JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Khamzat Chimaev stole the show, as expected, at UFC 273 on Saturday night with a unanimous decision win over gilbert burns in what Dana White called one of the best fights he has ever seen. featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski put on a show of his own with a fourth-round knockout of Chan Sung-jung. And while aljamain sterling may not have silenced all of his critics, his split decision win over petr yan to defend his bantamweight belt he will likely shift his focus to a different opponent.
So who’s next for Chimaev? white had said Colby Covington he was on deck if Chimaev won. Is that the right fight to make?
And while Yan believes he deserved the decision and wants a third fight against Sterling, who won the title when Yan was disqualified for an illegal knee strike on March 6, 2021, would the UFC be interested in the trilogy?
Alexander Volkanovski keeps Chan Sung Jung guessing throughout their fight and wins the fight via TKO.
Alexander Volkanovskifeatherweight champion
Who should be next: Max Holloway
This is obvious. The trilogy fight between these two was supposed to happen at this event, but Holloway had to deal with a lingering injury. In fact, he was cleared in time to fight on Saturday, but the UFC had already moved on at that point with Jung as his replacement. Volkanovski is the champion, there is nothing to discuss there. But because of how close their two wins over Holloway were, there has always been a demand for them to complete the trilogy. Holloway has been something of a thorn in the champion’s side. Volkanovski has not been able to get over him. A third win would obviously allow him to do that. And if Volkanovski can turn around relatively quickly, I think it will happen in August.
Wildcard: Henry Cejudo
I’m almost kidding. It’s not going to happen. However, there is no other fight for Volkanovski. There is no other featherweight contender who could be worthy. There is no room for him to move up to lightweight for any reason. It is the Holloway trilogy and nothing more.
But if Cejudo suddenly wanted to come out of retirement (and out of his old contract, because the UFC doesn’t seem to want to pay him more to do so), this fight would be fun.
Who should be next: gigachikadze
Jung is 35 years old and says he still has a little left in the tank. Any path to another title shot seems unlikely, but he’s still highly ranked. He’s definitely still capable of headlining a card.
Chikadze is coming off a fairly dominant loss to Calvin Qatar. Before that fight in January, he looked like a very legitimate title challenger. A win over Jung would throw Chikadze back into the mix, into the top six or seven in the division. Stylistically, it’s a fantastic fight, as a lot of them are featherweight, to be honest.
This is such a dynamic division right now. This is a tough fight, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it as a five-round main event.
Wildcard: arnold allen
This isn’t a perfect option, as Allen is coming off a win. But Allen is still looking to build his profile, and a fight against Jung would do it. It’s also a really fun fight. And even though Jung is coming off a loss, he’s still very well positioned.
The UFC is looking for a return to England this summer. Jung vs. Allen in London would be a great fight for a multitude of reasons.
who should be next: Colby Covington
My God, what a fight. We wanted to see Chimaev tested, and we got it. And I’ll tell you what, that was one of those perfect situations for Chimaev, because defeat was staring him in the face. I think he made some mistakes in this fight. I think he probably took Burns lightly. He learned valuable lessons and did not have to take a loss. He will be more dangerous because of this. Covington is the obvious next fight. A part of me hates watching them fight because you have to lose and then you lose a potential title challenger. But Chimaev looked human in this fight, and Covington is one of the best in the world. It’s a good pairing. Go.
That’s the next title fight. If Covington doesn’t fight Chimaev, if he’s not interested, then there’s nothing to do but wait. Chimaev hates to wait, and he may want to move up for a middleweight fight while he waits his turn, but that was a tough fight he just had with Burns. Maybe free time wouldn’t be the worst. Let him sit cageside for Usman vs. Edwards, and take him to the cage to face the winner. scenes. And a great way to end the year at welterweight.
who should be next: George Masvidal
Let’s award Burns, right? This guy will fight anyone. He will do it when the UFC asks for it. He was willing to take the fight the rest of the division didn’t want in Chimaev, and he nearly pulled it off as a significant underdog. He accepted all of that and put in one of the best performances of his career, even in a loss. He deserves another great fight, coming out of this one. The fans love him, as they should. Burns comes to fight, he’s entertaining, he’s humble, he doesn’t give up. Masvidal hasn’t won his last three fights, but he has as big a name as anyone in the division, and he’s still ranked. This is the one.
—Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 10, 2022
If Edwards loses to Usman, this makes a lot of sense, although I will say that I think the UFC would take a close look at Edwards vs. Masvidal, which would leave Burns out. If Usman loses, he may or may not get an immediate rematch with all the good options at welterweight. There are a lot of moving parts to all of this, and I don’t know if Burns and Usman would fight again, unless there was a title on the line. Maybe not. But from a ratings perspective, this is the one that makes the most sense, if not Masvidal.
Aljamain Sterling wins his long-awaited rematch with Petr Yan via split decision at UFC 273.
aljamain sterlingbantamweight champion
Who should be next: T. J. Dillashaw
Whether you agree with Saturday’s scorecards or not, it could also go beyond the Sterling-Yan matchup. Because the UFC will. Sterling already has it. It was a close fight that could have gone either way, but the UFC is not about to repeat it. Dillashaw has been waiting for the title shot ever since he came back and beat cory sandhagen last July. Wait is probably not the correct term, he has been recovering from injuries sustained in that fight. Sterling wants to fight him. It’s the biggest title fight the UFC can do at bantamweight right now. It will be next. Dillashaw told me that he would like to do it on October 22 in Abu Dhabi, but he will do it wherever Sterling wants.
Wildcard: petr yan
If the UFC doesn’t take Dillashaw out for whatever reason, then executing this running back would be the only thing that would make sense. Perhaps if outrage over the decision is high enough, a third meeting would be scheduled. But I don’t see that happening.
Petr Yan, bantamweight
Who should be next: Merab Dvalishvili
It may look bleak for Yan right now after losing to the same opponent twice in title fights, in heartbreaking fashion. He cost him his first encounter with an illegal knee, and he paid dearly for it. So losing this one, by split decision, was tough. But in reality, he is not far from the belt. And this fight makes perfect sense to me. Dvalishvili is Sterling’s teammate and close friend. There is already a built-in story behind this fight. I wouldn’t mind seeing Yan against someone who will attack with him, but I think this is the one because of the story.
Wildcard: dominic cross
Cruz is one of the biggest names in the division and, in my opinion, the greatest bantamweight of all time. Cruz is no longer in his prime, but he deserves a big fight, one that could give him one last shot at a UFC title. Yan fits that bill. Yan is a terrifying opponent and Cruz would have to be perfect. Is Cruz capable of pulling off a game plan similar to the one Sterling just did? Absolutely. Yan battles a division legend. Cruz fights someone who can take him to a belt. He wins, he wins.
mackenzie dern, straw weight
Dern fights mean. Constant pressure from him forces opponents to fight, and Dern believes his chin. She is ready to fight in a phone booth. And she leads to chaos, which benefits her because she’s dangerous in a fight or snatching a submission. She has a lot of career ahead of her, and she’s going to be interesting before all is said and done, because she continues to improve between each contest. Andrade is making his way back up the division from flyweight, and he faces a real up-and-comer in Lemos. In a perfect world, Dern stays active. No hurry. She doesn’t need to get to a title fight in 2022. She keeps building. This matchup would be a real test.
Wildcard: amanda ribas
This may sound strange because Ribas is moving up to flyweight. she fights katlyn chookagyan on May 14. If she were to lose that fight and decide that she wants to try 115 again, I think this matchup could make a lot of sense. Ribas has a win over Dern from 2019. If Ribas beats Chookagian, she’s obviously going to stay at 125. And even if she lost that fight, she could stay at flyweight. But I got to see a world where this fight happens, and again, it’s about keeping Dern active. And there aren’t many options right now that are ranked ahead of her in the division.