UFC 239 looked like it had the potential to be a great card on paper and the event definitely lived up to the hype. The main card in particular was chock full of some incredible performances, and my picks for who each of the five main card winners should fight next are listed below.
Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier 3
Although Thiago Santos gave Jon Jones arguably the toughest fight of his entire MMA career, Jones was able to squeak by with a split decision win and retain the UFC light heavyweight championship. Many are calling for a rematch, but UFC president Dana White says he isn’t interested. Instead, it is looking more and more likely that Jones could fight Daniel Cormier in a trilogy bout. Jones and DC both want a potential third fight at 205lbs, but White says he wants it at heavyweight. Provided DC gets by Stipe Miocic at UFC 241, a trilogy matchup against Jones makes a lot of sense for both men, and hopefully the UFC can get it done as a heavyweight title fight.
Amanda Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg 2
After head kicking Holly Holm into oblivion, it’s fair to say that Amanda Nunes has cleaned out the women’s bantamweight division. Nunes moved to 11-1 overall in the UFC with the Holm win, with her lone loss to Cat Zingano five years ago. If Zingano was coming off of a win you could argue that rematch makes sense to give Nunes the chance to exact revenge, but Zingano has lost four of her last five fights and is far away from title contention. That means that Nunes may have to move back up to featherweight, where a rematch with Cris Cyborg becomes intriguing. Nunes says she wants to fight Cyborg a second time, as the pair’s first fight back at UFC 232 lasted just under a minute. Cyborg has to get by Felicia Spencer at UFC 240 later this month, but provided she is victorious that rematch might be the next fight for Nunes.
Jorge Masvidal vs. Kamaru Usman
It took Jorge Masvidal just five seconds to knock out Ben Askren with a flying knee, setting the record for fastest UFC knockout ever in the process. It was the biggest win of Masvidal’s career and following up on his upset knockout over Darren Till earlier this year, he has to be the No. 1 contender at 170lbs. At this point Masvidal has passed his friend Colby Covington for the next title shot and he should be next in line to fight UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman later this year for the belt.
Jan Blachowicz vs. Aleksandar Rakic
In one of the biggest upsets at UFC 239, Jan Blachowicz brutally knocked out Luke Rockhold with punches in the second round to remain one of the top-ranked light heavyweights on the UFC roster. Many figured Rockhold would be more durable moving up a weight class, but Blachowicz showed how compromised his chin is with the brutal knockout win. Blachowicz is essentially a gatekeeper at 205lbs, and for his next fight I would love to see him fight rising prospect Aleksandar Rakic, who is coming off of a vicious head kick KO that retired Jimi Manuwa. Blachowicz vs. Rakic would be a tremendously exciting fight and is the perfect main event for a future European Fight Night card.
Michael Chiesa vs. Demian Maia
Opening up the main card, Michael Chiesa put on a grappling clinic against Diego Sanchez, winning the bout unanimously with scores of 30-26 by all three judges. Chiesa was not able to get the submission, but it wasn’t for lack of trying considering Sanchez has never been tapped out before. Chiesa gave Sanchez everything he had, and although he didn’t finish the fight it was still a dominant performance. For his next fight, I would love to see Chiesa fight Demian Maia. Not only does Chiesa deserve to fight a ranked opponent, but a matchup between ace grapplers Chiesa and Maia sounds like a dream matchup for fans of the ground game. This would be the perfect main or co-main event for a future Fight Night card in Brazil.
Who do you think the five UFC 239 main card winners should fight next? Leave a comment below with your own matches to make.