4 Fights You Want to See After UFC 263
UFC 263 went down in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday night and, oh boy, it was a fun one.
After a rousing undercard, the main card kicked off with a pair of impressive wins from Paul Craig and Belal Muhammad, who defeated Jamahal Hill and Demian Maia respectively. Things then rolled on with a huge win from Leon Edwards, who picked up a decisive decision win over Nate Diaz. The card then concluded with a pair of title fights—both of which were a real treat for fans.
First up, Brandon Moreno captured the flyweight strap with a career-best win over Deiveson Figueiredo. Next, Israel Adesanya reaffirmed himself as the king of the middleweights with a clear-cut decision triumph over a game challenger in Marvin Vettori.
It was the kind of card that fans will be talking about for weeks to come. One of the recurring topics of conversation, as always, will be what's next for the event's big stars.
We've already shared our thoughts on that, and here are a few of the best fights suggested by B/R readers.
Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker 2
After watching Adesanya successfully defend the UFC middleweight throne with a decision victory over Vettori in the UFC 263 main event, readers like @wonson and @DRJ23 want to see the middleweight champion take on Robert Whittaker.
Adesanya and Whittaker have fought once before, back in 2019, when the former captured the middleweight title with a second-round knockout victory. Since then, though, Whittaker has picked up a trio of impressive decision wins over high-level foes in Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum.
Those wins have made his claim to a shot at redemption at Adesanya undeniable. Needless to say, we're all for this matchup, and if Whittaker's post-UFC 263 tweet is any indication, so is he.
Israel Adesanya vs. Kamaru Usman
While all signs now point to a rematch between Adesanya and Whittaker, that's certainly not the only option for the middleweight champion.
Arguably the most alluring option of all is a fight between him and his fellow Nigerian, UFC welterweight king Kamaru Usman, who has rapidly become one of the sport's most dominant fighters.
That's a fight @HackAttack101 would love to see, and we're totally here for it. Unfortunately, Adesanya and Usman have both made it clear they're unwilling to compete against each other.
"On no account right now would I ever entertain going up to fight Izzy," Usman told ESPN in February. "That's just not something that I'm interested in. I've stated over and over before, I'd rather two Africans with belts as opposed to one African with two belts."
Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman-Colby Covington Winner
England's Leon Edwards extended his unbeaten streak to 10 straight fights on the UFC 263 main card, walloping Nate Diaz to a clear-cut unanimous decision victory.
While Edwards' unfortunate stretches of inactivity means he's fought very few ranked welterweights—and therefore has plenty of options in terms of future matchups—there's really no other choice for him beyond a title shot. That's the way reader @Temych94 sees it, and we agree.
Unfortunately for Edwards, UFC President Dana White has made it clear the next crack at welterweight champion Usman will go to Colby Covington. Once that is squared away, though, it's clearly the Brit's turn.
Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson
Shortly after Diaz lost to Edwards at UFC 263, we ran an article exploring his options going forward. We touched on a number of interesting possibilities for him, but one we missed was a fight with Tony Ferguson—and it might be the best choice of all.
Thankfully, reader @maxemerson333 was thinking on his feet.
A contest between Diaz and Ferguson makes all the sense in the world. Not only are they two of the most consistently exciting fighters in MMA, but they've both struggled mightily with consistency of late and are in desperate need of a W.
Diaz has lost back-to-back fights to Jorge Masvidal and Edwards at welterweight, and Ferguson has lost three straight to Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush at lightweight.
Whether the fight happens at lightweight or welterweight—both men have fought in both divisions—it makes a ton of sense, and it would give us a great sense of where each fighter is at this stage of their careers.