What’s Next? Fights to Make After UFC 247
Similar to his last appearance, Jon Jones has looked like a champion, but not the dominant champion he has been before. This Jon Jones, whether from boredom or lack of conviction, is content to win 3 rounds of championship fights and coast to another successful title defense. Last night his championship mettle was on full display in rounds 4 through 5, securing takedowns and pressuring Reyes against the fence. He steals a unanimous decision, although tainted by a ridiculous 49-46 scorecard that had everyone from me to Dana White screaming in their seats. What’s next for the greatest mixed martial artist of all time? Does he continue to haunt the top of the 205 division, fighting the winner of Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz? Or does he move to heavyweight like everyone believes he will? I believe he should secure one more defense at 205, and it needs to be a finish. He has looked less and less impressive as champion, and didn’t enjoy the power coming from Thiago Santos or Dominick Reyes. I believe a finish over Jan or Corey can mute this, and put more confidence in Jon’s ability to take a heavyweight punch.
What a performance from Dominick Reyes, pushing the GOAT into deep water and landing significant strikes against Jones’ impenetrable defenses. I was one of Reyes’ biggest doubters, believing he would get swallowed whole inside three rounds. He proved me wrong last night, and has nothing to be ashamed of. At 30 years old and only 13 fights deep in his career, I have high hopes for the young man. What’s next after a relatively successful effort against the champ? His worst performance was against Volkan Oezdemir, and a majority of the public believes he lost that fight. Volkan is on a two-fight winning streak since. With Anthony Smith tied up against Glover in April and Thiago Santos still recovering from his encounter with Jones, a rematch could make a lot of sense. Book Reyes/Oezdemir 2 and see if this one plays out differently.
Fights to Make After UFC 247
Valentina Shevchenko proved yet again to be on another level than the rest of the flyweight division. Book the trilogy with Amanda Nunes while Roxanne Modafferi and Joanne Calderwood fight for top contendership. It’s the only route to take.
Katlyn Chookagian just couldn’t find a way against Shevchenko, and that’s not a knock against her. Most women on Earth cannot find a way. Maybe a fight with Viviane Araujo or a rematch with Lauren Murphy could be next for the Blonde Fighter. Her future is still bright.
Justin Tafa // Daniel Spitz
Juan Adams should consider options outside of the UFC to gain some more experience.
Dan Ige // Bryce Mitchell
Mirsad Bektic // Charles Jourdain
Derrick Lewis // Aleksei Oleinik
Ilir Latifi // Stefan Struve for all of the heavyweight madness.
Trevin Giles // Tim Boetsch
James Krause // Chance Rencountre
Lauren Murphy // Jennifer Maia
Andrea Lee // Ji Yeon Kim
Khaos Williams // Siyar Bahadurzada
Alex Morono // Bryan Barbarena
Mario Bautista // Tony Gravely
Miles Johns // Anderson dos Santos
Journey Newson // Felipe Coralles
Domingo Pilarte // debuting bantamweight
Andre Ewell // Said Nurmagomedov
Jonathan Martinez // Cole Smith
Youssef Zalal // Alejandro Perez
Austin Lingo should return to LFA to work on cardio and grappling a bit more before retiring to the UFC.
There you have it. See you next week in New Mexico.