[title_box title=”Friday Fights: The Notorious Falls”]
Fans of chaos, your time to celebrate has come. Last Saturday, the UFC’s plans were shaken up at the UFC 196 pay-per-view event.
For the first time as a member of UFC, “The Notorious” Conor McGregor lost in the octagon. He lost to Nate Diaz by way of a rear-naked choke in the second round.
With the loss, McGregor’s supposed stranglehold on the league appears to have, at the very least, been significantly weakened. Where does the UFC go from here?
Let’s start with McGregor.
McGregor aspired to dominate the UFC. He made it widely known that he wasn’t content with just the featherweight crown; he wants more. Those aspirations were well on their way to becoming reality, too. That was until his scheduled lightweight title bout against Rafael dos Anjos fell through (due to a “bruised foot”, as Conor put it) and he suffered his first loss in UFC to Nate Diaz.
So what’s next for McGregor?
In the post-fight press conference, he stated that he will not be challenging dos Anjos for the lightweight title (for now, at least) and that Diaz should face him. McGregor went on to say that he will return to the featherweight division to defend his championship.
That fight should take place at UFC 200 in July. The 200th event is shaping up to be the biggest event in its history, so UFC executives will want their biggest star on the card.
There are two likely options to face him for the featherweight crown. First, there is Jose Aldo, the former champion who McGregor knocked out back in December to win the title (in only 13 seconds). However, this option isn’t as easy to sell to fans who saw Aldo knocked out in less time than it takes to take a bathroom break. Just take a look:
Yikes. Aldo’s probably still dazed and confused (movie references, anybody?).
Perhaps Aldo will earn a shot for the title again, but it shouldn’t be soon.
The more appealing option is a fight with Frankie Edgar. Edgar has been a contender for a long time now and has earned his shot.
Edgar’s ability to fight on the ground mixed with his defensive and takedown skills would make it an interesting match up for McGregor. McGregor is known for being primarily a striker and lacks in his ground/submission games. His deficiencies were on display against Nate Diaz, but McGregor was also dealing with the stamina factor by going up two weight classes. One would assume that would be a non-issue when he returns to featherweight.
Shifting gears from McGregor, another major question was raised last Saturday. With Miesha Tate’s upset win over Holly Holm, what happens next in the women’s bantamweight division?
The former queen of the division, and national sweetheart, Ronda Rousey has stated that she isn’t retired and wants a rematch for her former title. Holm will also likely want a rematch to try and prove she can defeat Tate.
This leaves the division in an interesting place. The UFC has two realistic options here. They can either book Holm-Tate 2 in an immediate rematch, or book Rousey-Tate 3 (the first two were both won by Rousey).
UFC President Dana White stated after the pay-per-view that he believes Tate will face Rousey next for the women’s bantamweight championship when she returns to the Octagon.
Aside from those two divisions, there are several reasons for MMA/UFC fans to be excited for in the near future.
A number of notable fights were announced last week in the hype leading up to the 196 event. The fights include:
Heavyweight Title: Fabricio Werdum (C) vs. Stipe Miocic (May 14, UFC 198)
Middleweight Title: Luke Rockhold (C) vs. Chris Weidman 2 (June 4, UFC 199)
Bantamweight Title: Dominick Cruz (C) vs. Urijah Faber 3 (June 4, UFC 199)
Stephen Thompson vs. Rory MacDonald (June 18, UFC Fight Night)
These fights, along with the stacked card for UFC 197 on April 23, are reasons enough for fans of UFC and MMA as a whole to be ecstatic.
That’s all for Friday Fights this week folks. Be sure to stay tuned for more MMA and boxing news and enjoy the excitement that is sure to come.
Featured image courtesy of Sabre Blade
Edited by Nathan Odom and David Bradford
Adam is the Assistant Sports Editor for the Tennessee Journalist and a Junior at UT. Most of his free time is spent watching sports, listening to good music, and enjoying life. If you wish to contact him, you can email him at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter, @AdamMilliken14, or find him at https://www.linkedin.com/pub/adam-milliken/109/a89/a32.