on the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion at the drop of a hat. A matchup between Anderson Silva and Luke Rockhold for a shot at the Middleweight Championship sounds amazing to me.
Rockhold vs. Silva intrigues me for a number of different reasons. First off, Silva and Rockhold are both deadly strikers. Second of all, Rockhold and Cormier are training partners. Silva already fought the heavier and arguably more talented fighter of the two.
At the end of the day, Anderson Silva is the greatest fighter of all time, and he deserves a chance to take on a top contender like Luke Rockhold. A win for either man would certainly have title implications.
14 T.J. Dillashaw vs. Dominick Cruz 2
Not long ago, T.J. Dillashaw was considered to be one of the greatest pound for pound fighters on the planet. However, everything changed for him when Dominick Cruz returned to the UFC and defeated him at UFC Fight Night 81 for the Bantamweight Championship.
While the fight with Cruz was close, T.J. Dillashaw wasn't given an immediate rematch. However, T.J.'s most recent victory over Raphael Assuncao at UFC 200 has most likely earned him a shot at reclaiming the Bantamweight Championship.
T.J. Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz are the most talented fighters in the division. Their first fight was extremely close, and a rematch would be the perfect way for each fighter to prove that they are truly the best Bantamweight fighter on the planet. There's no matchup in the division that would be more intriguing than this one. It's a rematch fans want to see and it's well deserved for Dillashaw.
13 Johny Hendricks vs. Rory MacDonald
Johny Hendricks has lost three out of his last four fights. His most recent loss came against UFC novice, Kelvin Gastelum. To say that things aren't looking good for Hendricks at this point in his career would be an understatement. It's crazy to think that less than three years ago, he beat Georges St. Pierre to a bloody pulp, before controversially losing on a decision.
Hendricks' most recent loss was a crippling one, but there is still an opportunity for the former UFC Welterweight Champion to bounce back. Rory MacDonald, who recently lost to Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson, would be the perfect opponent for Hendricks.
Both MacDonald and Hendricks were considered elite fighters just a year ago, but the consecutive losses that both men suffered has downgraded their stock. Personally, I still believe that Hendricks and MacDonald are elite fighters, and a matchup between the two would be exciting. Perhaps it would be a way to determine if either of them have a future in the UFC.
12 Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez 2
Call me crazy, but I'd pay good money to watch Lesnar and Velasquez fight just one more time. In their first meeting at UFC 121, Cain Velasquez knocked out Brock Lesnar in the first round to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship. A rematch would give Brock the chance to avenge his loss. With that being said, I'm not so sure that Brock would be eager to take on Velasquez for a second time.
While Brock proved everyone wrong with his victory over Mark Hunt at UFC 200, his style of lay and pray simply wouldn't work against Cain. Nonetheless, Brock Lesnar is healthy now, and a win over Cain would be gigantic for his legacy. I also believe that Brock would earn a title shot if he somehow beat Cain Velasquez. While Lesnar's deal with UFC was just a one-off, who's to say Lesnar can't return to the UFC when his WWE contract expires? Perhaps Lesnar's victory has given him the itch to give MMA another try.
11 Gray Maynard vs. Diego Sanchez
Gray Maynard and Diego Sanchez are veterans of the sport. While they might be on the downside of their careers, I feel that this matchup should get made.
Diego lost his last fight against Lauzon at UFC 200, while Maynard scraped up his first win in three years the night before. While many were starting to question Sanchez's future in the sport, his opponent actually came to his defense, “I hate when people start telling people they should retire,” Lauzon said after UFC 200. “You have one off night; that’s not a reason to retire.”
Maynard and Sanchez probably don't have too much left, but I think a showdown between the two would interest the fans.
Both fighters have a ton of heart, and their fighting styles are crowd pleasing. Maynard vs. Sanchez is a great opening fight for any UFC pay per view.
10 Sage Northcutt vs. Joe Lauzon
Sage Northcutt is one of the most talented up and coming fighters in the UFC today. He possesses incredible striking and submission skills. Sage was being built as the next big star in the UFC, but that all changed for him when he was submitted earlier this year by Bryan Barberana. Fortunately, Sage won his most recent fight against Enrique Marin at UFC 200.
While Nortcutt looked impressive against Marin, he was nearly submitted by a deep armbar. Sage is getting to the point in his career where he needs to step up in competition.
Joe Lauzon would be a tough but reasonable test for Sage Northcutt. Lauzon is skilled in all aspects of MMA, and he's unbelievably tough. A win over Joe Lauzon would prove to the world that Sage Northcutt is ready to step up and be a top contender in the UFC.
9 Mark Hunt vs. Travis Browne
Mark Hunt has always been one of my favorite fighters. With that being said, I must admit that I was extremely disappointed in his performance against Brock Lesnar at UFC 200. Hunt simply couldn't connect with his powerful strikes, and he had absolutely no answer for Brock's superior wrestling ability. It seemed that he was awfully hesitant to throw his big bombs and was spending way too much time worrying about the takedown. Once the fight got to the mat, Hunt was toast.
Travis Browne, who was also dominated at UFC 200 by Cain Velasquez, would be the perfect opponent for Hunt in the near future. A win for either fighter would put them right back in the top of the division. At the same time, a loss for Browne or Hunt could lead to the end of their career. Either way, it would shed some light on their careers.
8 Daniel Cormier vs. Winner of Teixeira/Johnson
Hate him or love him, Daniel Cormier is the undisputed UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Cormier has been the top guy in the light heavyweight division ever since Jon Jones' life spiraled out of control. While most people would agree that Jon Jones is the best fighter pound for pound, and is still the "real" champion, his entire reputation was destroyed when he failed a pre-fight drug test for PEDs leading up to UFC 200.
Daniel Cormier trained specifically for Jon Jones for months, but he ended up taking on Anderson Silva due to the failed drug test on Jones' end. Even though it was painful to watch, Cormier defeated Silva, and he must now defend his title. The winner of the upcoming matchup between Glover Teixeira and Anthony Johnson should fight Cormier for the title in the near future.
7 Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm
Amanda Nunes captured the UFC Bantamweight Championship by submitting Miesha Tate at UFC 200. Nunes not only defeated Tate, but she absolutely dominated her. In doing so, Nunes also became the first openly gay fighter to hold a championship in the UFC.
The only logical fight for Amanda Nunes right now would be against Holly Holm. This matchup is intriguing because both of these fighters are great strikers.
Holly Holm is also the former UFC Bantamweight Champion, and she has yet to fight for the title again. But, before this fight can happen, Holm must first defeat Valentina Shevchenko at UFC on FOX 20. The title has changed hands three times dating back to last November and there are a multitude of contenders waiting.
Amanda Nunes is the champion, and she definitely has other options if the Holm fight doesn't happen.... More on that later.
6 Frankie Edgar vs. Dominick Cruz
Frankie Edgar's most recent loss to Jose Aldo at UFC 200 would lead most people to believe that his dreams of another UFC Championship reign flew out the window. However, that might not be the case.
Apparently, Frankie Edgar has been teasing a drop to the Bantamweight division for some time now. Dominick Cruz, who is the current Bantamweight Champion, would probably welcome the tough New Jersey native with open arms.
A matchup between Edgar and Cruz is very intriguing. Dominick Cruz possesses some of the best footwork and cardio in the entire sport. On the other hand, Edgar is a wrestling master and a cardio machine himself.
Frankie Edgar vs. Dominick Cruz would be an awesome matchup. But, I'm wondering if the fans feel that Edgar deserves an immediate title shot if he were to drop down to Bantamweight. Personally, I think he does. Edgar's beaten everyone except Jose Aldo in the last few years.
5 Joe Lauzon vs. BJ Penn
At UFC 200, Joe Lauzon defeated Diego Sanchez in dominant fashion. Lauzon looked absolutely phenomenal, but what's next for the talented scrapper? Well, how about a showdown against one of the greatest lightweights in UFC history?
A matchup between Joe Lauzon and BJ Penn makes perfect sense for both fighters. BJ is a huge name, and Lauzon deserves a fight against a highly lucrative opponent. Both fighters are skilled on their feet and on the ground.
The stakes for this fight would be high. A loss for Penn would most likely send him back to retirement, while a win for Lauzon would drastically increase his notoriety. There really is no reason the UFC shouldn't do this fight. It could either main event a UFC on Fox card or it could have a decent spot on a PPV.
4 Cain Velasquez vs. Stipe Miocic
Cain Velasquez earned quite a bit of respect from the fans at UFC 200. But, before UFC 200, most fight fans thought that Cain was on his way out of the sport. The former UFC Heavyweight Champion has been plagued with injuries, and he lost his title in embarrassing fashion at the hands of Fabricio Werdum.
A rematch between Velazquez and Werdum doesn't make sense right now due to the fact that Stipe Miocic is the new UFC Heavyweight Champion. A showdown between Cain and Stipe for the Heavyweight Championship would be ideal, but Stipe must first make it through Alistair Overeem at UFC 202.
If Stipe beats Overeem, Cain Velasquez undoubtedly deserves a title shot. Cain was a dominant champion prior to his loss against Werdum, and I think it's safe to say that Cain sent out a message to the heavyweight division with his most recent victory over Travis Browne.
3 Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir 3
Whether or not Brock will ever fight again is unknown. However, a third matchup against Frank Mir might be hard for Lesnar to resist. Each fighter holds a win over the other, and there seems to be a legitimate beef between the two.
Lesnar lost his UFC debut to Frank Mir back in 2008. One year later, Brock Lesnar earned his revenge at UFC 100 when he knocked Frank Mir out.
Brock's performance at UFC 200 was impressive, but it lacked excitement. A rubber match against Mir would be a great fight to retire on. It's a great fight overall because both fighters are now veterans, and there's already a built in storyline. The fans would get behind it, and the WWE would most likely cross-promote the fight. Giving Lesnar a title shot may seem like a stretch for UFC, but there's no way they shouldn't try to have a rubber match between these two rivals.
2 Ronda Rousey vs. Amanda Nunes
Ronda Rousey hasn't fought since her crushing defeat against Holly Holm at UFC 193. However, she might just come off her hiatus to fight Amanda Nunes.
According to Dana White, Ronda Rousey should be back in the Octagon by the end of 2016 or early 2017. Amanda Nunes would be a great comeback fight for Rousey.
If Nunes can hold onto the title, she would undoubtedly earn the biggest payday of her career in a fight against Rousey. Some people may feel that Rousey doesn't deserve an immediate title shot, but I think she does. Ronda Rousey was the UFC Bantamweight Champion for more than three years and everybody who's held the title since her has yet to successfully defend it.
Stylistically, Rousey vs. Nunes is a great matchup that either fighter can win. Unlike Holly Holm, Amanda Nunes is an aggressive striker, and that type of fighting style will give Rousey a chance to take her down and submit her. On the other hand, Nunes could knock Ronda Rousey out again and into permanent retirement.
1 Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor 2
Jose Aldo successfully defeated Frankie Edgar for the second time at UFC 200. Aldo looked simply amazing in the fight, but an ominous figure loomed in the distance. Conor McGregor stood in the front row staring down Aldo through the Octagon with a death gaze.
Even with McGregor watching on, Jose Aldo put on a spectacular performance against Edgar. It seems that a rematch between McGregor and Aldo is all but guaranteed. First though, Conor must take on Nate Diaz in a rematch of his own at UFC 202.
Win, lose, or draw, Dana White confirmed that McGregor will be moving back down to featherweight to defend his title. If the rematch with Aldo goes through, McGregor may have a tough time defeating the skilled Brazilian a second time.
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