6 Fights You Want to See After UFC 262
Saturday's UFC 262 card, which went down in front of a packed house in Houston, Texas, was a good one—the kind that keeps fans talking for days after the fact.
In the main event, Brazil's Charles Oliveira assumed the vacant lightweight throne with a dazzling, second-round TKO win over former Bellator champion Michael Chandler—who nearly nabbed a knockout of his own in the first round.
The co-main event also occurred in the lightweight division, where Beneil Dariush burst into title contention with a lopsided decision win over former interim champ Tony Ferguson, who has now lost three in a row.
Throw in a handful of big wins from the likes of Edson Barboza and Andre Muniz and fans certainly have plenty to discuss. One of the recurring topics of conversation, as ever, will be what's next for the stars of the card.
We've already told you what we think should be next for the likes of Oliveira, Dariush and Barboza. Now we're giving you the floor.
Here are the fights you want to see after the blockbuster UFC 262 card in Houston.
Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier–Conor McGregor Winner
Oliveira has barely gotten comfortable in the lightweight throne, and we’re all already wondering who will provide the first challenge of his reign.
One of the most popular choices, suggested by reader @WE_ALL_OVERRATED and many others, is the winner of an upcoming fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor.
Poirier and McGregor will look to settle a 1-1 tie in the main event of UFC 264 on July 10. Had Poirier not agreed to fight McGregor for a third time, he likely would have been the man standing across the cage from Oliveira at UFC 262. If he beats his Irish rival in July, his claim to a title shot will be undeniable.
McGregor, meanwhile, will also be well-positioned for a title shot in victory—especially given his massive star power.
It makes all the sense in the world. We’re here for it.
Michael Chandler vs. Justin Gaethje
Chandler failed to capture the lightweight title at UFC 262, but by nearly stopping Oliveira in the first round of their fight, he reaffirmed that he's one of the division's best fighters.
In terms of next moves, Chandler has plenty of options. One of the most interesting options, suggested by readers @andresD2, @soBEit, and @Buckshankz, is a fight with Justin Gaethje.
Like Chandler, Gaethje recently came up short in a bid for the lightweight title, having been submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov in the final fight of the Russian's illustrious championship reign.
Not only are the two lightweights in the same position, but they also match up beautifully on paper as two incredible wrestlers with ridiculous knockout power.
Sign us up.
Michael Chandler vs. Beneil Dariush
Not long before Chandler came up short against Oliveira in the UFC 262 main event, Dariush defeated Ferguson by decision in the evening’s co-headliner. It was far and away the biggest win of his professional career to date.
With that win in the books, Dariush will take another big step up the lightweight ladder. Users @luke_mcdaniel, @EmpireSwish are hoping he encounters the rebounding Chandler on his climb.
This was actually one of the fights we suggested immediately after UFC 262 concluded, so you already know we’re on board.
Beneil Dariush vs. Islam Makhachev
After defeating Ferguson by decision in the UFC 262 co-main event, Dariush has plenty of delectable-looking matchup options on the menu.
One, suggested by reader @broski63, is a fight with rising Russian contender Islam Makhachev.
While Dariush is likely to be some distance ahead of Makhachev when the official UFC rankings are updated, this matchup is unlikely to have many haters.
Makhachev, a long-time training partner of former UFC lightweight champion Nurmagomedov, has more than earned a big step up in competition, and will be even more worthy if he gets by Thiago Moises on July 17.
Dariush and Makhachev also match up beautifully on paper as two world-class grapplers with rapidly improving striking skill.
What’s not to like?
Tony Ferguson vs. Conor McGregor
After losing to Dariush in the UFC 262 co-main event, former interim lightweight champion Ferguson is on a tough, three-fight skid.
It's hard to say what the future holds for Ferguson from here, but reader @disguy808 hopes the struggling contender will look to get back on track against McGregor—assuming McGregor loses to Poirier at UFC 264.
It makes sense. Both guys will be on losing streaks. Both guys will be desperate for a marquee win to get back on track. And miraculously, despite all the time they've spent together inside the lightweight top-10, they've never crossed paths in the Octagon.
If McGregor takes another L at UFC 264, it's the perfect fight to make.
Edson Barboza vs. Josh Emmett
Barboza was one of the biggest winners of the entire UFC 262 lineup, kicking off the main card with a devastating knockout victory over the notoriously durable Shane Burgos.
With that win, Barboza improved to 2-1 in the featherweight division and positioned himself as a definite contender.
While we suggested Barboza be matched up with fellow human-highlight-reel Yair Rodriguez next, reader @evan_obrein wants to see him fight No. 6-ranked contender Josh Emmett—and we're up for that too.
The fight, which was scheduled to no avail in 2020, would make sense from a rankings standpoint, and it looks like a home run in terms of entertainment. Emmett, just like Barboza, is almost never in a boring fight.
Lock 'em in a cage together and excitement is all but guaranteed.