After every UFC event we here at Pro Fighting Fans love to play matchmaker. In this column we’ll tell you who we think the winners and losers of each fight should face next. So check back with Pro Fighting Fans after a UFC event to see what we think the next step is.
Amanda Nunes (12-4)
Who she should face next: Holly Holm (10-1) or Julianna Pena (7-2)
Amanda Nunes is a legitimate contender in the women’s bantamweight division, there is no doubt about that. However, since she’s right near the top of the pack at 135lbs, her future really depends on who new champion Miesha Tate faces next.
Dana White made it clear that Ronda Rousey would be Miesha Tate’s title defense. But, as we know all too well in MMA, plans don’t always work out the way we want. Maybe Ronda gets injured or retires and Holly Holm gets a rematch with Tate. If Holly Holm doesn’t get the rematch, instead of waiting around for the winner of Tate vs. Rousey, she should face Amanda Nunes for the number one contender spot.
Let’s say Ronda doesn’t fight Tate next, then Nunes’ best option is to face another ranked opponent. I think putting her up against Julianna Pena would make for an incredible matchup. Both women are strong on the ground and neither of them ever seems to back down from a challenge. The options are plenty for Nunes and let’s hope her next fight is against one of these two women.
Corey Anderson (8-1)
Who he should face next: Ilir Latifi (12-4)
Although Corey Anderson wasn’t overly impressive in his victory over Tom Lawlor at UFC 196, he is still on a three fight winning streak. That alone should earn him an opponent near the top ten in the light heavyweight division. However, Anderson only has nine professional fights, so matchmakers will likely keep in that in mind when they are booking his next fight.
Another guy riding a three fight winning streak is Swedish fighter Ilir Latifi. It just so happens that Latifi fought right after Anderson on Saturday night and picked up a decent win of his own when he earned a unanimous decision over Gian Villante. Anderson and Latifi are both headed in the same direction and a fight between them would separate the middle of the pack fighter from the contender.
Ilir Latifi (12-4)
Who he should face next: See above
Miesha Tate (18-5)
Who she should face next: Ronda Rousey (12-1)
Miesha Tate picked up the biggest victory of her MMA career at UFC 196 when she captured the women’s bantamweight title in thrilling come from behind fashion against Holly Holm. It was a once in a lifetime type of win and one that won’t soon be forgotten.
Dana White has already said Ronda Rousey will get the first shot at Tate and there is no reason to argue with that. Unless of course Ronda isn’t able to fight, or doesn’t want to and in that case Tate should give Holly Holm a rematch.
As we all know Tate and Rousey have a rivalry that goes all the way back to their Strikeforce days. They’ve fought once since they joined the UFC and Rousey won both fights by submission. However things become different when the title is around the other person’s waist. Tate is now a UFC champion and the mentality that comes along with it could be what she needs to beat Ronda Rousey once and for all.
Nate Diaz (19-10)
Who he should face next: Eddie Alvarez (27-4)
Not many people gave Nate Diaz a chance at beating Conor McGregor when he stepped in on short notice to face the cocky Irishman. He had less than two weeks to prepare for the fight of his life. Diaz once again proved that he and his brother are usually at their best when they are put in terrible positions. Diaz took everything McGregor threw at him and kept moving forward until he hurt the featherweight champ then submitted him with a rear-naked choke.
Dana White suggested that Diaz might get a welterweight title shot after his win Saturday night. But let’s be realistic about this. Diaz is a lightweight who was fighting a featherweight, at welterweight on short notice. He really has no business jumping the line and challenging for Robbie Lawler’s welterweight title.
However, Diaz does deserve a big (lightweight) fight the next time we see him in the octagon. Eddie Alvarez would definitely be a suitable opponent for Nate and if he could earn a victory he might be next in line for a lightweight title fight. Anthony Pettis is another good option but he’s currently scheduled to fight Edson Barboza next. So Alvarez vs. Diaz should be the fight that the UFC makes and they may as well make it a number one contender fight. Because everyone knows, especially after UFC 196, that Nate Diaz is the man!
Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer