Who should the UFC 268 losers on the main card fight next? In another classic battle, Kamaru Usman earned the unanimous decision win in a rematch against Colby Covington for the Welterweight belt. Here are my thoughts on what the future may hold for the five fighters who lost on the main card on Saturday.
Michael Chandler came out strong in a fight of the year contender but ultimately lost a unanimous decision against Justin Gaethje on Saturday. Despite being 1-2 since coming over from Bellator, Chandler remains a bona fide contender at 155. However, this loss takes him out of the title picture in the immediate future.
The fight that makes the most sense for Chandler is against Rafael Dos Anjos. Dos Anjos is currently ranked sixth at lightweight but has not fought in over a year and is currently recovering from a meniscus injury. Both RDA and Chandler will be looking to get back in the title picture, and a matchup between the two could headline a fight night.
Despite the loss on Saturday, Billy Quarantillo proved that he belongs among the elite featherweights. After winning the first round, Quarantillo slowed down and dropped a decision to Shane Burgos in a fight that saw over 700 strikes attempted. Losing his chance to get into the top 15, Quarantillo will likely have to face a different rising prospect in his next bout.
One potential matchup for Quarantillo is against Hakeem Dawodu. Dawodu has been rising up the rankings but is currently outside of the top after losing to Movsar Evloev. However, the fight that makes the most sense for Billy Q is against Lerone Murphy. Since joining the UFC, Murphy is 4-0 and recently earned a performance bonus for his step-in knee knockout against Makwan Amirkhani.
In a fight that was tied heading into the third round, Marlon Vera earned his signature win, knocking out Frankie Edgar with a front kick late in round three. At age 40, Edgar’s best days are in the past, and his chin is clearly not what it once was. It’s a possibility that Frankie will retire, but if he does take another fight, he will have to play gatekeeper.
One potential matchup for Edgar is against Marlon Moraes. Moraes has fought for a title before but has seemingly taken himself out of title contention after dropping three straight. However, the fight that makes sense for Edgar is against Jack Shore. Shore is an undefeated prospect looking for a signature win to get into the top 15. Hopefully, we get to watch Frankie fight again, and a matchup with Shore could produce fireworks.
Zhang Weili could have been awarded the decision, and most people would not have been too upset on Saturday. However, coming off back-to-back losses to Rose Namajunas, “Magnum” will now have to work her way back into title contention. Depending on how the rest of the division plays out, it seems likely that she will need at least two more wins to get another shot at gold.
The clear fight to make for Weili is a rematch against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Weili and Joanna put on the fight of the year in 2020, with Magnum edging out a razor-close split decision. Joanna has not fought since then and was removed from the rankings, so it’s clear that she only wants the best fights. In what should headline a fight night, a rematch between Weili and Joanna is a fight that everyone wants to see.
After coming out sluggish in the first two rounds, Colby Covington came on strong as the fight went on but ultimately lost a unanimous decision to Kamaru Usman. It’s clear at the moment that Covington is the biggest threat to Usman, but having lost twice to him, it will be difficult for him to get the trilogy without putting up a string of wins.
Whether or not he beats Leon Edwards in December, Jorge Masvidal should be the next opponent for Covington. Even if Masvidal wins against Edwards, he will not be next in line for another title shot. A well-known story at this point, Masvidal and Covington are former best friends turned enemies, and Colby asked for the fight. To make it even more interesting, putting Masvidal and Covington as TUF coaches ahead of their bout would be even more fun to watch.
Follow me on Twitter @PodolskyDanny for more sports news and discussions. Also, make sure to follow @OT_Heroics for all of your sporting needs. Come discuss this and much more at the Overtime Heroics forums!
Featured Image Credits To Embed from Getty Images