(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for Stipe Miocic and UFC 252’s winning fighters?)
After every event, fans wonder whom the losing fighters will be matched up with next.
With another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 252’s most notable fighters.
Those fighters included Daniel Cormier (22-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC), who fell short of reclaiming the heavyweight title from Stipe Miocic (20-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) in a unanimous decision at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, as well as Sean O’Malley (12-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), Junior Dos Santos (21-8 MMA, 15-7 UFC) and John Dodson (21-12 MMA, 10-7 UFC).
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Should fight: Miles Johns
Why they should fight: After nine fights back at bantamweight, it’s safe to say Dodson isn’t where he wants to be. He’s 4-5 in this current run in the division after losing a unanimous decision to Merab Dvalishvili, and it’s hard to say where he goes from here.
“The Ultimate Fighter” winner talked about being a top contender coming into the fight given the competitive nature of his recent contest with now-champ Petr Yan, but he had few moments of success in this latest fight against someone who came in consisted lesser in the scheme of the weight class.
Dodson turns 36 next month and it seems like if he’s going to put it all together, it has to happen soon. He’s likely going to have to take a lower or lateral step from Dvalishvili in terms of opponent after this fight, and perhaps a youngster like Johns (10-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) could help him get back on track.
Junior Dos Santos
Should fight: Aleksei Oleinik
Why they should fight: Former UFC champ Dos Santos extended the longest skid of his career with a second-round TKO to fellow striking specialist Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
It’s a rough spot for Dos Santos He looked solid before getting caught. His speed, precision and technique are still there, but seems he just can’t take the damage. He’s now been finished seven times in his career, including three straight.
To get a real determination on where Dos Santos stands, though, he needs to fight again against lesser competition. Not that Oleinik (59-14-1 MMA, 8-5 UFC), who is coming off a TKO loss to Derrick Lewis at UFC on ESPN+ 32 this month, is an easy win for anyone, but he does not present the striking threat of most of Dos Santos’ opponents over the past few years.
Dos Santos hasn’t been submitted since 2007, and he would have to focus hard on keeping that intact against Oleinik. If the Russian can’t get it down, however, then Dos Santos would have a good shot to work his magic on the feet without much knockout threat.
Should fight: Andre Ewell
Why they should fight: O’Malley’s rocket ship to UFC stardom was grounded when he suffered his first career loss in his biggest spot to date.
Whether it was a freak injury or something Marlon Vera caused in the fight with his low kicks, O’Malley left the octagon on a stretcher due to the pain from his first-round TKO. The severity of his injury is not yet known, but it seems he could be out for a bit.
In his absence, however long it may be, the loaded bantamweight division will surely continue to evolve. Things could change depending on O’Malley’s timeline and what happens in the upcoming months, someone outside the rankings like Ewell, who if nothing else has proven to be scrappy, could be a good fit as “Suga” attempts to rebound from his first loss.
What’s next: Watch the video above to see what the future holds for Cormier after his loss.
Original Article posted mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/08/daniel-cormier-next-fight-matchmaker-ufc-252-retirement-stipe-miocic/ by Mike Bohn