Who’s Next: Winner Of Anthony Pettis-Max Holloway
Why: The featherweight title picture is an absolute mess right now with Jose Aldo holding the interim title and it being unknown if and when Conor McGregor will face him to unify the titles. But, for the sake of this column, let’s assume that Aldo and McGregor have their rematch next. Edgar is stuck on the outside looking in as long as Aldo is a titleholder and the same will go for Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway if McGregor decides to come back down defend. That leaves The Answer with an exciting fight against the winner of Holloway-Pettis to determine a new #1 contender. And nobody should complain about that.
Who’s Next: Conor McGregor
Why: Why not? Nurmagomedov ran his record to 24-0 with an absolute dominating performance against Michael Johnson. Johnson tested his chin early but got sucked into Khabib’s hellacious grappling game and subsequent ground and pound. There was some concern that Tony Ferguson would leapfrog Nurmagomedov for a crack at the lightweight title. But that’s certainly not the case anymore after that one-sided destruction of Johnson. He’s an absolutely nightmare matchup for McGregor because his ground game is utterly filthy. And with McGregor ransacking Eddie Alvarez with his devastating standup, a classic battle between striker and grappler is the only fight to make. To not grant him a lightweight title shot is a disservice to the fight game and one hell of a heinous act. Everyone else to the back of the line. It's The Eagle's time.
Who’s Next: #15 Krzysztof Jotko
Why: Boetsch needed a win at UFC 205 badly and he got one in the form of a brutal first round knockout of Rafael Natal. Once upon a time, Boetsch appeared to be a threat to the middleweight division when he strung together four wins in a row. He’s gone 3-6 since then and is locked out of the division. But a fight with the loser of the UFC Fight Night showdown between Thales Leites and Krzysztof Jotko would help him claw his way back into the ranks. If Jotko is able to get past Thales Leites at UFC Fight Night on November 19, a match between the two would be in order.
Who’s Next: Alan Jouban
Why: Luque’s first round annihilation of Belal Muhammad at UFC 205 warrants him a significant challenge. Alan Jouban seems like the right guy for the job. Jouban also holds a victory over Muhammad, albeit unanimous decision. With Luque picking up his fourth win by knockout or submission, he’ll need to face an experienced fighter to prove whether or not he can crack the top 15 welterweights in the next year. Jouban wanted to fight at UFC 205 and is ready to go.
Who’s Next: #13 Evan Dunham
Why: That’s three impressive wins in a row for Jim Miller since losing to Diego Sanchez earlier this year. With Dunham also rolling, it makes sense to put these two in the Octagon together. The lightweight division is crowded and both fighters have a long road to sniff out a title shot but facing each other would help shake things out. Oh yeah, it probably won’t be a bad scrap between these two either.
Who’s Next: #7 Sara McMann
Why: She survived a brutal headkick by Katlyn Chookagian to win a split decision at UFC 205. With her grapple heavy style, a match with Sara McMann may not be the most exciting in the world. However, whenever two fighters who rely heavily on grappling step into the cage, fireworks go off. Both lost to Ronda Rousey and both are working their way back up the ladder. Somebody needs to be knocked down a rung.