A lifelong dream was realized last night when heavy underdog Michael “The Count” Bisping defeated Luke Rockhold to become the UFC Middleweight Champion. Other highlights from UFC 199 included a vintage performance from Dan Henderson and a dominant victory for Dominick Cruz in a long awaited rubber match. So where do the winners and losers go from here?
Dustin Poirier defeats Bobby Green via first-round KO
Poirier has been on a tear since his return to the lightweight division. His dominant victory over Green makes it 4 in a row and he will likely move up the rankings next week. As for his next opponent, a fight with Beneil Dariush seems likely after he scored a victory of his own last night over James Vick. A matchup with Michael Johnson would also be exciting considering their fighting styles.
Green came into his fight with Poirier with a lot of confidence, but looked to be completely outmatched in the stand-up game. He has now lost 2 in a row, and could be looking at a fight with either Rashid Magomedov or Evan Dunham to get himself back in the mix in a stacked division.
Dan Henderson defeats Hector Lombard via second-round KO
Henderson is one of the greatest fighters of all time if you really think about it, and last night proved that he still has the power and skill to compete against tough fighters. With that being said, he should really think about calling it quits. At 45, he has been in some absolute wars that will eventually take a toll on his body. Last night’s destruction of Lombard was truly beautiful, and there would be no better way for Hendo to go out.
As for Lombard, the loss really sees him buried in the welterweight division with not a lot of momentum behind him. His last 3 fights include 2 losses and a no contest and his last victory over Jake Shields seems like ages ago. A move back to middleweight could be the best move for him, but don’t be surprised if he is out of action for awhile.
Max Hollaway defeats Ricardo Lamas via unanimous decision
Holloway continues to impress in the featherweight division after his loss to Conor McGregor. He was racked off 9 wins in a strong division over the course of 3 years. Despite the streak, he still finds himself behind the likes of Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo in the pecking order. He could fight the loser of Edgar vs. Aldo, but the more likely matchup would be with Chad Mendes.
Lamas has been up and down since he fought for the title against Aldo in early 2014. The loss to Holloway is nothing to be ashamed of, and he should receive another tough opponent in his next fight. A matchup with Jeremy Stephens would certainly be exciting, or he could fight Charles Oliveira if he fixes his weight cutting issues. Lamas is no longer in the top tier at featherweight, but there are still some interesting matchups for him.
Dominick Cruz defeats Urijah Faber via unanimous decision
I believe it is fair to say that Cruz is back to his dominating ways after last night’s victory over his long time rival in Faber. Cruz picked him apart with his footwork, jabs, and even his scrambles in a fight that showed the entire division that he is not going anywhere. The bantamweight division has gotten more fun in the last couple of weeks with the emergence of Cody Garbrandt and Bryan Caraway, but they could still be one fight away from a title shot (likely against eachother), so the next opponent for Cruz should be the winner of T.J. Dillishaw vs. Raphael Assuncao.
Although Faber hinted at retirement last night, I don’t see him quitting anytime soon. It is clear that when the fight is not for a title, Faber is usually pretty dominant. He has the ability to fight well at either bantamweight or featherweight, and is still a fan favorite in the sport. Bantamweight has become stacked all of a sudden, so if he wants to continue fighting it should be in the 145 pound division. Matchups with Ricardo Lamas or Cub Swanson could be likely.
Michael Bisping defeats Luke Rockhold via first-round KO
Is Michael Bisping really the middleweight champion? Wow, that still sounds strange. After paying his dues for a decade, Bisping deserves everything he has coming to him in the next few weeks and he most likely won’t be shy about reminding you. As for his next opponent, Chris Weidman or Jacare Souza seem like worthy challengers for the middleweight strap. However, they both are recovering from injury so Bisping will have plenty of time to show off his new belt in the meantime.
Rockhold still has to be puzzled about what happened last night against a fighter he owned once before. Overconfidence is not an excuse but it was clear that he did not respect Bisping as a worthy challenger. A rematch does not seem likely but you never know, just look at how Bisping got his title shot. Even still, there are plenty of fun matchups for him, including a rematch with Belfort he would surely want, or a fight with Anderson Silva.