What’s next for those who competed at UFC 246?

2020 will be a huge year for tonight's winners.

While the main event ought to have been McGregor returning against Justin Gaethje, the UFC wasn’t interested in throwing their golden goose to the wolves straight away. This fight, between two pioneers of the sport, had the potential to be bigger than it was. The marketing could have been glorious. The elusive McGregor has bounty on his head and the only man to wrangle him in to justice is Cowboy, the legendary bonus-hunter. Insert BossLogic’s amazing poster, and we had ourselves a fight. A showdown in the desert. The stage was set. But this wasn’t the trajectory. Just taking a look at the poster the UFC ran with, the emotionless center-split, I can’t shake the feeling that UFC 246 felt like a business arrangement with a foregone conclusion set by both Dana White and the larger MMA media. Despite all of the negative media surrounding McGregor’s actions outside of the octagon, Conor would return, finish Cowboy smoothly, and all would be forgotten. What layoff? What allegations? The king is back. Don’t you love the king?

The UFC 246 card was lukewarm outside of the main event, although the matchmaking on the ESPN prelims was fantastic. Drew Dober, Askar Askarov and Sodiq Yusuff made statements for themselves, while Roxanne Modafferi proved to be a weird puzzle once again and halted Maycee Barber’s train dead in its tracks. The future looks bright for this weekend’s winners.

Conor McGregor

No human on Earth anyone expected the main event to end the way it did. Cerrone ducks under a McGregor death-left, clinches. McGregor shoulder-smashes Cerrone’s nose, breaks the clinch and hits him shortly after with a hard left high-kick. A left head-kick, on the man known far and wide for head-kicks. He finishes the show with a salvo of left hands from top position. Business as usual. A majority of people predicted this sort of return-to-form for McGregor. Nobody expected the bizarreness of it. Everything that can be said about McGregor’s triumphant return has been said. Now to look ahead, where a murderer’s row of options await. Gaethje is waiting in the wings. The winner of April’s lightweight title fight. A Nate Diaz trilogy. However, we all know the real money fight here. The one that makes us all salivate. Conor McGregor and Jorge Masvidal will headline International Fight-Week in July. You heard it here first.

Donald Cerrone

I was one of the few who gave Cerrone a fighting chance against Notorious. I had a lot of hope for our old Cowboy; use the wrestling and jujitsu we don’t see nearly as much as we should, wear the guy down and triangle him in the 3rd round. I saw it clearly. Once the pre-fight hype videos started playing, and Cerrone said something along the lines of “we’re two guys who love to stand and trade”, my heart sank. While Cowboy didn’t get a chance to show off the full gameplan, he seemed waged for a standup war. Cowboy has fought 5 times in the span of 12 months, and should healthily take 5-6 months off. Will he? Absolutely not.

 

Fights to Make After UFC 246

Conor McGregor and Jorge Masvidal headline International Fight-Week in July.

Donald Cerrone won’t take a 5-6 month layoff, although he should.

Holly Holm doesn’t lose at bantamweight to anyone not named Amanda Nunes. A fight with Irene Aldana will either cement this, or open huge doors for Aldana.

Raquel Pennington should evaluate her options with other organizations.

Aleksei Oleinik should fight Fabricio Werdum at UFC 250, where the former heavyweight champion will be returning from an extensive layoff. This fight was originally booked for UFC Moscow in 2018, and this seems like a fitting place, and position in each man’s extensive careers, to rebook it.

Brian Kelleher // Luke Sanders

Ode Osbourne should consider a move to flyweight, where he will only cut 10 pounds from a natural 136 and will have a size advantage.

Carlos Diego Ferreira // loser of Paul Felder and Dan Hooker.

Anthony Pettis should consider his options with Bellator, where his brother fights.

Roxanne Modafferi // Jessica Eye

Maycee Barber is expected to be out 9 months with a full ACL tear.

Sodiq Yusuff // Shane Burgos

Andre Fili // Ricardo Ramos

Askar Askarov // Alexandre Pantoja

Tim Elliot // Matt Schnell

Drew Dober looked completely calm in his destruction of prospect Nasrat Haqparast. He is 2-0 with two first-round KOs since being armbared by Beneil Dariush. He is unhurt. A ranked opponent in Alexander Hernandez will be fireworks. Book it for UFC 248 in March alongside Dariush’s fight against Drakkar Klose.

Nasrat Haqparast // Christos Giagos

Aleksa Camur // Khadis Ibragimov

Justin Ledet should consider a return to heavyweight, where he was 3-0 in the UFC.

Sabina Mazo // Amanda Lemos

JJ Aldrich // Naida Kassem

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