UFC 187 Results: Matches to Make for the Winners and Losers
At UFC 187, Daniel Cormier claimed the vacant UFC light heavyweight belt with a submission win over Anthony Johnson in the third round.
Not long ago, Cormier was lined up to compete against Ryan Bader and looked to have a long road back to a shot at the 205-pound championship. However, when Jon Jones was stripped of his belt, Cormier filled in opposite Johnson and made the most of his unexpected opportunity.
Cormier will now wait to see whether Jones is able to return to competition anytime soon for a rematch with him. If not, Cormier may get to defend his belt against Bader or another light heavyweight contender later on in 2015.
On Saturday, Chris Weidman also defended his middleweight championship against Vitor Belfort. It was the culmination of a matchup that had been postponed three different times. While Belfort had Weidman hurt early on, the champion turned things around with a takedown and damaging ground-and-pound.
With another UFC event in the books, here is what should be next for Cormier, Weidman and the rest of the UFC 187 competitors.
|John Dodson||Demetrious Johnson|
|Dong Hyun Kim||Colby Covington|
|Rafael Natal||Robert Whittaker|
|Colby Covington||Dong Hyun Kim|
|Islam Makhachev||Yan Cabral|
|Justin Scoggins||Paddy Holohan|
|Zach Makovsky||Dustin Ortiz|
|Josh Burkman||Mike Pyle|
|Uriah Hall||Costas Philippou|
|Mike Pyle||Josh Burkman|
|Leo Kuntz||Anthony Christodoulou|
|Josh Sampo||Roldan Sangcha-an|
Matchup: Kyoji Horiguchi
With submission wins over Willie Gates and Justin Scoggins, John Moraga earned a big matchup with former title challenger Joseph Benavidez at UFC 187.
A win over Benavidez could have scored Moraga a rematch with 125-pound champion Demetrious Johnson. Instead, Moraga was taken down four times and fell on the scorecards. As a result, he'll have to put a few more wins together in order get another title shot.
Coming off of a loss to the flyweight king, Kyoji Horiguchi would be a good opponent for Moraga. Both contenders are well-rounded and capable of finishing from any position, so a clash between the two would almost guarantee entertainment as they look to rebound.
Matchup: Henry Cejudo vs. Chico Camus Winner
Benavidez has now won three in a row since losing to Johnson, but he's in a position where he'll likely need some help in order to get another crack at the 125-pound belt.
The Team Alpha Male member has already run into Mighty Mouse on two separate occasions. In September 2012, Benavidez battled to a split-decision loss against Johnson. It took him 15 months to earn his rematch with Johnson, but the second meeting with the champion resulted in Benavidez's first-ever knockout loss.
Until somebody dethrones Johnson, Benavidez probably isn't going to get another title shot anytime soon. So, should Henry Cejudo remain undefeated against Chico Camus at UFC 188, Benavidez would instead be a good measuring stick to determine if the Olympic gold medalist is ready for his own title shot.
Matchup: Ben Rothwell vs. Matt Mitrione Loser
Following a knockout win over Brendan Schaub, Travis Browne had a chance to emerge from a UFC 187 bout with Andrei Arlovski as a serious title threat.
Instead, Browne suffered an upset loss to the former UFC champion. While rocked in the opening round, Browne landed a punch that dropped Arlovski. However, The Pitbull recovered quickly and got back on the offensive against Browne, who spent much of the opening stanza on wobbly legs.
With only 19 seconds remaining in the first round, Arlovski began teeing off on Browne, who covered up and stopped answering. As a result, referee Mark Smith had to step in.
The loss was a damaging one for Browne's title hopes, but he received well-deserved Fight of the Night honors for his showing. Still, a step down in competition should be expected following his second loss in three trips to the Octagon.
Depending on which man wins at UFC Fight Night 68, either Ben Rothwell or Matt Mitrione would be a good matchup for Browne's next outing. Browne was actually scheduled to meet Rothwell in August 2012, but the matchup was cancelled due to a Rothwell injury.
Matchup: Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum Winner
It is 2015, and Arlovski could be in line for a shot at the UFC heavyweight belt.
This is a dude who many thought should have retired following a fourth straight loss in 2011. Now, more than four years later, Arlovski might be one win away from reclaiming the heavyweight championship. It's a long shot, but Arlovski proved a lot of doubters wrong with his knockout win over Browne at UFC 187.
Given that he's only been back on the UFC roster for three appearances, it seems crazy to suggest Arlovski should get a title shot already. However, he's as deserving as anybody and could be next for the winner of a June title merger between Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum.
In the shallow heavyweight class, Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem and Stipe Miocic would really be the only other options. None of them have won more than two in a row, while Arlovski has five consecutive victories.
Matchup: Abel Trujillo
Only one month removed from a knockout win over Shane Campbell, John Makdessi stepped in on short notice as a replacement opponent for Donald Cerrone at UFC 187.
It was a no-lose opportunity for Makdessi, but the Canadian left with, well, a loss and a broken jaw. To his credit, Makdessi stood in the pocket with Cerrone, but he took a beating in the process before finally stopping the fight himself after almost literally eating a head kick.
John Makdessi is super-tough, stood in there until a kick broke his jaw. Solid showing by a tough Canadian. No shame in that loss.— The Spartan (@EliasTheodorou) May 24, 2015
Makdessi was originally supposed to meet Abel Trujillo at UFC 186 before Campbell stepped in due to injury. Once Makdessi and Trujillo are both healed up, it might make sense for the two strikers to be paired up again.
Matchup: Rafael dos Anjos
Having already lost to the champion, Cerrone was going to have a good chance to show how much he's improved against Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, the Russian was pulled from the UFC 187 bout due to injury, leaving Makdessi to compete against Cowboy.
As expected, Cerrone took care of business against the Canadian. It wasn't a performance that proved he has gained ground on Rafael dos Anjos, but it may have been enough to earn him a rematch with the Brazilian now that Nurmagomedov further delayed his return.
With a win over Dos Anjos, Nurmagomedov may be the bigger threat. However, he hasn't competed in 13 months. Cerrone, meanwhile, has racked up eight straight wins and paid his dues to get at least one shot at UFC gold in his career.
Matchup: Jimi Manuwa
More than 18 months since his knockout win over Dan Henderson, Belfort returned to action in a middleweight title bout against Weidman.
Initially, Belfort looked great and had Weidman covering up. However, once he gave up a takedown, Belfort was quickly mounted and stopped with ground-and-pound in the opening round.
At 38 years old, Belfort has a lot of options now. I don't see him going with retirement, but he could move to the light heavyweight division and start another title run in that weight class. There's also working his way back up the 185-pound ladder.
Had Anderson Silva not failed a drug test in his last outing, he'd be a great opponent for Belfort now, but it's hard to say when The Spider is going to be able to return.
Now that Jon Jones is no longer champion, I believe a return to 205 pounds could be in the cards for Belfort. A lot of people would enjoy seeing him compete against fellow knockout artist Jimi Manuwa.
Matchup: Luke Rockhold
With a third straight title defense at UFC 187, Weidman surpassed Rich Franklin to become the second-most dominant middleweight champion in UFC history.
He had a scare early on against Belfort, but Weidman stayed composed and answered with a very important takedown. Once on top, the champion took control and ended the bout with some damaging ground-and-pound from full-mount.
There will now be a debate about whether Luke Rockhold or Ronaldo Souza should be next up for Weidman. Since Rockhold has beaten Souza and has taken on tougher competition recently, I believe he'll win out in the end.
Matchup: Ryan Bader
With three straight wins since returning to the UFC roster, Johnson earned a shot at the light heavyweight crown.
However, Rumble didn't have the defensive wrestling or conditioning needed to keep up with Cormier. As a result, he gave up his back in the third round, got caught in a rear-naked choke and was handed a submission loss.
Sorry I let you all down but I promise I will be back. I love u all, Rumble Squad!— Anthony Johnson (@Anthony_Rumble) May 24, 2015
With the dangerous knockout power he possesses, Johnson will remain one of the biggest threats in the 205-pound division. A clash between him and Jones is also a matchup that many fans would still probably like to see someday.
For that reason, Rumble should meet Ryan Bader in a bout to determine who should get a title shot against the winner of the next proposed bout.
Matchup: Jon Jones
Following his loss to Jones in January, it looked like Cormier was going to have a tough time ever becoming UFC champion.
However, with Jones having his belt stripped, Cormier was able to swoop in and nab the vacant belt with a submission win over Johnson. It wasn't the way he probably wanted to win the title, but Cormier is the best in the world until Jones returns.
Daniel Cormier: "I have a message for one man -- Jon Jones get your (expletive) together, I'm waiting for you." #UFC187— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) May 24, 2015
While Jones has some things to take care of outside the Octagon, I think everyone hopes he can exercise his demons and get back to being one of the best fighters on the planet. If that happens sooner rather than later, a rematch with Cormier will be waiting for him.