UFC 207 was a great event to finish off 2016. With all the action now consigned to the history books, lets take a look at some possible bouts that could be ahead for the losing fighters of UFC 207. With three former UFC champions losing on this card, there are some interesting possibilities for future fights.
Who she should fight: Liz Carmouche.
It is currently up in the air whether Ronda Rousey's future lies in mixed martial arts or not. After being on the wrong end of two one sided losses, it could be very likely that Rousey will hang up her 4oz. gloves. If she decides to continue with her MMA career; I believe a great potential opponent would be Liz Carmouche. After all the women do have some prior history.
Rousey defeated Carmouche in her first UFC title defence. Carmouche has been vocal in the past for a rematch. She doubted it would occur, due to Rousey being a dominant champion. All of that has changed with the former champion's losing streak.
Carmouche has enjoyed back to back wins for the first time since joining the UFC. She could be a very good opponent for Rousey to test the waters with, as Ronda looks to get herself into contention to compete for a championship again.
Who he should fight: Winner of Garbrandt vs Dillashaw if he doesn't receive the first shot at Garbrandt.
Although the loss will be cause for disappointment. Cruz put on an amazing performance but came up short on the judges scorecards against new bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt. The loss snapped a 13 fight win streak and took away Cruz's unbeaten record in the bantamweight weight class.
Staggeringly in modern MMA, it was the first time since 2007 that Cruz has tasted defeat. With this in mind; Cruz certainly deserves an immediate opportunity to reclaim the title whenever he desires to return to the Octagon. Currently the UFC appears to be uncertain whether TJ Dillashaw or Cruz will face Garbrandt in his first title defence. Cruz should stay on the sidelines until a title shot is offered. He's indicated his willingness to do so after Friday night's fight.
Who he should fight: Thomas Almeida.
Its back to the drawing board for Lineker after dropping a decision to Dillashaw at UFC 207. He has looked phenomenal recently. Prior to this loss, Lineker was on a six fight win streak. That included four impressive victories in the bantamweight division.
The post fight medical report stated that Lineker suffered a broken jaw in the first round. This will mean an enforced stay on the sidelines whilst he recovers. A potentially great fight for Lineker when he is ready to return would be against Thomas Almeida.
Almeida was a highly touted prospect in the division. He was on a 21 fight win streak before losing to the division's new champion Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt won that bout via first round knock out. Almeida was able to rebound by registering a TKO victory over Albert Morales in his next visit to the Octagon.
This fight would definitely be one for the fans. It could also help set up the victor to be a possible title contender down the line in the bantamweight division. This bout has the potential to be a Fight Night headliner for any card in Brazil. With both men's styles it would generate a ton of buzz.
Who he should fight: Kamaru Usman.
Saffiedine lost a very close decision that left many fight fans questioning the judges decision. This feeling of a poor decision on the judges part is reflected in the fact that only two members of the media scored the bout to Kim. Unfortunately for Saffiedine, this now makes his record two wins and three inside the UFC's Octagon. Saffiedine joined the UFC as the reigning Strikeforce welterweight champion. Injuries and increased competition have seen him largely dissapoint since joining the promotion.
A good test would be an up and coming welterweight like Kamaru Usman. The Blackzilian's product has a perfect 4-0 record since winning the Ultimate Fighter tournament that featured American Top Team versus the Blackzilians. He joined the UFC on the back of his performances on the show and hasn't looked back since officially making his UFC debut. This would be a great test for both fighters. Saffiedine is in need of a win to gather some momentum. He needs to prove that he can still be a threat in the division. The bout for Usman would be a leap up in competition and give him a chance to finally break into the welterweight rankings.
Who he should fight: Ali Bagautinov.
Smolka dropped a pretty one sided unanimous decision loss to Ray Borg to start off the UFC 207 main card. The Hawaiian is now on a two fight losing streak inside the Octagon. For his next bout, I would like to see him take on former flyweight title challenger Ali Bagautinov.
Bagautinov is also coming off a unanimous decision loss. I think this would make for a fun scrap in the UFC’s flyweight division and would solidify the winner's position as a future potential contender in the division. Smolka has dropped to 13th in the rankings and will be desperate to get back closer to the top ten.
Who he should fight: Tim Kennedy at middleweight
Hendricks once again lost his battle with the scales at UFC 207. Having lost a close decision to Neil Magny, it's unclear whether Hendricks will follow through on his threat to retire if he lost. If Hendricks does plan on returning to the Octagon he should move up a weight class to compete at middleweight. He has indicated that he will do this but that's yet to be seen.
It's crazy to think that Hendricks went from being the welterweight champion, to outside of the top ten of the welterweight rankings in just over two years. He's now on a 3 fight skid and has lost four of his last five fights. A good opponent to welcome Hendricks to his potential new weight class would be Tim Kennedy. Kennedy is a veteran of the sport and has wins over many top names (including current middleweight champion Michael Bisping).
Kennedy had a lengthy layoff following a controversial loss to Yoel Romero. Kennedy was due to fight Rashad Evans in the former light-heavyweight champion's debut at 185lbs. Evans was later replaced due to medical issues by Kelvin Gastelum. Kennedy lost the bout via TKO following a barrage of unanswered strikes.
Hendricks can easily be compared to Gastelum; if he does move up in weight class. The former TUF winner was forced to move back up to middleweight; after numerous failed attempts at making the 170 pound weight. If Hendricks could dispatch Kennedy, he would make an immediate impact in the 185 pound division. This would set him on the long path to join the elite group of fighters that have won titles in two different weight classes.
Do you agree with our matchmaking choices? Sound off in the comments section or on our Facebook page with your matchmaking choices for the losing fighters of UFC 207.
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